Wine Show by the Bay

For the past six or so years what I think is the best small wine show in the State has been held at the University Club in Crawley. The setting at the Club in the grounds of UWA and resulting ambience helps, as does the quality of the wines on display, the setup, 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 matching class, a champagne appreciation, how to set up your own boutique winery, a pinot appreciation, how to make sushi – 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.

I went along last Saturday and, once again, was very impressed by the organization of the show and especially the quality of the wines on display.

The show concentrates largely on WA wineries, but with a few booths offering samples from New Zealand, other States, and one each with French and South African wines on display. Olive oil and cheese booths round it out – except for the Cellar door, where the wines to be sampled can be purchased at marked down prices. It is a very well organised event.

Thirty four wine booths offering about 240 wines across a wide range of varietals and price points meant it was not possible for me to try them all – I did my best – but there were some outstanding wines to be had.

Among those that particularly stood out, for me, were:


2014 Semillon – straw coloured, lemon aromas with some nutty hints; lingering acid, zesty citrus notes, long, satisfying finish. (94)

Castelli Estate

2014 Riesling – floral nose with elements of spice; an intense lime and citrus centred palate. A great example of the wines being produced in the Great Southern; as well as drinking beautifully now, it should age well over the next 6 to 7 years. (94)


2014 Empirica Fumé Blanc – one of the Empirica range of experimental bottlings, the bouquet shows lifted tropical fruit, and an underlying herbaceous note.


The oak treatment adds a little smokiness and good tannin, which indicates it should age well in the short term at least. (91)

Forest Hill

2014 Estate Riesling – floral and lemon-blossom bouquet, leading to lemon zest characters on the palate and to a fresh, crisp finish. As with most Great Southern Rieslings this wine will repay cellaring. (94)


2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – deep red with aromas of plum and black berry. Good use of oak and dusty tannins provide good support to the black plum flavours; it should age well over the medium term (93).

Knee Deep

2011 Kelsea’s Cabernet Sauvignon – bright, light red; highly perfumed bouquet, plums, violets and tobacco; silky smooth tannins support this elegant, medium bodied expression of Margaret River cabernet. (93)


Laurance Wines

2014 Rosé – clear, bright, pink; made from Grenache; aromas of strawberries and cherries; good acid, crisp dry palate with flavours of cherries and rhubarb; this is an excellent rosé somewhat in the Provence style. (92)


2011 Icon Cabernet Sauvignon – very aromatic with dark berry and plum aromas, and hints of licorice and violets. The palate is velvety smooth, ripe fruit, excellent use of oak, and has a long, sustained finish. This is an outstanding wine which should cellar well over the next 10-15 years. (96)


2011 Cabernet Merlot 94 – aromas of plum, blackcurrant and mulberry; hints of tobacco; rich palate of ripe fruit, fine grained tannins and a smooth, soft finish. (92)

Millbrook/Deep Woods

2013 Millbrook Estate Viognier – pale straw-green, with aromas of apricot and peaches. The palate is full of stone fruit flavours and an underlying hint of ginger giving a spicy edge; a very good example of this variety which sometimes tends to be too oily and overtly fruity. (94)

2011 Deep Woods Estate Cabernet Merlot – redcurrant and cassis bouquet, with very pronounced tannins, plums, black cherry flavours shine through. (92)


2012 Methode Champenoise – light straw in colour, with lifted lemon notes and yeasty notes on the nose; it has excellent acid, citrus and crunchy green apple elements on the palate, finishing very dry with a long, consistent mousse. (93)

2014 Chardonnay – light golden, nectarine and peach aromas; the palate exhibits grapefruit and lemon flavours, some nutty elements, and finishes smooth, crisp and dry. It should develop well over the next few years. (93)

2011 Mourvèdre – a very perfumed nose, with blackberry aromas predominant, but also hints of violets, pepper and thyme. On the palate it is medium to full bodied, dusty black fruit flavours with some almost meaty notes on the mid palate. Quite strong tannins lead to a long finish. A good food wine, it will reward cellaring for 5 to 7 years at least. (94)


2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Merlot – blackberry, raspberry aromas, with hints of violets and sour cherry; on the palate plum and mulberry flavours shine through; smooth tannins lead to a sustained and satisfying finish. It should develop well over the medium term (95)

2013 Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier – the nose picks up the spicy notes of the Mourvèdre and Shiraz, but is supported by the aromatic aromas of Viognier – apricot, honey suckle. The palate is softer than the straight varietal, and while it has hints of the herbal, meaty notes from the Mourvèdre, it has much more pronounced fruit flavours, plums and blackberry, with a hint of liquorice and pepper. A lovely easy drinking style. (93)


2013 Chardonnay – golden coloured, aromas of peaches and nectarines; creamy palate supporting citrus and cashews. Well integrated acid; excellent example of Margaret River chardonnay (93).

2013 Shiraz – intense bouquet of blackberry, white pepper and olive; palate full of plums and blackberries; savoury tannins and lifted vanilla oak characters (92).

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – ruby colour; fragrant nose of blackberry, plums and hints of chocolate and mint. The palate is a rich combination of blackberry and dark plums, well integrated oak, silky tannins with a persistent finish. (93)

2012 Ullinger Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – deep red, plums and cassis on the nose, with hints of mint; full bodied palate redolent of plums, chocolate and vanilla. Should age well over 7-10 years (95)


2014 Riesling – straw green, pronounced lime and green apple aromas, with some floral notes. The palate is full of crisp green apple flavours underpinned by citrus notes and leads to a lovely dry finish. (93)


2014 Tirra Lirra – a blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer, this is very aromatic, the latter two grapes provide some banana, pear and floral spicy notes on the nose, together with apple tones from the Riesling; the palate has excellent acidity, some distinct peppery notes, floral spices, but with underlying crunchy green apple flavours. This is another good food wine; it is probably best suited to current drinking (95).

The Alchemists

2014 Rose – bright pink, this wine has strawberry and cream notes on the nose, with a long, dry finish enhanced by raspberry flavours. (90)


2014 Riesling – bright and pale, with an intense lime juice and floral bouquet. Good acid supports lifted citrus flavours and it finishes long and crisp. (94)


2014 Pinot Noir – light red, strawberry and dark berry aromas while the palate shows lifted fruit characters, a hint of the classic Pinot gaminess and a silky mouthfeel from the fine tannins. (92)

Thompson Estate

2013 Chardonnay – pale straw in colour, stone fruit aromas with notes of lemon. The palate is creamy, with toasty oak characteristics, and has an abundance of fruit flavours, carrying to a long finish. A very good Margaret River chardonnay. (95)

2014 Four Chambers Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – aromas of stone fruit, passionfruit and gooseberry. On the palate the Semillon balances the luscious fruit of the Sauvignon Blanc, giving a fine citrus edge with good acid further balancing the wine. (91)


2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – bright red in colour, with plum elements on the nose, with hints of violets and tobacco. The palate lives up to the nose, with red berry flavours abounding, background notes of mint and eucalypt, and fine tannins, contributing to a silky, elegant finish. (96)

2012 Andrea Reserve – cabernet merlot blend, with a rich crimson colour and excellent clarity. On the nose are elements of blackcurrant, raspberry with background notes of violets and mint. The palate is rich, well balanced, with some spicy elements on the mid palate. It has good tannins, with a long satisfying finish. (93)

Vasse Felix

2013 Heytesbury Chardonnay – golden colour, this presents aromas of toasted oak, cashews, peaches and nectarines. The palate is buttery, smooth, with stone fruit, quince and citrus flavours abounding. This is a wonderful chardonnay. (97)

2012 Heytesbury Cabernet Sauvignon – deep red, blackcurrant and olive aromas, with hints of tobacco and violets. The elegant palate exhibits dark plum and chocolate flavours, is well balanced, with smooth tannins and a long finish. This will age well over the long term. (97)

Voyager Estate

2010 Cabernet Merlot – beautifully perfumed, black fruits, hints of violets, with an elegant, refined palate; smooth tannins, well integrated oak. (96)


2013 Pinot Noir – sour cherry and red berry aromas, this wine has chewy, astringent tannins, with an earthy fruit flavours on the palate; well balanced, long finish. (93)

Woodlands Estate

2012 Margaret – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Dark red in hue, aromas of blackberry and violets, with some spicy notes, and hints of toasty oak. The complex palate is full bodied with red berry and plum flavours predominating. The silky tannins support it to a long finish. (96)



2014 Riesling – brilliant straw in colour, intense lime and spice notes on the nose with a medium dry palate and zesty citrus flavours. (94)

2014 Figtree Riesling – floral and blossom notes on the nose, with apple and lemon flavours, mineral and spice elements on the palate; good acid, long satisfying finish. (95)


Somehow I managed to miss out trying wines from Heydon Estate and Grace Farm but others that caught my eye (and palate) were:

Wine Rating
Ashbrook 2014 Verdelho 92
Ashbrook Reserve 2010 Cabernet 95
Castelli 2012 Empirica Tempranillo 90
Castelli 2012 Empirica Uvaggio GMS 93
Castelli 2014 Emperica Viognier 91
Castelli 2014 Emperica Iced Viognier 93
Forest Hill 2014 Gewurztraminer 90
Greedy Sheep 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 91
Laurance 2012 Merlot 90
Millbrook 2013 Tempranillo 93
Myattsfield 2012 Verdelho 93
Neilson Estate Liqueur Muscat 90
Swinney 2013 Tirra Lirra (red blend) 94
Thompson Estate Four Chambers 2012 Shiraz 92
3Drops 2012 Cabernets 93
Vasse Felix 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 96
Voyager 2012 Shiraz 95
Woodlands 2012 Emily Cabernet blend 95

The FWO’s wine rating system can be found at this link


    • The FWO says

      True enough, our daughter selflessly took her mother’s place to allow Lady FWO the freedom to work on Saturday.

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