What I consider the best small wine show in the State returned to the University Club in Crawley this weekend after a one year hiatus due to renovations. Once again the setting at the Club in the grounds of UWA and resulting ambience, the quality of the wines on display, the organization of the stalls, the lack of a swim through mentality that afflicts some other shows and the inclusion during the day of Master and Culinary Classes that are held in other rooms of the Club – you could attend a cheese and wine making class, a rosé appreciation, a celebration of 50 years of Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Art Series class and another run by Singlefile– these vary each year and attract a lot of attention. They also act to move groups of people off the main show floor at regular intervals which helps keep the flow of tasters to a comfortable level.
The show concentrates largely on WA wineries, but with a few booths offering samples from New Zealand, other States, and international wines. A dessert booth, samples from Bayswater’s Little Cheese Shop, and a South American BBQ on the Terrace rounded it all out– except for the Cellar door, where the wines to be sampled can be purchased at marked down prices. It is very well organised.
More than 40 wineries and booths offering about 240 wines across a wide range of varietals and price points ensured there was something for everyone in this essential event, if you are a wine lover.
Among the many highlights of the day was the opportunity to try the wines of Robert Oatley, recently opening a cellar door in Caves Road in the former Laurence premises – the Great Southern Signature Series Riesling, the Finisterre Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and the Finisterre Margaret River Chardonnay certainly impressed.
Joanne and John from 3Drops had their excellent Riesling, Rosé and Chardonnay, as well as others, on display, while fellow Great Southern producer, Castelli, exhibited a top class Sparkling Riesling and GSM blend which linger in the memory and taste buds.
Heydon Estate had a stunning botrytis Semillon, the Urn, for tasting, along with an absolutely brilliant Chardonnay, The Willow. All of their wines have a cricketing connection with others such as The Hallowed Turf and Chin Music attracting attention.
Mazza from Donnybrook specialise in Spanish and Portuguese varieties, and the Bastardo Rosé, Graciano, Tempranillo and Touriga stood out.
Pemberton’s Bellarmine, staffed by Steve the Sommelier, had a couple of Rieslings that caught the eye – one dry and one half dry, while the Batavia Merlot was a great example of the variety.
Perth Hill’s best winery, Myattsfield, had a fine range of their wines on offer – the Methode Champenoise of particular note, as well as a lovely Pinot Noir and Durif. And Josh and Emma on hand to talk you through them all.
Margaret River’s Woodlands offered a couple of stunners – Margaret Cabernet Merlot and a Cabernet Franc Merlot blend – the wines from Woodlands are absolute beauties.
Another of Margaret River’s top wineries, Fraser Gallop impressed with their Parterre Chardonnay and Misceo Red Blend, while Thompson Estate had a wonderful 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 Chardonnay, and owner Dr Peter Thompson there to give an insight into his winemaking philosophy.
Silverstream from Denmark always produce some top class wines and their Sparkling Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir stood out for me; and speaking of Pinot Noir it was good to see long time Pinot producer from Albany, Wignalls, attending.
As well as hosting Master Classes, Singlefile, Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate showed their wares on the main tasting floor – Art Series Riesling and Shiraz from the latter, Filius Cabernet Sauvignon and estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Vasse Felix, and the outstanding family Reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from Singlefile all made a great impression.
Villa Maria from New Zealand had an excellent range of Kiwi wines to sample, with Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir really making a statement.
And there were so many others, but to finish off a couple of Swan Valley makers – Sittella who along with a top class restaurant and wine bar turn out outstanding wines – Grand Vintage Sparkling, one of WA’s best, Reserve Chardonnay and gold medal winning Cabernet Sauvignon among the wines on display.
And finally Nielson Estate, with Jim Neilson entertaining as always, had a particularly good 2007 Verdelho demonstrating just how well these whites from the Valley age; and of course he had his simply luscious fortifieds –the Liqueur Muscat one of best value wines going around.
Too many wines, too little time….another fantastic event and looking forward to the next iteration already!