After a sturdy brekkie of scrambled eggs and toast, we shipped off to downtown Margaret River to blindly taste through a selection of Margaret River Chardonnays. Revelatory! The wines were grouped by vintage, so we were able to get a sense of the past four vintages; meanwhile we searched for the characteristics that typify the region.
After our epic blind #ChardyParty downtown, we dropped into to Vasse Felix for lunch with charming winemaker Virginia Willcock. The menu at Vasse Felix was a lesson in local delicacies not limited to wine.
Alongside some tasty chardonnay and exemplary cabernet sauvignon-based wines, we tried sweet, tender marron (a freshwater crustacean somewhere between crawdad and lobster), savory chunks of goat with celeriac and chicory. Chelsea really enjoyed her barramundi with pumpkin five ways.
Next stop was Pierro, where we took a brief tour with legendary winemaker Mike Peterkin. He was the first trained winemaker to work in Margaret River. We sampled chardonnay from Mike’s other project, Fire Gully, alongside Pierro and Mike’s son’s project, L.A.S. Vino. Margs is a family affair, so it would seem!
From Pierro we drove maniacally to get to the far southern reaches of Walcliffe, home of biodynamic winemakers Si Vintners. With no formal tasting room set up, we hung out with Iwo Jakimowicz in his winery, using a barrel for a platform to taste through an exciting lineup of wines, some of which featured unexpected combinations of grapes and methods of production (such as a particularly compelling rosé of sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon—together like never before!). We tried a barrel sample of the forthcoming 2014 vintage of chardonnay, destined for bottle soon. Very promising! Texturally interesting, even in its youth.
We wrapped up the evening dining with likes of Mat Lewis (TradeStart), Tony Fletcher (Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association), Mark Warren (Marq), Oliver Crawford (Vasse Felix), Julian Scott (Attollo and Flametree), all of whom graciously shared their wines with us over a hearty meal at popular local food haunt, The Common.
This story appears in the print issue of jan 2019.
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