Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

The Gourmet Escape was held one the lawn surrounding the Winery at Leeuwin Estate, which was reviewed by me in this post. There were a variety of Food, Distillery, Brewery and Winery stalls along with food and wine theatres for shows and classes.

Hay Bales outside the Rekorderlig Tent.

The Alchemists:

I recognised the name and am still yet to remember where but the lady running the stall was also the owner of the Winery, which she has owned for the last 6 years and was a delight to talk to! Their wines are mainly sold to restaurants in Perth or can be found at their cellar door on the Winery’s Estate.

Ashbrook Estate:

I had met the wine Maker (Tony Devitt) previously at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show last month and Tony recognised me at the Gourmet Escape so it was nice to catch up and continue our discussion about the South West wine region as well as to ask him many new questions that I had accrued along the way as I have continued to write and research for this blog. I also tried their range, while I spoke to Tony and I was quite impressed! Their red wines were made in French styling while the white wines were pleasant and many had seen a little oak, which made the red wine lover that I am quite happy.

Bahen & Co Chocolate:

This chocolate company had 4 chocolate on display, all with 70% cocoa which was too much personally for me and BF so we headed back to the wines after sampling them quickly.

Blue Cow Cheese Company:

This company is one which my grandparents adore and have gotten me hooked on their goats cheese which I get to have whenever I make it down south and have a meal with them. The cheeses for sampling and sale at the Gourmet Escape however was their Camembert, Brie, Cheddar and Shadforth. We had some left over tokens at the end of the day so I picked up a block of the Shadforth to take back to Perth and will let you know how it pairs up with wines!

Cape Mentelle:

This winery is one I have eyed off for a while now and have been meaning to head out to their cellar door but have not succeeded yet. I had hoped their Zinfandel would be out for tasting at the show but unfortunately they did not have it. Instead they had their basic range consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a Cabernet Merlot, which Liquorland stocks and personally these wine are well worth the ~$25 a bottle they are in Perth stores. They also had a few of their more premium range for sampling and I was impressed with the range, many of which have in the past year done very well with regards to gold medal award and trophies, this winery has a good solid repletion in the Western Australian wine industry.

Deep Wood Estate:

I popped over quickly to their stall to ask where I could find their Harmony Rose, which I had enjoyed at Rose Revolution. Those running the stall were not sure where in Perth it was stocked but did give me an ordering form the price was listed as being $13.50, a bottle with a minimum purchase of a dozen wines and a $5 freight charge.

Devil’s Lair:

This winery has impressed me in all their ranges. From their basic 5th Leg range, their middle range titled Hidden Cave, their premium self titled range Devil’s Lair and their side line Dance With the Devil, which, allows their wine makers to have a little fun. Their Dance With the Devil line was a fun and delicious discovery to make as one of the wine’s produced in this range was a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Chenin Blanc. BF and I were big fans of this unusual blend and even took a bottle home with us at the end of the night with the last of our leftover tokens. This winery is one that I highly recommend and it is unfortunate that they currently do not have a cellar door so tasting opportunities besides buying a bottle is restricted to events such as Gourmet Escape.

Devil’s Lair Stall.

Knee Deep Winery:

I tasted my way through their range, which they had on display at Gourmet Escape. Their SBS was a stand out for me with lychee notes on the nose as well as being pronounced on the palate. Different but a winner for the summer months! Would be interesting to pair this with cheeses for a lazy afternoon drink or two with some friends. Will have to find where this wine is stocked in Perth!

Rosabrook Margaret River Winery:

I had the chance to sample their Chardonnay at the wine class that week and it had been the standout for the session as the best value for money for what it offered. The rest of their range was not bad, but I personally preferred their white wines to their red wines.

Stella Bella Wines:

This winery does some amazing wines! The whites were fresh, crisp and zesty while their reds had a nice balance between the oak, tannins and fruit. They also had some of their premium ‘Suckfizzle’ range which was delightful!

Swings and Roundabouts:

I had been eyeing off Swing and Roundabout wines in stores over the last month but had not yet tried any of their range. I however enjoyed trying their SBS with lychee on the palate, this is a winery that I will be looking out for in Perth! Staff at the event were also a pleasure to chat with!

Swings and Roundabouts Stall.

Xanadu Wines:

This was another winery that I had been wanting to try having heard many good things about their wines. Their range of wines on display were well made and the staff running the stall were a pleasure to chat with.

I am sorry to say that the food I sampled at the show did not last long enough to take a picture! The ‘char sui braised lamb shoulder with sour cream labna and wattle seed roll’ that Capel Vale was making at the show was to die for and was highly recommended by everyone that we ran into at the show! I also had many people tell me that the ’12 hour braised Margaret River ‘big red pig’ port, house made tortillas with condiments’ by Leeuwin Estate was also a standout dish.

Until next time!

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How has blogging about wine changed my views on it?

Hi everyone,

I figured seeing as today’s post is my 50th post on this blog that it was time to step back and evaluate how far I have come and changed since beginning this journey with wine (and food).

Things I have learnt:

To give wines a second chance as it seems my palate has come a long way since I first started to drink wine.

My palate with regards to wine is becoming more particular on what it does and does not like, something that will in the future likely hurt my bank account a fair bit.

I’m still quite particular in regards to what I eat but I do hope that through this blog that I will be able to give new foods a chance.

That this blog has allowed me the chance to network with people who I may have never met otherwise – Some people to look out for food and wine in Perth on Facebook are Traveling Corkscrew (also blogs), Perth Wine Enthusiast (amazing wine tasting notes – including many international wines), Perth Food Journal (blogs also).

Perth actually has a lot more to offer than I have given it credit for in the past – a good blog to follow on this topic is Great About Perth (blog | Facebook).

I would just like to take the chance to thank all of you who have read my blog as well as people who have allowed me opportunities to continue to learn more about wine such as the Wine Education Centre of WA.

I will be getting into the kitchen more now that summer is here and I have some free time, expect to see more homemade meals and I’ll start including the recipes if I have followed one.

Review of the Gourmet Escape will be up tomorrow so keep an eye out for that!

Until next time!

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Darbar Indian Nepalese Restaurant, South Fremantle

Hi everyone,

BF took me to a recently opened Indian Nepalese restaurant in South Fremantle to celebrate the what should be my last exam in my bachelors degree. I choose for us to go and try out Danbar Indian Nepalese Restaurant which had recently opened in South Fremantle.

The bubbly I choose was one that I had wanted to try for a few months after having heard from many customers at work last summer that it had fared better in a blind tasting than Moët & Chandon did – unfortunately google could not provide me with any validation of this claim or the article that spurred many customers to purchase the wine at the start of the year.

Cave de Lugny’s Crémant de Bourgogne.

Having never tried Moët & Chandon, which I have read is a similar styled champagne, I therefore cannot compare the two, however I have tried Verve and was not a fan of it so in comparison to Verve the Cave de Lugny scores two wins firstly with my wallet and secondly with my palate!

The Darbar restaurant recently opened this year in what used to be an Italian restaurant on Douro rd in South Fremantle. This has left the decor of the restaurant being a combination of what remained of the Italian restaurant and what Indian and Nepalese features they could add. Decor aside as it has nothing to do with the food. The food was delicious! We began with a starter of Chicken Momo’s and while the momo’s felt a little too doughy and possibly slightly over cooked the sauce that accompanied them was to die for! Their presentation did not match that of Himalayan Nepalese in Victoria Park but the sauce brought back some delicious and familiar memories.


Once the Momo’s had been devoured we received our mains which consisted of a Beef Curry chosen by BF and a Chicken Saag Wala chosen by myself along with rice for two and a giant serving of garlic naan.

Main Meal.

The Beef Curry was very nice, but very mild and I will have to return to see how they do their hotter dishes! I would however quite happily return for this dish again!

Beef Curry.

The Chicken Saag Wala was a dish that consisted of chicken and spinach in a creamy sauce, again not a hint of spiciness to be found, and quite a rich dish. Not what I was expecting when I ordered but still quite a pleasant dish and one which would do even better I’m sure if it was paired with a much hotter dish!

Chicken Saag Wala.

Overall the service was good, they checked in on you without being intrusive. The tables felt quite large in comparison to the Victoria Park Nepalese, however once all the food was on the table the distance was reduced significantly! While the menu is not as extensive at the Victoria Park restaurant, this is a restaurant that I would like to return to in the near future!

Their take-away menu can be found here.

Until next time!

The Darbar  on Urbanspoon

Wino 101: Why Red Wine needs some Ageing

Hi everyone,

I came across the image below at Sticks Winery’s website and thought it was quite useful at illustrating the differences in the production of white and red wine. The image will also hopefully show why red wine tend to have more complex flavours from the production of the wine rather than just the fruit used as is often the case with white wines which are made to be consumed within a few years of production.

Red and White Wine Production Methods.

It shows you a very simplistic and averaged timeline of red and white wine production. It is a much more complex method for red wine which receives time both in barrels of oak as well as time fermenting in its skins which results in tannins being present in the wine. Tannins help to preserve the wine so that it will last longer as well as giving the wine more depth and texture on the palate. Tannins in red wine needs time to age for the tannins to soften and balance in with the other flavours of the wine. Red wine can age three different ways:

1. The winery does not release the wine for a few years due to processing, ageing and cellaring of it on premise.

2. The wine is released by the winery once processing is complete and will receive the chance to age in your home or cellar.

3. The wine sits on the shelf in the bottle shop for a few years and ages there.

For your wallet options two and sometimes three are better for you. For those who do not own a cellar or a wine fridge, which allows the wines a safe and stable environment to age in then option, one begins to have merit, at a cost but also comes with potentially instant enjoyment of the wine.

When I discuss red wine’s I do not mean all red wines need to have 10 years in the cellar, or any broad sweeting statements like that but even a simple Wolfblass Eaglehawke/Red Label or Jacobs Creek bottle of red wine would do so much better if it had the chance to get a few years to mature in the bottle.

Some wines that you see on the shelves in bottle shops which belong to the common everyday drinking ranges will often have 2012 vintages appearing on shelves now for their reds, these wine’s are not designed to be aged for too long, their market is to be drunk in the near future (think no more than 5 years) and the volume of sales that occur for those brands and their cheaper lines imply that generally these wine’s will be luck to see a full year in the bottle.

 Another way to overcome the lack of age for a bottle of wine is to decant it. I plan to have a post up in the near future on the different methods of decanting you wines. Even when a wine has been in the bottle for over 5 years decanting it still does so much for the overall bouquet, texture and taste of the wine by allowing the wine to breathe and oxidise much more rapidly than what it could while still in the bottle.

Until next time.

Halliday Day: Week 7 – Capel Vale Winery

Capel Vale is a winery located just off the Bussell Highway about 25 minutes north of Busselton. Capel Vale is a 5-star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion.

Established in 1974, by Dr. Peter Pratten and Elizabeth his wife and was one of the pioneering wineries in the region. Capel Vale has since expanded beyond it’s original Geographe location to including vineyards in Mount Barker, Pemberton and Margaret River.

Restaurant overlooking the vines.

I went to Capel Vale for lunch late at the start of this year and it was a delightful and relaxing experience. The food was delicious and fresh with the view over the winery making the long lunch pleasant and enjoyable. As can be seen in the image above, the winery’s restaurant and cellar door is located in an elevated building which overlooks the vineyard. I sampled their range of wines when I was at Capel Vale this time and I enjoyed their regional range which I am yet to see in a store in Perth.

BF and I ended up heading to Capel Vale for lunch on the way back to Perth after being down for Gourmet Escape and enjoying their ‘Char sui braised lamb shoulder with sour cream labna and wattle seed roll’. While the lamb wasn’t on the menu at the restaurant we still had plenty of options from their spring menu and specials board.

Whispering Hill Riesling.

Both of us ended up having a glass of the Whispering Hill Riesling with lunch. We both ended up picking from the specials menu. I had the barramundi with pan fried gnocchi while BF had a 250 gram scotch fillet with seasonal vegetables. Both were nice, the gnocchi was a little too heavy for the fish, however the side salad with goats cheese and walnuts went very nicely with both of our meals. The service at Capel Vale was excellent! The staff were attentive and friendly, really could not have asked for anything more regarding their service!

Barramundi with pan fried gnocchi.

Scotch fillet with seasonal vegetables.

Spinach, goats cheese and walnut salad.

Capel Vale is definitely a nice location for lunch and a wine tasting. And located between Busselton and Bunbury just off the Bussel Highway; Capel Vale makes for a good stopping point as your drive between Perth and the South-West.

Until next time.

Capel Vale Winery & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 1)

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a good weekend and sorry that this post is up so late but I was down south all weekend and without internet so I had to delay posting this until I could get back to Perth to edit and upload this post.

For a review of the wines I tried as part of the Wine Essentials Class this week then head over to this post. This weeks wine class focused on white wines and the class was encouraged to bring in a white wine that we had tried over the past week, preferably one that was not a common white varietal. For the class I brought in a bottle of Vermentino. I went into the Wine Store bottle shop in Fremantle and spoke to the guy who was running the store at the time, he was so friendly and helped me out as I explained I was more a fan of Rieslings than Sauvignon Blancs but was looking to try a new varietal so he recommended the Vermentino to me. This varietal was a pale wine with a slight green tinge. Passionfruit and citrus notes on the nose that increases as the wine warmed in the glass. Crisp and creamy texture on the palate with just the right amount of acidity for me.


I also had the chance to add two new grape varietals to my collection from people bringing in bottles of wine for the class to try in the Wine Education Course. For a review of these two varietals check out the blog post for the Wine Course linked here.



I spent this weekend down south at the Gourmet Escape in Margaret River. I had such a great time at the event and got to talk to lots of people involved with the different wineries from owners and wine makers to people who worked for the wineries or did sales in the city. This event is one to keep an eye out for next year!

Gourmet Escape Tickets.

I will have a blog posts up for the Gourmet Escape this Friday and the Blend your own Grand Cuvée Class at Howard Park Winery the following Friday as well as a review on the lunch I had at Capel Vale with BF before we headed back to Perth today tomorrow.

Quick Highlights of my weekend at Gourmet Escape:

Devil’s Lair – I adore this winery and cannot praise them enough! Fantastic value for money on their higher ranges but even their entry level 5th Leg range is a decent drink if you’re looking for something to go with a meal.

SBS with lychee notes – I am being slowly but steadily converted to SBS/SSB as I try this wine more and more thanks to this blog and BF loving white wine more than red but the lychee on the nose and palate as I can across first at Gourmet Escape at Knee Deep Winery, the wine was refreshing and definitely got me in the mood for summer!

Blend your own Grand Cuvée – I got to ‘disgorge’ a bottle of bubbly which involved me removing the crown cap off a bottle after the neck had been frozen so that the lees would be trapped in the ice and expelled by the pressure of the wine. And then after doing so I had the chance to select my choice of ‘dosage’ which is the final step of the traditional champagne method which sees the addition of sugar of brandy to bubbly to determine the bubbly’s final sweetness. A full review including tasting notes and photos will be up friday week.

Have a great week everyone!

Until next time!

Wine Essentials Course: Week 2

This week the Wine Essential Course focused on white wines including their production as well as a tasting of some common varietals along with samples of different white wine varietals which were brought in by members of the class at the request of .

1. Kilikonoon, 2011, Mort’s Block Riesling, Clare Valley ($36): pale lemony clear wine with crisp citrus and green fruit (pear and apple) on the nose, pronounced fruit on the palate balanced well with the acid and a long finish.

2. Redgate, 2011, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River ($19): bight and clear pale yellow wine with waxy, grassy and tropical fruit (pineapple) on the nose. This wine was quite disappointing when tasted, while the wine was smooth and balanced it was weak on fruit, acidity and overall not an impressive SBS for me personally.

3. Upper Reach, 2010, Verdelho, Swan Valley ($20): this wine surprised many of us in the class. Clear pale yellow in the glass, pronounced stone and melon fruit on the nose and ripe fruit was balanced on the palate well however the wine lacked persistence of the fruit flavour and developed at the back of the mouth into what one lady described on the night as a ‘sherberty’ texture. This wine would do well with a chicken salad this summer and was personally preferred to the SBS.

4. West Cape Howe, 2011, Unwooded Chardonnay, Margaret River ($17, $19 at Liquorland): clear and bring yellow wine in the glass with tropical, melon and cucumber on the nose. The wine was dry and fruity with ‘structural richness’ on the palate. This wine is one of the few Unwooded Chardonnays, which I have enjoyed and is making me rethink this wine style. This wine is great value for money and another excellent wine from West Cape Howe.

5. Rosabrook, 2010, Chardonnay, Margaret River ($22 at Liquorland): Clear and pale golden wine with a vanilla and charred oak notes on the nose combined with zingy tropical fruits (pineapple) making for an interesting bouquet. The wine was well rounded between the fruit, oak, acid and alcohol with fruit such as grapefruit and nectarines coming through on palate. This wine while not being overly complex also endeared me to the more fruiter styled Chardonnays which Australian wine makers and drinkers tend to favour.

6. De Bortoli, 2008, ‘Nobel 1’ Botrytis Semillon, Billal ($60 for a 700mL bottle, $36 at Liquorland for a 375mL bottle): dark orange in colour and smells devine! Think marmalade and honey notes on the nose. Sweet and fruity on the palate with enough acid to allow the palate to not feel gluggy from the sweetness of the wine, this wine would be perfect for Christmas desert or cheese platter!

The favourites of the night, not including De Bortoli’s ‘Nobel 1’ was the Rosabrook Chardonnay and the Kilikonoon Riesling, both of which I highly enjoyed and ended up being the swing vote to make the Riesling the overall favourite wine of the night.

I also had the chance to sample 2 new wine varietals from samples, which people brought into the class. I had the chance to try an Italian Verdecchio and a Spanish Albariño. Both were new varietals for me as part of my Wine Century Challenge and I enjoyed trying both varietals and would happily try them again. The Verdecchio was brought to the class warm and was quite watery on the palate; it would be interesting to try this varietal again but chilled. The Albariño was delightful with white peach coming across on the palate.



This weeks course definitely opened my eyes up to the numerous white wine varietals as well as how even a well known wine varietal can still surprise me in how varying the textures, bouquets and tastes different wineries can produce with the same grape varietals.

For those of you who missed my post for the first week’s class you can follow the link here to it.

Currently down in Margaret River for the Gourmet Escape event which is occurring this weekend. Tomorrow’s post will be late as I am driving back that afternoon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And come say hi if you are at the Gourmet Escape today (Saturday) and see me!

Until next time!