In Keeping with this theme here’s a short piece on Harriet and Anthony’s trip to Margaret River last March, the wines they tried and the craic they had.
Anthony does a World Trip annually taking in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. I (Harriet) was lucky enough to join him for the NZ/OZ leg of the trip. As with all these trips you need some down time… we took a 2 day break from the wine-tasting marathon and swam with sharks (well I paddled!) in the surf spots (see above) around the points of Margaret River.
With me looking for some serious examples of processes in the vineyard and winery for my MW studies, both of us looking to meet our suppliers and try their new vintages and eagerly anticipating some serious shellfish; the enthusiasm from the Tindal camp was boundless!!
Wineries we visited included Wise wines, Moss Wood and Cullen. Our first evening we spent with David Hohnen (famed for setting up Cloudy Bay) of McHenry Hohnen. We had a fantastic tasting of his single vineyard chardonnays. An amazing array of ‘terroir’ driven styles illustrating enormously the effect the different soil types have on the wines.
Learning about the various processes and the David’s natural approach to winemaking was fascinating. Walking round the vineyard the next day, he filled us in on how he picks when the colour runs from the skin, the pips are crunchy and the leaves are turning yellow, rather than relying on analysis and equipment to determine harvest dates.
Later that morning we did a recce of the region and polled up at the gates of Moss Wood at our pre determined appointment time. Shown around by an intern who’d been there a matter of weeks, we were missing the constant flow of information we were used to with David. The wines however were magnificent. The Pinot Noir had such balance and poise, we both agreed it had been well worth the detour! You may ask why we don’t list these wines. Maybe we will one day, but not until the economic gloom has lifted more and we have the market to extend our premium Australian offerings.
Tummies rumbling, thirst up, we headed off to meet Dave and Bee for Lunch at biodynamic Cullen wines. If you’re ever in Margaret River, it’s definitely one of the spots to stop by. Everything is produced biodynamically, even the (rather expensive) honey which the Cellar Master Trevor pointed out is harvested purely from the Chardonnay vines. He trains the bees to pollinate certain varieties at a time, through putting the pollen of the desired one inside the hive and keeping it closed for a short period. Clever! I still have a pot at home – for special occasions – it’s very delicious and VERY gold plated!
Having hung out with the dudes (there was a surfing championship on), watched them catch some tubes, filled my note book and really appreciated the Aussie way of life (this was the final stop after a whistlestop tour of Hunter Valley, NZ, McLaren Vale/Barossa and Griffith) it was time to fly back to the family, books and the looming MW exams. We did however have time for one last lunch before going our separate ways. The father to explore the less known areas of Frankland River and deepest darkest Western Oz and me to Dublin Terminal 2. I think I could do a whole blog piece on the joy of oysters and managed to populate it with multiple snaps of us enjoying oysters around the world, but here is one picture of our final day here and lots of delicious oysters at the very smart restaurant the Leeuwin Estate winery has to offer.
I realise that we were on a buying/learning expedition, but somehow this blog seems to be full of pictures of meals! I could fill it full of technical info, but feel that the experience itself was so great, it’s that that should be transmitted here. Before you rush off to don your flip-flops and book your flight, remember; we have a little bit of Margaret River in Ireland and though more expensive than your average Chilean Merlot, it’s VERY VERY worth it!!Google+