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Western Australia - Wineries to visit?

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I'm visiting Western Australia for 2 weeks and would like to have recommendations for visiting wineries there and also local wines to pick up in stores. I'll be staying 45 minutes south of Perth and will be taking a trip down to the Magaret River area to stop in some wineries, other foodie places and do some hiking. There are a many, many wineries in WA and I'd like to narrow things down a bit before I go.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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    1. re: zin1953

      Check out Michael Apstein's review in the Boston Globe from last year: http://www.winereviewonline.com/MA_WA..., and Elin McCoy's Bloomberg story from earlier this year: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi...

      Rusty

    2. Thanks zin1953 and prrusty!

      1. I don't know if they have Western Australia or not - but I was just on foodietours.com and I know they have some day winery tours in Australia. I'm afraid my knowledge of Australia geography isn't vast. Hope this helps.

        1. I don't really know much about Australian geography. There are a couple of wines from the region that I have tried and liked enough to cellar. Chambers Rutherglen Tokay and Bueller were great and have good qpr. I usually prefer late harvest Australian wines, I haven't had much else that I liked personally.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Paul Weller

            Paul,
            take a look at this
            http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=d&am...

            as you can see, you are only 2,263 miles off!!!

            1. re: kmh

              Yeah, I sort of figured that out after I posted. But, if you get over to that side of the country, that's what I would want to visit.

          2. Go to Cullen Estates. Taste and have lunch.

            1. Reporting back...we stopped at 6 different wineries over the weekend; Cape Mentelle, Voyager, Leeuwin, Willespie, Moss Brothers and Wise Wines. We liked the smaller, less commercial wineries best for tasting. The staff at the smaller wineries seemed to be more relaxed and better to talk with about the wines. At Voyager and Leeuwin, they seemed to just repeat the same thing over and over to each taster and might as well have been automated. The grounds, rose garden and buildings were beautiful at Voyager and worth the visit. The wine highlight was Moss Brothers. They have a delicious pinot noir (Jane Moss 2005) and a Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc (Wilyabrup 2003). Both wines were aged in French oak and were complex. The pinot noir grapes were grafted on chardonnay vines due to the difficulty of growing pinot noir in the Margaret River climate. I gathered that it is not common to grow pinot in the area. We also had a very nice 2005 Shiraz at Cape Mentelle.

              Food highlight was lunch at Wise Wines with a gorgeous view of the valley going down to the ocean from the outdoor deck. Had a delicious Wise Produce platter consisting of a citrus-marinated octopus salad, a rich quiche with bacon, slices of spicy venison sausage with lime and gremolata, marinated artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes, spicy calamari salad, and braised duck legs. Each item was very well prepared, delicious, though a bit too much olive oil was drizzled in the salad items.

              We had a good, but not great dinner at Vat 107 in the town of Margaret River. The appetizer of seared scallop served atop duck confit was an interesting combination and surprisingly good. For entrees we tried the fried duck breast with black rice and thai-inspired salad was good, though on the salty side, and the pancetta-wrapped pork loin with pear strata and parsley butter. The pork was slightly overcooked though not dry. The pear strata had thin slices of pear and potato which complemented the pork nicely. We were not happy with a shared dessert of the pistascio and fig baklava with mandarin orange sorbet and mint yogurt. The baklava was more like a crispy tube of filo filled with a very sweet fig paste with a few bits of pistascio than a true, layered baklava. The mandarin orange sorbet was much too sweet and the mint yogurt was thick but not sweet at all. A very strange combo.

              Next time we will try to hit Vasse Felix and Cullen. Thanks to all for your recommendations.