Saturday, a glorious day in the Swan Valley saw a gathering of wine and food bloggers for the inaugural Harvest@Sittella event.
The day started in the rotunda on the lawns of the winery – with the impact of the recent deluge very evident, flooded lakes, lost blocks of vines, but with the waters receding at last. Welcomed by Sales Reps Emma and Kelly with a glass of Sittella sparkling Chenin Blanc – creamy palate, aromas of lemons and peaches, just the thing to kick off a weekend – we were introduced to winemaker Yuri Berns who gave us some history of the winery and an update on the vintage – still behind schedule due to the extended winter which set back the vines fruiting both in the Swan and more so from their vineyards in the south of the State.
Then we moved into the winery itself where Yuri spoke about the contrasts in flavour profile brought about by use of oak from different areas, with barrels from both Bordeaux and Burgundy on display, and of the treatment of the oak – a glass of cloudy, fermenting Chenin and another of Shiraz before we walked into the barrel room with all the various wines in storage – as well as the automatic riddling machine which has speeded up the process without any diminution in the quality of the sparkling produced.
On to the Nest – the trendy little wine bar attached to the winery and restaurant – outside on the balcony shaded by gum trees and with a picturesque panorama across the lawns and somewhat enlarged lakes to the vines. Here we were treated – and I use the word advisedly – to some excellent examples of the Nest small bites food menu and accompanied by a selection of the best of the wines.
Starting with splendid cheese from Cambray and Yallingup Farm with a spot of sparkling before three wine and food flights commenced.
Among the dishes enjoyed, Quail Scotch eggs sheltering in a bath of tomato and beans; succulent smoked salmon with smashed avocado; gorgeously tender Semolina crusted fried arrow squid with crisply fried Dorrigo garlic and citrus mayo; a wonderful Virgin Mary oyster shooter; Steak tartar with fried shallots; rabbit and mushroom pie with roasted fennel.
The hit of the day Confit Lamb Shoulder with a potato and fetta pie – the lamb simply melting in the mouth; and braised oxtail pie with baby carrots. All lovely expressions of food from the winery kitchen.
And of course, the wines – and here just some of them – NV Brut Rosé – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Pemberton – gentle blush and fragrant strawberry nose; 2016 Reserve Margaret River Chardonnay – grapefruit and peaches on the nose, citrus and buttery notes on the palate; 2016 Silk, a blend of Verdelho, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc from the Swan Valley – beautiful summer drinking with a vibrant bouquet and palate of apples, lemon, mangos and passionfruit.
2016 Swan Valley Tinta Rouge – another easy drinking blend this time of Shiraz, Grenache and Tempranillo – liquorice and plums and juicy fruit flavours; a brilliant 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River – a little Malbec and Petit Verdot to round it out, and the best wine of the Margaret River Show; and 2016 Avant-Garde Swan Valley Tempranillo – I really enjoyed this (brought some to go away with) – cherry and red plum aromas and a dusty sour cherry flavour profile.
This was a wonderful morning in the Valley – if only every Saturday could be like this – good company, excellent food and outstanding wines at one of the most scenic wineries going around. Thanks to Sittella for the invitation and the hospitality.
On the way out I bought half a dozen wines – and with the two bottles kindly presented to each of the bloggers – I will have a good sample to review and write up more detailed notes in coming weeks.
I have written before of the restaurant and the Nest – both must do destinations on the Swan Valley Wine and Food Trail –and the Harvest@Sittella has only reinforced my view. Get along and have a great time!