Established in 1977 by Dr John Lagan, Xanadu Wines has now been making wine for over 40 years. Recently winning 3 trophy’s at the 2017 National Wine Awards, including Best Cabernet for the 5th year running, and taking out Best Wine of Show at the Six Nations Wine Challenge 2017 with their 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, Xanadu Wines is known for its high quality wines from the Margaret River region.
Not to be outshone by the award winning wines, Xanadu’s restaurant made the WA Top 50 Best Restaurant list in the West Australian Good Food Guide 2017. Head Chef Melissa Kokoti has created a fantastic menu inspired by ingredients from the on-site garden, where herbs and vegetables, including heirloom tomatoes & artichokes, are grown. Anyone who has eaten food straight out of the garden can appreciate the intensity of flavour from freshly picked produce!
The Xanadu cellar door & restaurant is located down a picturesque 2km long driveway in a beautiful stone building surrounded by gardens & vines. I first noticed the beanbags in the lawn, which would be a perfectly relaxing spot to enjoy your afternoon. The restaurant has great indoor outdoor flow, with plenty of outdoor seating areas. It would be equally relaxing in winter, with plenty of indoor seating and a stone fireplace.
All the best meals start with a glass of bubbles. We started with a glass of the recently released 2014 Xanadu Method Traditional Brut Blanc de Blanc. This sparkling is 100% chardonnay, and spent 9 months on lees, adding great bready notes in addition to lime, green apple & pineapple flavours. This was a great wine, and a perfect start to our Xanadu experience.
Xanadu has an a la carte menu showcasing local ingredients, many which are grown on site. Its well priced, but the Xanadu prix fixe is an incredible deal with any 3 courses from the menu for only $60! The ultimate offering is the Xanadu Fest, a degustation tasting menu showcasing the chefs favourite dishes for only $85 per person. It seemed like the best option for us to get an overview of what Xanadu had to offer.
Our first dish was Salmon + Avocado Taco’s, with lime, finely sliced lettuce & a beautiful avocado cream. Light and refreshing! Very reminiscent of something you’d find in Mexico.
The Fresh Baked Bread Loaf, Wulura Olive Oil & Dukkah was so delicious, we were fighting over who was doing the dipping. You could tell the bread was fresh, and the dukkah was so good. We both love dukkah & eat a lot of it, but this was one of the best I’ve ever had. I liked that they used local olive oil too, there is fantastic oil grown & made in the Margaret River region.
We’d finished our delicious bubbles at this point, and on suggestion of Food, Wine & Events manager Dexter, moved on to the 2017 DJL Semillon. This would be the perfect match with the earlier taco’s, as it was with our next dish. Highly refreshing with high acidity and notes of lemon & lime, green apple and pineapple, perfect for a warm Margaret River summers day, or to enjoy with fish and chips on one of the regions beautiful beaches.
A great match with the Semillon was Cured Salmon, Dill, Cucumber, Apple, Macadamia & Rye. The generous servings of salmon melted in our mouths, I’ve never tasted salmon prepared quite like it and I was in love. All accompaniments added to and accentuated the flavours, most surprisingly was the apple which gave that hint of fruity sweetness. The textures were great, and this was one of my favourite dishes of the day.
I like options & I like to try lots of things. I’m a huge fan of anything with this format – wine tasting, degustation meals, share plates etc. So I was delighted to see next up was Pig’s Head Terrine. Served with Brioche AND crackers, Piccalilli AND a Plum Sauce, Fried Cucumber Pickle AND Pickled Onions, this was my type of dish! The terrine was the star, the brioche fresh, plum sauce offering sweet spice, and piccalilli amazing (Hungry Husband wanted to take a jar of it home). The Fried Cucumber Pickle was interesting, pickled sliced cucumbers deep fried, and again, a great option for the dish. It may sound like a lot of things, but everything belonged on that plate.
This next dish is something I would have never ordered, and I would have really missed out. The Kashmiri Spatchcock, Lime Pilaf, Mango Chutney + Pickle Mustard Seeds was the highlight of our meal, and probably the highlight meal of my month. It was seriously amazing. The spatchcock was juicy & tender with the perfect amount of charring, and all of the flavours just made for a mouthful of perfection. I can’t seem to think of adequate words to share how delicious this dish was. You have to try it. Trust me.
At this point we were starting to feel pretty full. We sipped our wine, enjoyed the live music, and moved on to the next recommendation, 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Margaret River does Cab Sauv so well, and this was no exception, with this particular wine earning 98 points from both Ray Jordon & Tyson Stelzer, and also taking out the Cabernet Sauvignon trophy at the National Wine Show of Australia awards in 2016. With notes of raspberry, plum, eucalyptus, vanilla & leather, we agreed this was a fantastic wine.
We were glad we had our break between dishes, as the next was another delicious, yet generous serving. Beef Flank had been sous vide for 16 hours, then sliced. It was still pink in the middle and oh so tender. This was served with Potato, Bone Marrow Vinaigrette, Watercress & Horseradish. It was very rich, so the side of Heirloom Tomato, Tahini Eggplant, Pomegranate & Puffed Grains was very welcome, with the tomato acidity cutting through the rich beef dish. It was obvious the tomatoes were fresh, and we confirmed that they had come straight from the kitchen garden. You know when you’re so full you want to stop, but the food is that good you just have to keep going? That was us.
As all good meals start with bubbles, all good meals end with dessert, and this degustation was no exception. Sounding simple the dessert was ‘Chocolate + Banana + Coffee’, but when it arrived it looked anything but simple. It was a dish we both said WOW to when we saw it. Chocolate ganache, banana cream, coffee sorbet, chocolate soil, caramalised banana & puffed milk all beautifully presented on a plate. The coffee sorbet appeared to be homemade, and gave refreshing bitter balance to the rich ganache. As we were pretty full I was wondering how we would manage to get through it, but it was devoured in seconds, it was surprisingly light and tasted even better than it looked.
Also partial to a bit of cheese, we enjoyed a slice of d’argental lingot cheese, from Lyon, France. Creamy, delicate & absolutely delicious, it was the perfect end to a perfect meal.
After our meal, Dexter invited us for a tour around the barrel room and told us a bit of history of Xanadu. It was interesting to see the display of wines from the very beginning of Xanadu, all the way to present day, showing the change in the labels. I never say no to a barrel room tour, there’s something special about that smell of wine maturing & developing in oak.
Of course, we couldn’t visit Xanadu and not check out their cellar door for a tasting. We tried several wines, but a few standouts included:
2017 DJL Rose
2013 Stevens Road Graciano
2014 Petit Verdot
Along with the Sparkling, the Semillion & the Cabernet Sauvignon we enjoyed at lunch.
A special mention about the staff at Xanadu. Staff can make or break an experience, and everyone was knowledgeable & friendly. We even ran into our waitress later on that evening in Margaret River and she remembered us and asked if we enjoyed our meal. That is service!
Amazing wine, amazing food, a peaceful & beautiful grassy courtyard surrounded by gardens, only a 3hr drive from Perth – Xanadu is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon!
Margaret River WA 6285
10:00am to 5:00pm
12:00 to 3:00pm