To say that Cassis is in the heart of the Mornington Peninsula wine region would almost be an understatement. You can’t get any closer than that. You could throw a grape off the bridge here and hit several of Australia’s top fine wine producers. The vines of Lancemore Lindenderry spread out before your eyes. Foxey’s Hangout is just above a ridge line. Polperro is over there to the east. Main Ridge Estate is just to the west. Ten minutes by tractor is, quite rightly, about 10 minutes by tractor, let alone by car. If you love to drink and you love to eat and you love being surrounded by culture and creating delicious things, then there are few better places in the world than here in Red Hill. Access from these five luxury villas is amazing.
Cassis has only been open for a little over six months, and everything still looks new, everything works, and clearly spent a lot of money. Owners Gina and Simon McNamara have extensively renovated the site of a former restaurant and private residence. The couple say they were inspired by a year spent on a 17th century farmhouse near Aix-en-Provence in France, and in particular by their visits to the small seaside town of Cassis. They describe these villas as “modern rustic,” which is fair enough, with their large wooden dining tables, open fires, polished concrete terraces, and the kind of earth-toned linens that would make an Instagram mom swoon. of Byron Bay.
I’m staying in The Cottage, a spacious villa with a king bedroom, one bathroom, a large living and dining room with kitchenette, and a private terrace with a heated plunge pool and a view of the vineyards. Entry is basic, with a key left in a safe by the door, though all amenities are included once inside, from luxury bed linen to bathrobes and slippers, and toiletries and other amenities. The kitchenette is well equipped, with a fridge, microwave, Nespresso machine, toaster and sandwich press – the only thing missing, oddly, is a stove, which makes for a decent meal here from all those premium ingredients you’ve picked up next to impossible. On the bright side, it’s cold here in the hills, so there’s a fireplace and this plunge pool, which heats up to a perfect temperature for an evening swim.
FOOD + DRINK
The villas include a continental breakfast basket to accompany you on the first morning, as well as a bottle of local wine and a cheese platter. You’re also staying in drinking and dining heaven, so you’ll never be able to live without it. Within a 10-minute drive, you’ll find Tedesca Osteria (tedesca.com.au), one of Australia’s finest restaurants, as well as upscale restaurants at Ten Minutes by Tractor (tenminutesbytractor.com.au), modern Sri Lankan cuisine at Many Little (manylittle.com.au), mod-Oz food with a view at Polperro (polperrowines.com.au) and a perfect small plate at Foxey’s Hangout (foxeys-hangout.com.au ). Cast the net a little wider and you’ve got an absolute smorgasbord of options.
OUTSIDE + ABOUT
It’s time for a wine tasting. Check out all of the wineries mentioned above, plus Port Phillip Estate (portphillipestate.com.au), Avani (avanisyrah.com.au), Red Hill Estate (redhillestate.com.au), Montalto (montalto.com.au) ) and Ocean Eight (oceaneight.com.au). You might also want to hire a driver – try David Begg of Peninsula Wine Region Transfers (0412 153 061).
A luxurious mix of rustic and modern in an amazing location.
Villas from $650 a night ($850 for The Cottage), two-night minimum stay. See cassisredhill.com.au
Heated plunge pool, sunset, glass of wine, view of the vineyards. Say no more.
The price is high, which together with the missing cooker lowers the score.
OUR SCORE OUT OF FIVE
Ben Groundwater stayed as a guest of Visit Victoria.