Like I said in an earlier post, the natural pase of things in Western Australia seems to be to go hiking and than drinking. So, after two days of hiking it was time to check out Margaret River, the most famous wine region of Western Australia.
The day began with a little shock, because I the night before I had made a whole schedule of where to go and how much we could do in one day, and this morning it turnedout that our next place to stay (surfpoint resort) wasn’t a 2,5 hours drive away, but four! Put a little break in there and half your day is gone.. But as they say: no worries. So we got in the car and drove off as fast as we could (and were allowed) to Leeuwin Estate.
This is one of the biggest estates of the region with several 100 hectares of vineyards. The have a lot of land without any grapes growing on it, so they also host an anual music festival in their backyard. Unfortunatly that is organized a different time of the year, but we saw the stage and that was not build for school recitals.
They also have a small gallery on sight and a lixery restaurant that smelled pretty good. The place has a bit of a modern / rustique atmosphere going on. Very bussy, tough you can still come in on a whimp for a cellar door tasting, which is what we did. We started out nice enough with some sparkling wine. We were in great luck with our sommelier, who took the time to explain about everything. From the tastes, to the different ways of making chardonnay creamy instead of buttery, old and new wines and let us taste as much as possible to make the int come accross. At one point he even went over to the restaurant to give me some of their finest chardonnay to taste, that usually goes for $60,00 a glass!
A great way to counter our bad start of the day. And the next winery wasn’t far: Voyarer wines, Leeuwin’s neighbours. Also a big winery, with a gigantic flagpole standing right in the middle of their estate with a huge Australian flag.
Right at the entrance they had a VOC vase, so they were clearly going for the explorer theme. The pless was mich less crowed than Leeuwin, but I have the feeling that that was just coincedance. Tasting fees apply. And quite steep ones: $3 for a sip (and just a sip…). We decided to give it a go anyways, especially because that had both a white wine and a sparkling wine made of chenin blanc, which is one of my favourites. And I liked both! Undortunately mr. Scientist has a different taste.
They also had a 2011 Shiraz that I was curious to try and because we both agreed to buy a bottle of very fruity chardonnay for the beach, all tasting fees were waivered.
We decided to hit one last winery and drove over to Vasse Felix. I had one of their chardonnays in my wine tasting at home, so I thought it would be fun to visit this place. Even tough this is the oldest winery in the regio, there were no tourists to be found. In fact, we saw many Australian families with small children. Well, I guess you can’t start developing some taste soon enough! It turned out the the wine I was able to buy at home – Filius – was (in my opinion) the least of their Chardonnays. It was a bit of a shame that the personnel was so obviously focused on getting the Christmas celebrations started (talking to each other about what thy were gonna do as if we couldn’t hear, doing all the dishes and cleaning up right at the tast ng counter). But we did get to find out the story about the estate: altough the winery was named lucky (felix in Latin), that luck was hard to come by at the neginning. In their first year birds eat all the grapes. Then the owner got a falcon to protect the grapes, whoch is apparently a rarity because there a are no falcons in this part of the world. Unfortunately that falcon dissappeared and was found tangled up (and dead) in nets further along. To tribute this brave falcon anyways, they put him in their logo but, because there are none, did not get a new one.
By the time we were finished, it was about 5 o clock and we took our last 20 minute ride to the hotel. We got our keys from a real surfer dude (long, blond, curley hair, layd back and in swimwear) doing the hotel’s name honours; “Surfpoint resort“.