Recently, as part of EatDrinkPerth, a pop up cellar door showcasing the wines of the Swan Valley and Perth Hills popped up at the Aviary – we were invited along by Nicola from Riverbank Estate and had the opportunity to re-new acquaintance with some of our favourite wineries – as well as trying the wines of one we had not had the opportunity to sample before.
Nine wineries were on display three from the Hills, the rest the Valley – some very pleasant canapés from the Aviary kitchen, and a talented musician providing background entertainment made for a relaxing and entertaining evening.
Other than Little Black Dog we were familiar with all of the wineries but welcomed the chance to catch up with the latest releases – with Little Black Dog we were very pleased to have the opportunity to try wines we had heard about but not come across on previous occasions – and with no cellar door couldn’t visit.
So to the wineries. There were many wines to try, and try we did, and below I list our pick of each winery on the night.
I have been going to Carldenn for a few years now – after all it is the first winery on my way to Bickley Valley and always worth a stop – Dennis turns out some very good wine – with his sparkling one of the highlights of the night. We chatted about small bar Cork and Bottle in Bassendean adding a couple of Carldenn wines to their list (2012 Shiraz and Chardonnay) about which he was chuffed – I went along to the wine bar a few days later and was told a few of his Shiraz had been sold with good feedback. It is good to see.
The Sparkling White (a blend of Chardonnay and Semillon) has aromas of apple and tropical fruit, with a little toasted brioche; it has fine and persistent bead, fine acid and lingering green apple and citrus flavours.
Black Swan have one of the best restaurants in the Valley – in fact we went for lunch just this week and my review will be posted soon – and their wines have improved markedly over the past few years. I was particularly taken with the CSFM – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
CSFM 2010 – This is a lovely wine – lifted blackcurrant, chocolate and plum aromas on the nose, with more black fruit, mulberry, sour cherry and liquorice on the palate; the tannins are smooth, and the oak treatment leads the wine to a long, full finish. It would certainly cellar well over the next 5-7 years and is a great accompaniment to food.
A small winery near Chidlow I have run across them at Perth Hills Wine Show in the past, but not yet had the chance to visit.
NV Sparkling Chenin Blanc – apples and cut grass aromas, with a hint of honey, on the nose; the plate is fresh and crisp, apples, a touch of citrus on the palate – refreshing and satisfying finish.
John Griffiths is one of the best known and regarded winemakers in the Valley and his Faber cellar door, just across the road from Feral Brewery, a very attractive and welcoming spot. He makes a great range of wines from Swan Valley grapes as well as those brought in from other regions – in fact he had only that morning travelled to the Frankland and back to inspect some grapes. His Verdelho and Shiraz are long standing favourites.
2013 Petit Verdot – deep red, with a touch of purple at the edge; lovely bouquet of violets, blackberries and mulberries, leading to a velvety and silky palate; juicy fruit – plums, cherries – and dark chocolate flavours abound. Smooth tannins and lasting finish.
Little Black Dog
It was great to catch up, finally, with Little Black Dog and we came away very impressed indeed – a mixed dozen ordered so that we could enjoy the wines further at home. The rosé, beautifully coloured, was an eye catcher and extremely well made, but for me the highlight was the outstanding malbec. However, the others will be reviewed in a separate post in the near future.
2011 Malbec – this has an intensely aromatic nose – almost like walking across a bed of violets with the perfume wafting up. Deep purple with a touch of magenta at the edge, the bouquet also evokes mulberries and plums. The soft palate is redolent of cherries and mulberries with a brambly astringent edge. Sweet tobacco notes, a touch of spice and a smooth tannins leading to an elegant and very satisfying finish.
A long standing favourite that I have been visiting and enjoying for some years now, Myattsfield is a must visit winery if you venture to the Perth Hills – they turn out excellent wines and a great range too. They were the first to produce a Durif (Dudley) in WA and that continues to impress.
2014 Chardonnay – palely golden, this has a bouquet of white peach, with floral lemon notes; the rich palate is buttery, with nutty characters, and crisp citrus flavours leading to a sustained and stylish finish.
Another Swan Valley winery with an outstanding restaurant – it has a wonderful outlook across lawns and vines to the river and beyond – brilliant food and they turn out very good wine as well; what more could you want. It has the added advantage for us of being only a couple of K’s from home.
Vermentino – this is a variety very suited to the Valley with a couple of outstanding examples going around of which this is one. Bright and dazzling, it has a lifted lemon scented nose and a crunchy green apple and limey palate supported by fine acidity.
Yet another of the wineries of the Valley with a brilliant restaurant, and recently opened a small and snazzy wine bar – The Nest . They produce an excellent range of wines as well – we adore their rosé which wasn’t for tasting on the night, but the sparkling variation was the next best thing.