Western Australia has some fantastic wine regions. Most commonly known are Margaret River and the Swan Valley, but there are so many more emerging. One of these is the Geographe Region, approximately 2hrs south of Perth, which encompasses the Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook, Capel, Harvey & Busselton.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a recent event with tastings from five different Geographe Region wineries. The Queens Hotel in Highgate converted their upstairs area, with lots of nooks, crannys & a fireplace, into The Wine Loft for the evening, with pop up cellar doors. Several events are hosted there throughout the year, and this Wine Loft event was in partnership with the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia, who runs the Perth Royal Wine Show.
Being handed a high quality Plume wine glass for tasting at the entry made for a great start to the evening. Only a select number of tickets were sold ensuring the event wasn’t packed, making it easy to try generous samples of wine, and chat to those serving. Each winery brought a wine along of something a bit ‘different’, whether an interesting variety or wine making creation. The wineries featured:
Talisman Wines – Talisman Wines is based in the Ferguson Valley, and were recently announced Small Producer of the Year by the Western Australia Wine Guide. Family run, this winery makes some incredible wine, including Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc done in a Fume style, Malbec, and their recently released Rose (which is incredible enough to convert any non-Rose drinker). Talisman Wines are one of my favourite producers ever & I highly recommend (and drink a lot of) their wine!
Willow Bridge Estate – Another winery based in the Ferguson Valley, Willow Bridge Estate is also family run, and recently was named Star Cellar Door for Geographe in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. You may have seen them under their two labels, Dragonfly series & Estate series, along with their Black Dog Shiraz & Maris Sol Chardonnay. I tasted their Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Bookends Fume Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Rosa de Solana, Dragonfly Shiraz & Solana Tempranillo.
Mandalay Road – Beatrice & Tony O’Connell planted some vines in 1997, not expecting for the venture to end up as Mandalay Road. Now they make several wines, including Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel & the little known variety, Durif. Both their Cabernet Sauvignon & Durif were outstanding, and two of my favourite wines of the evening.
Fifth Estate Wines – This Harvey based wineries is also has a massive family influence. Fifth Estate Wines make great wine, and had Rose, Chardonnay, Shiraz & Tempranillo on tasting, along with a stand out Sparkling Shiraz, a must have for summer!
Moojelup Farm Wines – Located at the foothills of the Darling Scarp, Moojelup Farm focuses on single vineyard wines. Growing more well known varieties as Semillon, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon, Moojelup Farm also makes the not as well known Vermentino
Along with the wine, there was a magnificent ‘Cheese for Days’ tasting area, with entries from the Perth Royal Food Awards. Read more about the awards on my recent blog post here. It really was Cheese for Days, with devoured cheese stocks constantly being replaced. It was a cheese heaven! My favourites were the Meredith Cherve Ash & Tarago Blue – both very different in terms of flavour, but both incredibly creamy & smooth.
Crackers, bread, meats & condiments were offered as cheese accompaniments. This included sundried tomato, olives, zucchini, capsicum, along with smoked chicken breast, prosciutto, lachsschinken, schinkenspeck & pastrami. Seriously, the best cheese platter I’ve ever experienced.
Thee Shucker was also there, shucking & serving up fresh oysters. Always a favourite, the oyster station was very popular, surrounded by ladies most of the night… but I don’t know if that was because of the oysters or Carl! My wine pick with the oysters was 2016 Talisman Riesling.
When it was time for finally go, the surprises didn’t end. A gift bag for everyone, with discounts for all the wineries, paper to wrap the wine glass in, a bottle of water (always a good idea with wine) and a fudgy, chocolaty dessert. The child inside of me appreciates a goodie bag… the adult side loves the wine theme.
The Wine Loft – Fourth Vintage Geographe was a fantastic event, and a bargain at only $35 a ticket. If you’re a fan of beer there’s some great Brewers Loft events over the next couple of months. Keep an eye on The Queens Hotel facebook page for more upcoming events.
The Queens Hotel, Highgate – www.thequeens.com.au
Geographe Wine – www.geographewine.com.au
Royal Agricultural Sociaty of Western Australia – www.raswa.org.au