Regional Heroes Wine Tasting @ 2013 Good Food and Wine Show, Perth

Earlier this year I attended the Good Food and Wine Show in Perth. I only had a few hours at the show so it was a rushed visit but I managed to book tickets to the Regional Heroes Wine Tasting. This tasting consisted of 6 wines from different wine regions across Australia that the presenters felt were good and solid examples of the wine being produced in Australia.

Riesling

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E: pale colour.

N: sweet, fruity, apple, aromatic, lemon, and lime.

P: hint of sweetness, crisp, acidic, lively, lemon, dry, fresh and also a hint of minerality.

Semillon

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E: pale clear lemon.

N: oak, lemon, sweetness – reminded me of a lemon meringue pie.

P: dry, crisp, acidic, with a hint of oak.

Chardonnay

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E: clear pale lemon.

N: soft nose, oak, lemon.

P: good mouth feel, good length, lemon, oak, fruity and a hint of acidic minerality.

Pinot Noir

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E: clear ruby red.

N: oak and berries – cherry in particular.

P: dry, spice, silky tannins, acidic and berries.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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E: vibrant plum coloured wine.

N: berries, oak and spice – I had YUM! down next to this wine.

P: dry, luscious berries, oak, good finish, some grippy tannins and vibrant fruit.

Shiraz

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E: brick red wine.

N: oak, spice, plums, and dark berries.

P: smooth, very dry, balanced, spice, rich and savoury.

Overall it was a lovely wine tasting and I enjoyed being introduced to some staple wine regions in Australia. While I have personal preferences that differ to some of their recommendations I still enjoyed the wines they had presented.

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Wine(s) of the Week: Back at the books again… with a slight detour…

Hi everyone,

I have just entered into a month long practicum and I am hoping I will be able to find some down time to get a handle on the backlog of posts I have to put up. I attended the Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival in Perth roughly 2 weeks ago, being a team member for Coles Liquor I was granted free access to the event and used it as a chance to sample many new wines that I sell to customers as well as getting a chance to talk to the people behind the wines. It was, like last year an enjoyable evening and while I missed interacting with the patrons like I had the previous year when I worked the event this time around it was nicer to be able to talk to the wine makers and the reps about their products.

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I did not make any detailed notes at the event for specific wines, rather I used this event to gage what I liked and what I felt I could sell back at work. I also had the chance to speak to Matt Skinner briefly while he was in town and it was nice to finally meet the man who is the face of wine for Coles Liquor.

Matt Skinner and I.

Matt Skinner and I.

The event was segregated into two areas, one being Australia and New Zealand (with some Spanish booths) and the other being Old World. I ended up spending more time in the first area due to the stock on hand in my store, however I would have much preferred to have spent the majority of my time in the Old World section of the event – Unfortunately this is not what my current store stocks. Below are just some of the wines that I tried and thought were worth mentioning.

Australia

Dandelion Vineyard

This is the only Australian winery that I visited at the show and for a good reason – I have loved the wines from this winery every time I have come across them in the past.

Shiraz Riesling ($23.99) – The Riesling provided a nice pop of interest to the Shiraz, loved it!

Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz ($99.99) – a VERY nice wine and it lingered in the mouth for a long time. Not sure if I would pay as much as they’re asking for it but it was a a treat to try this wine.

Chile

Casillero del Diablo/Cono Sur

Carmenere ($14.99) – plum and blackcurrant fruits with a toasty coffee finish. This one was recommended by a fellow wine taster and I’m glad they did, I enjoyed it.

France

Piper-Heidsieck

Brut Champagne NV ($49.99) – a fresh citrus driven Champagne. Not bad. I’m still have a soft spot for nutty and toasty sparkling wines but this one did not disappoint.

Italy

Ruffino

Prosecco DOC ($17.99) – my first Prosecco and I’m impressed! I will have to dabble with these more in the near future!

New Zealand

Blind River

This winery chose to stick to what New Zealand is known for – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Both of these varietals have been done exceptionally well by Blind River and their premier line was very nice, and consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99) which highlighted why these varietals are the standouts for the region. The lady running the booth was fantastic to talk to as well!

Jules Taylor

Exceptional wines and it was nice to see a few different varietals that differed to the traditional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I spent quite a while here talking with the wine rep, it was interesting to go into more depth on the reasoning behind the alternative varietals as well as their struggles when it came to getting it out to a wider market due to the overwhelming popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Rose ($19.99) – 100% Merlot grapes and it won me over from the first sip. I will have to get my hands on some bottles of this for next summer as it will be a perfect wine to sip away on a hot summers afternoon.

Grüner Veltliner – white peach, lime and floral notes. I was hunting for a Riesling from New Zealand and this was as close as I got to one. It was not quite what I was looking for but still a delicious wine.

Robinsons

This is a line which Coles has exclusive rights to in Australia. I have always been a little wary of their wines due to this fact. I have to say that I was wrong for being skeptical and really enjoyed tasting my way though their range. I was very impressed all around and the husband of one of the children of the owners who was running the booth was well versed with the wines and a pleasure to chat with.

900 Grapes/Squealing Pig/Matua

I had a wonderful time chatting with the wine rep and wine maker at this booth. They had quite a large range of wines to try over the three labels which I ended up comparing and contrasting with as I went through.

Ranking the Sauvignon Blanc’s (and the labels overall):

1. Squealing Pig

2. 900 Grapes

3. Matua

I also enjoyed the 900 Grapes Merlot over their Pinot Noir (both $19.99) – it seems that Merlot was out to surprise me this night and was trying to convince me to give it another try after swearing off it a few years ago.

Portugal

Casa Santos Lima

This is the same people who make the wine LAB which I loved and reviewed in this blog. I went through the rest of their range that they import to Australia and there were some other gems to be found like the LAB in their range.

Bons VentosRose ($9.99) – refreshing and a great value for money rose.

Quinta Das Setencostas Red ($14.99) – Not a bad wine, I still preferred LAB to this one personally but I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this over dinner either.

Touriz ($26.66) – complex red wine with cherries, blackcurrant and plums. Loved it!

USA

Wente Vineyard

I worked this booth at last years show so I quickly popped by to try the Beyer Ranch Zinfandel ($19.99) and the Morning Fog Chardonnay ($19.99) once more. They were both as nice as I remembered from last year and the booth was very busy so I did not linger for very long.

Chalkboard Series

This is another Coles exclusive range. One which is in the process of being added to (Matt Skinner mentioned that there will be a Prosecco out in the near future from Brown Brother under this label, which I am definitely going to be on the look out for after my first tasting of a Prosecco at this event!)

The Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18.99) was a definite favourite of many people at the booth tasting the wines. However it was the Cote’s du Rhone ($11.99) which stole my heart in this range!

Until next time!

Denkmark Wineries (Singlefile and Harewood)

Hi everyone,

BF and I went down south to Albany for a few days and while we were there I managed to stop in at two wineries between Albany and Denmark. I had planned to visit a few more wineries around Albany and Mt Barker however I ended up getting sick towards the end of the trip and have spent the week since recovering. BF and I adored the region however! The scenery of the region is quite unlike that of Margaret River. The wineries too are not as well accessible as Margaret River, which has spent a significant amount of time, money and effort to create itself as the wine-seekers destination when heading south of Perth.

Harewood

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2012 Porongurup Riesling ($21).

Floral, citrus and passionfruit nose with green apple and passionfruit on the palate of this wine is finished off by a nice mineral finish. I did like this wine and would happily have it again!

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2011 Chardonnay ($34).

I quite liked this Chardonnay. Grapefruit, stone fruit and a nice touch of vanilla from it’s time on oak came through on the palate. Would have again.

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2011 Pinot Noir ($21).

A much younger and less complex Pinot Noir to the reserve. Nice, but didn’t wow me.

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2010 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45).

I really liked this wine but was hanging out to try more from Mount Barker before picking up some bottles to bring back. A really nice wine, a little more expensive that what I would have liked to paid for a Pinot I liked for the region but I would be happy to splurge for this one from time to time. Lots of dark berries, dried fruits and rich chocolate to be found in this wine.

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2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($34).

Blackcurrant, plums and vanilla on the palate and nose of this wine had me quite excited! It was a nice delicate wine that could be drunk now, however I personally feel it would be superb with a few more years in the bottle.

Singlefile

I featured Singlefile winery in a Halliday Day post last, which can be found here.

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NV Run Free Serendipity Curvée ($26).

Quite a nice sparkling. Grapes sourced from Pemberton region. Citrus on the nose and palate with the palate having a nice texture and crisp finish. Would have again.

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2012 Pemberton Fume Blanc ($30).

This wine is a testament to how my palate has changed since starting this blog! I had the opportunity to try this wine back in November of last year at the WA Boutique Wine Show and was not overly impressed with the wine, this time around I ended up walking away with a bottle of it to take home with me. This oaked Sauvignon Blanc had a beautiful texture and it really enhanced the grassy and spicy flavours and aromas in the wine.

Reserve Chardonnay.

2012 Reserve Chardonnay ($45).

A delightful wine with stone fruit, a hint of citrus and a good creamy nuttiness across the nose and palate of this wine. This wine was very nice and getting closer to a Chardonnay that I feel I would enjoy (one with a good amount of oak). I contemplated picking up a bottle of this wine but in the end decided against it as the backseat of the car was beginning to look like a wine cellar. Would happily try this wine again!

Rose.

2012 Run Free La vie en Rosé ($20).

Shiraz and Grenache blended Rosé. Grapes sourced from Porongurup region. Lovely strawberry, herb and vanilla nose to the wine. Palate did not disappoint with a refreshing and clean finish. Picked up a bottle of this to take home.

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2012 Pemberton Pinot Noir ($30).

This Pinot Noir was nice, but it did not ‘blow my socks off’ as I was hoping for a Pinot Noir to do during my time in the region. Lots of cherries, other berries and spiciness on the nose and palate. Good texture and palate weight. Overall not a bad wine and would try again.

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2010 Mount Barker Syrah ($37).

A medium bodied Shiraz with delicate berry flavour on the palate and a hint of pepperiness. This is a Shiraz that I wouldn’t mind drinking and I ended up picking a bottle of this up as a gift.

Barossa Shiraz.

2010 Barossa Shiraz.

This Shiraz was full bodied and packed a punch. It was nice to try this wine however it was not a style of wine that I would quickly go back to, I must admit that Shiraz is not a favourite varietal of mine.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 3)

Hi everyone,

I have settled in a little more with my university schedule and managed to sneak in quite a few different wines over the course of this past week.

La Battistina, 2011, ‘Gavi’, Piedmont, Italy ($9.50 a glass at Lamont’s in Cottesloe).

This wine was more minerality than fruit driven on the palate. My first time trying this wine varietal. Not a bad white wine but perhaps not a varietal I would go back to as I felt there wasn’t much going on in the glass as I would have liked, especially in regards to fruit driven flavours.

Tyrell’s Winery, Old Winery Semillon, Hunter Valley.

I had a small glass of this with dinner during the week. I haven’t every had a proper glass of Semillon before and it was serious on the citrus flavours making me think immediately of BF who had a sip and liked it. The finish was crisp but refreshing, but not enough to win me over from Rieslings or the Semillon being blended with Sauvignon Blanc to round out the citrus flavours in the wine. This is a wine varietal I would love to revisit in a few months after I have tried a few more new white varietals and expanded my palate.

Monkey Bay, 2011, Chardonnay, Gisborne, New Zealand.

Went out to dinner on Friday night with a girlfriend and we ended up picking a bottle. I ended up going for a Chardonnay and selected Monkey Bay off the list as I was hoping for an oaked Chardonnay, however the label did not disclose if it was oaked or unoaked. Having a quick sample the wine was deemed quite pleasant and turned out to be unoaked. Creamy and fleshy fruits on the palate went well with our rich pasta and risotto dishes along with a very long and pleasant Friday evening chat.

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Kumkani, 2010, Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

I finally got around to chilling this bottle of wine which had been given to me as a gift. I had it chilling in the fridge while I was at work as the weather in Perth over this weekend has been quite hot. The wine at first seemed quite young and a little unbalanced, however as it warmed up it developed into a wine I quite enjoyed. It feels quite warm on the palate, earthy, spiciness on top of a fruit base in the wine. Big fan and will have to keep an eye out for this varietal in the future.

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Hope everyone has had a pleasant weekend! Have a wonderful week and hope you have the chance to try a new bottle of two of wine across it!

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 2)

Hi everyone,

I managed to survive my second week of intensive classes and along the way I had a few drinks. Australia Day also fell on this past weekend, hence the belatedness of this blog post as I spent the weekend down south with family and out of internet range.

First off was a Champagne Bellini from Olivers on James street in Northbridge, which I had with a lovely meal before going to the theatre with BF to see The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Consisting of Champagne, Peach Schnapps and Nectar. This drink helped me settle into my second week of intensive classes before I begin heading out into classrooms and meeting the teachers and students over the next few weeks.

Champagne Bellini.

My Australia Day drinks consisted of a 2011 Permberton Chardonnay from Capel Vale, which we were having lunch at to celebrate a family birthday. It was a tough way to spend Australia Day, especially the deserts which I put photos up on my Facebook page.

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I had a quick tasting on the way out of Capel Vale Winery. I think this is the last wine of theirs that I had to try, Their Sassy NV Sparkling. This wine was nice with lots of apples on the palate and a dry finish. I think this wine would do well with some fruit and cheese platter on a summer’s afternoon.

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We also cracked open a bottle of Emri sparkling Moscato which was on clearance for $4 at work. Unfortunately it is clear why the wine was being run out, the sparkling element was missing and the wine that remained showed great promise (the sweet marmalade element of Nobel 1 were just present on the palate for me) if it had of been a sparkling but was left lacking as a still wine.

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There ended up being a late entry into this weeks wine recap. We ended up having lunch before returning to Perth and did so with a bottle of Fermoy’s 2010 Geographe Shiraz. This little gem sold for $90 a dozen and has since sold out which is an absolute shame as from the first sniff to the last sip this wine was luscious and fruity and required no airing time at all. A definite standout for the wines I had this week!

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Hope all my Australian readers are enjoying their long weekend for Australia Day and my other readers around the world have had a good weekend!

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: Melbourne

Hi everyone,

My write up of my half-day in the Yarra Valley will be up tomorrow so I won’t spoil it now. While in the Yarra Valley I went to 3 wineries (Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli and Yerling Station) as well as a cidery (Punt Road) and a Chocolatiere. During my stay in Melbourne we were very busy day and night so I didn’t get the chance to sample too many wines outside my time in the Yarra Valley. I did while at the theatre have a glass of Yerling Station’s ‘village’ Pinot Noir which I also sampled while in the Yarra Valley. The wine was a little disappointing to what I remembered from my tasting in the Yarra Valley and it felt like the bottle of wine had been open for a little too long for my liking from the oxidisation of the wine. However it was still a good enough wine to get a “ooh I don’t mind that” out of my cousin who is not a fan when it comes to my beloved red wine.

Yerling Station Village Pinot Noir.

Yerling Station Village Pinot Noir.

When we had dinner on Phillip Island before seeing the penguin parade, I for once opted for a glass of white wine instead of my usual preference for a glass of red as I was finally to have Carbonara which I had been craving for too long. I had a glass of 2009 Serafino Chardonnay from Mclaren Valein South Australia. This Chardonnay really impressed me with a hint of butteryness coming though while still having enough fruit on the palate for my liking to make it a refreshing drink. Perhaps this year will be the year that I come to appreciate Chardonnay?

We ended our Melbourne trip with a meal at Melba Restaurant and whilst there I decided to bypass their extensive wine list as I was being indecisive and instead opted for a cocktail. I selected an Apple Crumbletini which was I think the best cocktail I have had in Australia. I also had the chance to taste a Strawberries & Cream and a Passionfruit Mojito.

The Apple Crumbletini consisted of Absolute vanilla vodka, caramel liquor, cinnamon, apple schnapps and fresh apple. It was delicious and wonderfully presented

Apple Crumbletini.

Apple Crumbletini.

I also had a sip of the other cocktails that our table ordered over the meal. The Strawberries & Cream was another cocktail off the menu that I had considered and it was delicious! This would have to be a close second for favourite Australian cocktail!

Strawberries & Cream.

Strawberries & Cream.

Lastly was the Passionfruit Mojito which was my least favourite of the three as when I tried it I gout a mouthful of limejuice and it was too acidic for my liking over ht others in the group thoroughly enjoyed it.

Passionfruit Mojito.

Passionfruit Mojito.

I would love to return to Melba not only for their extensive food selection but also to try more of their cocktails as those, which I tried this time, impressed me overall.

My last alcoholic beverage for the trip is a 2010 Tyrell’s Winery Cabernet Merlot on the flight back to Perth with my meal. The wine was served chilled and came out of a plastic bottle and went into a plastic cup – classy… The wine did quite well with my pasta dish however I was quite surprised and impressed with how it brought out the caramel in the Lindt chocolate which we had for desert. I must experience more this winter with chocolate and red wine!

Tyrell's Winery 2010 Cabernet Merlot (plastic bottle).

Tyrell’s 2010 Cabernet Merlot.

Lastly for the week is a cider BF and I shared from The Cidery in Bridgetown when I was back in Perth this past weekend. We tried the last flavour that I had brought back from Bridgetown, and the one I was least liking the look of. This cider I expected a much dryer finish from, this one’s was actually medium dry and quite pleasant. What I did not like at all with this cider was the vinegar aroma and taste that it intentionally possessed., which overtook from the crisp apple flavours that I so loved in their other ciders. This one I’m not a fan, the rest of their range however I would happily repurchase next time I see it.

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Scudamore’s Scrumpy Cider.

I have just been accepted into the graduate degree I had applied for at the start of summer and due to a few mishaps my application was accepted late and it turns out I begin intensive classes this Monday (tomorrow) as a result of this I have some blog post pre-written from the flight home that will go up this week but over the next month my posting will likely become sporadic as I focus on my degree. Sorry in advance for this, but I promise I will continue my Sunday posts, and I do have quite a few reviews of restaurants in Melbourne that I just need to write along with a few winery reviews and ideas for Wino101 posts so I will continue to write whenever I get a chance outside of my studies.

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 9 – Peel Estate Winery.

Hi everyone,

As part of my Wine Essentials Class with the Wine Education Centre of WA we had the chance to be given a tour of Peel Estate Winery in Baldivis by its owner and senior winemaker Will Nairn. Peel Winery is located in the Peel wine region, which is located at the southern end of Perth; situated roughly between Rockingham and 50km south of Mandurah and runs from the coast to the Darling Scarp.

James Halliday rated the winery 4 stars in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion, and commends them on their “remarkably consistent track record”. Peel Estate is known for it’s unique ‘wooded-Chenin’ which Halliday rates as the best wooded-Chenin in Australia and compares it to that of the Loire Valley in France.

We were taken by Will Nairn for a tour of his vineyard and winery and I managed to grab a few half-decent pictures along the way. Below are some pictures I took while we were given a tour of the winery. Will spent about an hour discussing with us the formation of the winery and where he had sourced the grapes cuttings from, how they had developed and how he had altered the vision of the winery along with their successes and failures and his views on oak and other wine making methods and advances. Climate change was of great importance to Will as it is impacting many aspects of the Wine Industry, regarding irrigation, harvest and the success of certain grape varietals.

Vines.

Mature Grape Vines.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our teacher in the wine class.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our wine educator from the Wine Education Centre.

This tour was possibly the highlight of the Wine Essential Course that I have been completing this past month. It was so interesting and exciting to hear from a man who has been in the industry for years as well as to see him in his own environment, that of his winery and vineyard.

Review of wines sampled:

2011 Verdehlo: dry, crisp, fresh, and citrus on the nose. The palate was dominated by apple, floral, and zestyness from the citrus notes in the wine. The Verdelho had been left on lees for a bit which made it different to other Verdelho’s I have tried, but still overall one that I would happily have again.

2012 Oaked Chardonnay: On the nose you could note floral, fruity and a hint of butteriness from the oak. The acid was balanced on the palate and the time on oak led to it having a good texture as well as giving the wine a toasty flavour along with citrus and spiciness from the fruit.

2011 Wood-matured Chenin Blanc: this wine was different to any Chenin I have tried in the past, while at first it seemed unfamiliar and therefore slightly odd tasting I warmed up to it in the end. On the nose the wine was crisp but still nutty and toasty thanks to the time on oak (between 12-18 months for the Chenin). On the palate the wine was fruity, rich, dry and a hint of honey. This is a wine which would do best I believe with food.

2012 Rose: Their rose is a blend consisting of mainly Cabernet Franc with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also. The wine began with strawberries and cream on the nose and was fruity and smooth on the palate. The wine began sweet on the tip of the mouth it’s overall finish was medium-dry. I was a fan of this and think I have have preferred it to the wine’s I sampled at the Rose Revolution earlier.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: the bit of age on the wine had done it some good thought it was still a little on the young side. The acid and tannins on the wine were still noticeable but it was still a pleasant drop. Dark plum was present both on the nose and palate and along with vanilla, spiciness, and a slight hint go earthiness or chalky-limestone thanks to the location of the vineyard on the old limestone coastal plain in the region.

2005 Old Vine Shiraz: spice, black olive, vanilla, licorice, chocolate and toasty all came to mind from the nose of this wine. On the palate you could taste berries and chocolate as well and it was quite a smooth wine. Not a bad wine either and it came close to usurping the  Cabernet Sauvignon as my favourite red.

Fortified Shiraz: wow! This is a wine which I am so glad I had the chance to try! It was like liquid gold for me! If you make it to the winery this is one to try and you will likely end up taking a bottle home with you!

They also do a Zinfandel which they were currently out of stock on the previous vintage and a few weeks off having the next vintage available for tasting which was a shame as it came highly recommended. There was also a Shiraz Cabernet which we accidentally passed over during the tasting. All the wines sampled on the day were very reasonably priced, with the aged reds being $30-35 which impressed me greatly, in comparison to what they would have likely cost had they come from a Margaret River winery.

A big thanks to Will for having the class on the tour and for being such an entertaining host! I do hope some of you make it down to the winery as it is the perfect location for a lazy weekend barbecue with their electric barbecue and wine cellar open 10am-5pm 7 days a week.

Until next time!