Taste Great Southern, the yearly celebration of the wine and food of the region ended on the weekend with a couple of events centred on Albany, and I thought it opportune to talk about one of the Perth based events that occurred just last weekend.
As with 2016’s showcase of the wines of the Great Southern at Petition Wine, this year’s has proved to be one of my highlights to date.
In the imposing Postal Hall of the State Buildings and in a change from previous years, two sessions were held – each of 2 and a half hours – which had the effect of thinning the crowd out a little, allowing easier access to the stalls and opportunity to have a quick chat to the winemakers without unduly holding up others. This was a welcome innovation.
Once again the wines of the region were exciting and it was great to get the opportunity to taste the latest releases from some of the premier wineries. Methinks the best Rieslings you will ever try originate here and the rise of Pinot Noir as a Great Southern Region speciality was also very evident, along with the very special cool climate Shiraz produced. Of course Chardonnay and Rosé are also top quality, and some of the blends being knocked out are simply fantastic.
Jo Bradbury from 3Drops was there along with sample of her excellent wines – the Riesling and Rosé from 3Drops are always spectacular and their Pinot Noir exemplifies exactly why the region is growing in reputation as a top quality producer of this sometimes hard to get right wine.
Castelli, from Denmark produce top wines and I am particularly taken with their Empirica range – small batch wines of some style and difference; try them if you can. They also have a great restaurant if you are down that way.
Lake House, another Denmark based producer, displayed a range of their amazing wares – sold under the Vinofood label – as well as their wines – the quirkily labelled and named He Said She Said range one of my favourite value for money drops. As with Castelli, the restaurant at Lake House is the home of excellent food and has top views too.
It is always great to try the new releases from Rob Diletti at Castle Rock and once again they really impressed; I love the Riesling of course!
A couple of the new wave wineries – minimal interventionists and purveyors of some quirky but excellent blends were on hand as well. Andrew Hoadley, sans wizard hat – if you didn’t see the write up about him and his wines in a recent edition of Weekend West, seek it out – a great read – and his La Violetta range captivated – especially Das Sakrileg Riesling and the red blend Nova Syrové; as did those from Express Winemakers – Ryan O’Meara’s Rosé and Chenin are both outstanding.
Always good, too, to catch up with one of the Three Devils at Gilberts, and sample their excellent range.
Swinney’s Tirra Lirra range is one of the most notable from the region so we were keen to try those, and were very satisfied with the wines on offer on the day.
Iron Rock Riesling from Willoughby Park is a stunning wine and has proved so time and again, while the wines of Paul Nelson show his skill as a wine maker – the Arneis and Fumé Blanc we tried, particularly so.
The swarthy young man with killer looks attracted his usual circle of admirers, and after I fought my way through the female throng I was able to check out some top wines from Larry Cherubino – the Ad Hoc Avant Gardening Cabernet Sauvignon and Laissez Faire Fiano and Chardonnay among them.
Another couple of top notch Chardonnays we tried were those from Denmark’s Single File vineyard and Third Reef from Rockcliffe, also from Denmark and possessor of another very good restaurant.
Zarapthath from Porongurup and on the far side of Chester Pass Road continue to turn out excellent wines under the guiding hand of Rob Diletti, and we were impressed by both the Riesling and Rosé we tried – they, too, have a café for those who are looking out for good food in the region.
A couple of other stalls of note were that of Great Southern Truffles, with a range of truffle based goods, and Raw Earth Produce showcasing an interesting and unusual range of lupin products.
With a band playing, and plates of cheese and other goodies to keep the hunger pangs at bay, and of course the stunning wines, Taste Great Southern at Petition hit all the high notes of its predecessors. It should be a must do on your wine tasting calendar for next year, but what you really should do is take a trip to the Great Southern – base yourself somewhere like Albany, or Denmark, or Mt Barker or up in the Frankland and spend some time seeing the sights and enjoying the wine, food and hospitality of this fantastic part of WA.