Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Margaret River Wine Tour

We'd booked a mini bus tour of Margaret River Wineries and a sparkling white limo turned up, complete with a charming driver called Dave. We knew we were in safe hands when he told us he was a Taekwondo instructor running his own school in his spare time. He took just the two of us to 6 wineries and a chocolate factory! It was $65 each, which works out at about £25 a head - for being chauffered about in our own limo, lunch and all you can drink in four hours. Good value I think!

We dived straight into the serious business of tasting at Happs Winery. You walk in, look around; in this instance their 3 Gold Medal wines were on prominant display and there was also a pottery to visit; but we get straight down to business, walk up to the counter, consult the tasting notes, and get stuck in. Its as easy as that, its all free as you can try as many as you like. Compare and contrast the different varieties on offer, the guys behind the counter are a mine of information and will gladly guide you through the process if you need assistance! Our mantra at Happs was to pace ourselves, it was the start of a long day, so we just stuck to their Gold Medal winners and very fine they were too! Purchases made we are whisked off to the next winery, and the next, and our mantra is soon forgotten in the spirit of discovery of Amberley Estate wines, Clairault Winery, Woody Nook, The Grove and so on and so forth.

To be honest the wines soon blur into a sea of deep crimson and it would be a bit pretensious to comment on the aromas, or nose, of spice and mountain herb, mint, eucalyptus, black olive, tar, liquorice, oh yes and not forgetting the Christmas Pudding we were urged to find! As to the taste our palates constantly needed refreshing (our favourite were bits of dried beef at Happs) to appreciate the complexities of flavours of soft but persistnet tannins and sweet fruit lifts! We loved every single one of them, some more than others it has to be said.

Lunch was somewhere about the 5th Winery followed by liqueur tasting at The Grove. You know it is a bit out of the ordinary as soon as you get there as it is guarded by 3 plastic crocodiles amongst the water lilies in the ornamental lake. Steve Hughes the proprietor of The Grove Vineyard provided the after lunch cabaret with his irreverant tasting patter. He was so droll he had us falling around laughing - and yes, we bought a liqueur, sense was right out of the window by this point!

Dave brought us right back to the door literally! It was a great day, a fun day, and a really rapid intro into Margaret River wines. We should do it again but concentrate on the white wines next perhaps!

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