On Toodyay Road, a little off the beaten track of Swan Valley wineries, Jane Brook Estate has been producing excellent wines for many years – certainly from the time David and Bev Atkinson bought the Vignacourt winery back in the early 1970s. Some years back they also established a vineyard in Margaret River from which some outstanding wines have come.
Recently – in fact last weekend – they changed the mode of food service in their little café area. A pantry has been set up in the adjacent tasting area and they offer a couple of baskets – one with vegetarian fritatta, one with terrine – and cheese, olives, salad, chutney, dip, pickles, bread and oil – with the option of purchasing additional ingredients – smoked salmon, various meats, to eat out under pergolas, some covered in vines, in the paved courtyard or even on the lawns next to the vines.
Lady FWO and I went along during the week – they are open 7 days – to see how the new deal was going and after the obligatory tasting of their wines (and of course purchase of some to take home) we ordered the vegetarian basket and a bottle of wine (rosé of course!) and took up our seats at one of the tables – the tables also have umbrellas if the sun gets a touch too strong.
The basket looked pretty good when it was delivered along with cutlery, a bowl of oil, and napkins – a long seeded bread stick, chewy and starchy, a large triangle of tangy, nutty Red Leicester, absolutely brilliant pickled onions – but all too few we thought!
Olives with fennel, pickled mushrooms, crunchy salad of iceberg lettuce, yellow capsicum, cherry tomatoes and sliced radish, a bowl of slaw with a mild Asian dressing – a little more chilli kick would have helped as far as I was concerned, but Lady FWO had no complaint, beetroot infused hummus dip, piquant chutney and a couple of chunks of vegetable frittata – a little under-seasoned we thought, although the vegetables were nicely cooked in the egg custard. All in all a very satisfactory and enjoyable picnic basket.
Our bottle of rosé was a perfect accompaniment, strawberry nose, crisp and dry palate, refreshing and with zippy fruit balanced by fine acid.
Jane Brook offers all that you would want from a laid back casual winery – simple, well presented food, fresh and quality ingredients, excellent wine and very good range of varieties and styles to boot, in a friendly and relaxed environment.