1568 Melba Hwy, Dixons Creek
03 5965 2016
When you walk into the glass-walled DiVino Ristorante at Mandala Wines, cast your eyes over the captivating view in front of you: vines and rolling hills as far as the eye can see. This is a snapshot of a Yarra Valley winery at its best, found at one of the region’s best venues, Mandala Wines.
Owned and run by the Smedley family, Mandala is led by Charles, who has more than 28 years experience in the wine industry both here and overseas. The family began their adventure in 1999, planting 10 acres of Burgundian clone pinot noir under the Yarra Junction Estate name. In 2006, buoyed by the success of their first few vintages at Yarra Junction, they purchased a second vineyard in Dixons Creek and created Mandala Wines.
Mandala’s vineyard and winemaking team have been working together since 2006. Comprising Charles Smedley, Julian Parro and Sco McCarthy, they are driven by a love of life outdoors and the challenge of meeting each season as it comes. The team produces exceptional cool-climate wines, made with particular precision due to the hand pruning, hand harvesting and the low yield of the vines.
Using 100% estate-grown fruit from the Dixons Creek and Yarra Junction vineyards, the Estate Range includes chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, rose, pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and sparkling blanc de blancs.
The Single-Site Range is made only when vintage conditions are in complete harmony. This range includes five varietal labels: ‘The Compass’ Chardonnay, ‘The Prophet’ Pinot Noir, ‘The Matriarch’ Pinot Noir, ‘The Rock’ Shiraz and ‘The Butterfly’ Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a taste of each wine, turn to Mandala’s Cellar Door or DiVino, both located on the Dixons Creek property. Take your time exploring wines in the Cellar Door before settling in for lunch with a view of the surrounding vineyards and beyond. Luca Radaelli and Sofia Moretti run the Italian-inspired restaurant, taking on the roles of Head Chef and Restaurant Manager respectively.
Luca leads a kitchen team that follows the same philosophy as the winemaking team, focusing on high quality, locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Vegetables and herbs come from the on-site vegetable garden, while all meats are locally sourced and some of the cheeses travel just a few kilometres to arrive on your plate.
The European connection is in part due to the chef’s birthplace – Luca’s a native of Genova in Italy. He skillfully combines his love of Northern Italian cuisine with a passion for learning and bringing new techniques into the kitchen, presenting a diverse menu that showcases in uences from his travels across Canada, America and Thailand.
Journey through the flavours of Australia and Italy, with entrees including the smoked ham hock terrine served with chicken liver parfait and celeriac remoulade, or the king sh ceviche paired with pomegranate, coriander, Campari jelly and coconut milk.
As with the entire menu, the main dishes change based on the availability of produce. Depending on the season, you’ll find slow-cooked duck Maryland served with kipfler potato puree and endive and orange salad, or the char- grilled eye fillet served with onion ash, cauliflower puree, baby leeks, aged balsamic and a full-of-flavour jus.
It’s not an Italian restaurant without pizza. Luca and Sofia have gone straight to the source for their offering, bringing in a pizzaiolo from Italy to create some of the Valley’s best and most authentic wood-fired pizzas.
When dining on the property that produced the wine in your glass, matching your meal to your wine really should be compulsory. Look to Sofia to guide you through the process – as the in-house sommelier, she’ll be able to help find the right wine for your dish.
Start with the Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, before moving onto the Yarra Valley Chardonnay, which features rich, ripe fruit characters of peach, apple and pear, restrained oak and lovely aromas of orange blossom and vanilla; everything you’d expect from a cool-climate chardonnay and more.
If you’re more of a red drinker, turn to the 2012 ‘The Prophet’ Pinot Noir. Made only with fruit from Yarra Junction, it features aromatic black cherry and ripe red raspberries, underpinned by dark oral notes, subtle vanilla, oak and fresh herbal characters of sage and thyme. Whatever you prefer, the staff are on hand to guide you.
Between its outstanding wine offerings, stunning glass-walled restaurant and exceptional Cellar Door, Mandala Wines is your perfect culinary destination.