Last weekend I went to the Gourmet Escape down in Margaret River. It is such a fantastic event and it gets better and better every year. I think there was over 50 wines, 15 restaurants and I counted 8 craft breweries but I’m sure there were more!
There were definitely more beer stalls this year and this time, they were separated from each other out on the lawn as opposed to being in a few big beer tents. This way they acted more as a bar and with more space between them and being outside, it was a better choice. There were masterclasses not only on beer and wine but also on making sandwiches! I went to a ‘Lurpak Go Freestyle’ masterclass where we learnt all about butter and had a try at making a great sandwich with a limit on the number of ingredients – all were delicious and some I wouldn’t have thought of adding to a sandwich! Then the winner was chosen who happened to be my friend. Always a laugh!
There was also a wine lounge and brewhouse masterclass. There was lots more seating this year but there was still a bit of a line for same toilets and queue for the water tank.
I was able to taste wines at so many stands and it wasn’t crowded, blessing! I avoided too many reds as it was just so hot. Sweat did not pouring down my back all day!
I went to see Dan Pannell of Picardy and try through some of his whites; I had tasted through his range at the Unwined event in Subi at the start of November. Kate, Clive and Phil from Fraser Gallop were at the stand with some great new labels and wonderful discounts on the day. The guys from Feral had a range of their beers on tap to buy. I was able to try two small tasting samples from Steve before I bought a midi.
I also took the opportunity to try some wines I hadn’t tried before; Kerfuffle Wine and met Ben McDonald and Sasha Foley. Refreshing rosé. Their vineyard started life as a family farm in the 1940s and in 1997 they started planting vines.
I then headed over to speak with Joanna Bradbury, finalist in the Owner/Operator of the Year Category in the Women in Wine Awards 2015 and owner of 3 Drops in Great Southern who took us through her range. It was here that I learnt about a great event coming up in Perth; Raising Riesling wine tasting on Sunday 6th December 4-7 at Royal Perth Yacht Club featuring 3drops, Abbey Creek, Castle Rock, Larry Cherubino, Singlefile plus many more! Go to www.trybooking.com/JJVL for details and to book.
It was great to see the husband and wife team behind Marq Wines and Domaine Naturaliste at Gourmet Escape. I found the wines at both vineyards refreshing with some complexity and deliver at the price point. Bruce of Domaine Naturaliste had a lovely Chardonnay for us all to try
The Rieslings from Castle Rock Estate were lovely. Winemaker Rob Diletti was on hand to answer any questions.
Then I went off and tasted wines from House of Cards, Vasse Felix, had a gin and tonic from West Winds Gin and went to a Chardonnay masterclass at Bar Felix with winemaker Mick Langridge. It was good to see him again and go through the Chardonnays. Keeping on the themes of Chardonnay, I went to Silkwood who had a good little corner at the back of the estate backing onto the vines. Their whites were refreshing with lovely balance of fruit and aciditiy.
Tasting brings on hunger! So I headed off for food from Swings Taphouse & Kitchen Varnish on King & Flour Factor. The gems are great value at $7. Most meals were $7 with very few at $14.
So many stands were there and I tried to go to as many as possible including Bootleg, Gabriel Chocolate, Bahen & Co, Clairault and Colonial Brewing Company. Having dined during the day, I still decided to have ribs at the Settlers Tavern in Margs where I joined a group of friends bidding farewell to a friend leaving Perth. The ribs were delicious!
The following day, after a surf in Margaret River, we dropped into Whicher Ridge which was on the way home to Perth by going east from Cowaramup and we ended up avoiding Busselton. At the winery, winemaker Cathy Howard took us through their range. We also were able to meet Whicher Ridge’s other winemaker, Neil Howard which was great. I love listening to winemakers describe their wines.
Such a fabulous way to end the weekend!