Taste the Great Southern

Last weekend saw Great Southern winemakers showcasing their wares at Petition Wine Bar and Merchant, as part of the State Makers Festival – nine wineries were on display in the atrium area which was the old mail hall in the centre of the brilliantly restored State Buildings.

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There were many wines on offer, more than we could try in the four hours of the pop-up wine market, but I did my best along with Daughter of FWO who also valiantly put her best foot and tasting glass forward.

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After a couple of hours we retired to the courtyard of Long Chim in the basement where Thai street food was being served up along with a lot of water splashed around celebrating Thai New Year.

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After being refreshed there we went back to the wine market and concluded our tasting – it was great event, and one I hope continues in the future.

Rather than list all the wines we tried, I have decided to talk about the Top 12 of those we had – that is not to say others were not equally as good, and indeed we didn’t get to try them all – but this dozen was certainly impressive.

So in no particular order, here they are.

Willoughby Park 2014 Ironrock Riesling – pale straw with an aromatic bouquet of citrus blossom and a hint of cashews; the palate is beautifully balanced with fine acidity, floral citrus notes, pithy lime zest and a sustained, elegant finish. Outstanding example of Great Southern Riesling.

Cherubino 2013 Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon – Crimson hue, lifted bouquet of blackberries, mulberries and lilting herbal notes. Silky tannins, well integrated oak, and flavours of blackcurrants, plums and dark chocolate. A beautiful wine.

Cherubino 2015 Porongurup Riesling – another fine wine from Larry Cherubino. Lime and lemon aromas abound; the palate exhibits intense and refreshing acidity, lime pith, lemon and some spicy notes lead to a lingering finish.

3Drops 2015 Riesling – one more example of the strength of Riesling from the Great Southern. Crushed lime leaf aromas, with underlying lemon blossom, while the palate is startlingly intense with flavours of lime juice supported by fine acidity.  Sustained and refined finish.

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La Violetta 2015 Das Sakrileg – aromatic nose, with a touch of Gewurztraminer adding crushed rose petal and spicy notes to the floral citrus bouquet. A rich and complex palate, with good acidity, lemon and mandarin flavours, and a long, satisfying finish.

Castle Rock 2014 Pinot Noir – there are some very good examples of Great Southern Pinot Noir showing up in recent years, and this is one of, if not the, best. Lifted aromas of black cherries, with a touch of raspberry, a hint of violets. The palate is generous, with concentrated fruit and spicy depth; supple tannins assist the elegant and stylish finish.

Castelli 2015 Riesling – yet another glorious Riesling. Fragrant with notes of citrus, spice and lemon zest, while the palate has concentrated acidity, lemon and lime flavours predominating, but with just a hint of tropical fruit; beautifully balanced and classy.

Swinney 2015 Tirra Lirra – an interesting blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. The latter two grapes provide some banana, pear and floral spicy notes on the nose, together with lemon blossom from the Riesling; the palate has excellent acidity, some distinct peppery notes, floral spices, but with underlying crunchy green apple flavours.

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La Violetta 2015 Nova Syrové – listed as a blend of ciras, cannonau, picotenro, rulandske modre and monastrell (or as they are better known in Australia, Shiraz, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir and Mourvedre) – aromatic nose of sour cherries, plums, spice and floral notes; medium bodied, full of juicy fruit, some astringent notes, and a glugable easy drinking style. Great current drinking.

Cherubino 2015 Laissez Faire Fiano – lifted bouquet of apples and pears, with a touch of lemon blossom, hazelnut and spice; the palate is full of zesty acid, flavours of pears, apples and stone fruit. A lovely wine.

Express Winemakers 2015 Riesling – lemon and nectar aromas, with a crisp palate redolent of grapefruit, lemon and lime. Fine acidity and a sustained and graceful finish.

Howard Park Jeté NV – creamy mousse, with a bouquet of brioche, green apples and orange rind; the smooth, refined palate has great texture, with some nutty characters, intense lemon flavours and has a fine and persistent bead.

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Well there they are – but I could have easily listed another twelve that were equally impressive – I am pleased to note, however, that each of the wineries had at least one in this top 12. They are indicative of the outstanding wines (particularly my favourite white – Riesling) being produced in the Great Southern, simply a brilliant wine region.

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