Wineries of Western Australia
By Karen Berger
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Western Australia, and in particular, Margaret River, for the first time, but definitely not my last! It was winter there, which means lows in the high 40’s, highs in the 60’s to 70’s. Just perfect! I went to three great wineries while I was there, and that was the only disappointment because the vineyards were bare, except for the colorful parrots scavenging for remaining grapes.
Margaret River is a great place for growing grapes because it’s on a wide peninsula with the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean on either side of it. This brings cool breezes in the hot summer months to really help the grapes grow to their peak. This area is known for their great Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons.
Our first visit was to Vasse Felix. A beautiful property with some great wines. The Chardonnay made in Margaret River is unlike any I’ve had elsewhere. No oak, buttery tastes, and yet no strong mineral flavors. It tasted like a nice smooth Sauvignon Blanc.
Our next visit was to Voyager Estate, with thankfully, lunch included also. Each course paired with their wines. It was exquisite. One of the appetizers, Abalone, was amazing and had dry ice under to make it look as if it was floating. The wines were terrific too! The Shiraz was especially memorable.
The next day, we went Truffle Hunting with David Coomer and his hunters, two English Pointers, Olive and Hazel. They looked quite ugly, but the truffle flavoring on the different dishes we had was mouthwatering. Once we had found enough of the truffles we headed over to the annual Truffle Kerfuffle. It had a very small town festival feel, with live music and many different wine tastings from some of the smaller cellars. They also had a man made “shed” with different speakers on different wines.
Last, but not least was the Leeuwin Estate, our final wine estate, with a special dinner especially for us. The estate was beautiful and hosts a special concert every year (Chris Isaak was last years). They also host the annual Gourmet Escape Feast, which they have every year in November, with a small number of tickets sold. I believe I need to go back!
I focused on the wine for this area, but it has so much more to offer! Beautiful, pristine beaches with turquoise waters, forests, and caves with Aboriginal storytelling. A beautiful gem in Australia’s crown!