An hour flight south of Perth is the Great Southern – as soon as I stepped off the plane it was noticeably cooler and greener, a complete contrast to Barossa.
Now I truly believe this region will become as big as Margaret River for wines, and in fact we were told that China has already cottoned on to this fact!
Plantagenet is probably the most well known winery in the area – and we were lucky enough to taste their range with Kath Oates the winemaker. It was exciting to hear about her thoughts on the 2013 vintage as the last of the grapes were just being brought in. I was really impressed with their 2012 Riesling and 2007 Pinot Noir. The Riesling was a slightly riper style than those from Clare Valley, but still had that typical Limey, citrus fruit flavours, with notes of apple blossom and a backbone of chalky minerality. The Pinot Noir had a beautiful nose of juicy ripe cherries, quite a rich style on the palate but with a lovely fresh finish.
Kath Oates Winemaker at Plantagenet
Tasting at Alkoomi based in Frankland was also a highlight – and it was interesting to taste their range at different price levels. Still family owned with fruit mainly from the Estate. My favourites were 2011 Chardonnay which was a nice ripe style, with a juicy palate and their 2012 Riesling which was a really approachable style for those needing an introduction to this wonderful grape variety.
Over lunch the family were so kind to open a bottle of 1980 Riesling that had been hand screw capped – it was unbelievable it had toasty notes and wax with a slight spritz and still beautifully fresh.
1980 Alkoomi Riesling
Harewood Estate also had some memorable wines. The treat for me here was to taste 3 different Riesling’s from three sub regions of The Great Southern, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongorup. Each quite unique in style but the winner for me was the Frankland River which was a slighty riper style with some honeyed notes. Their Estate Chardonnay represented to me how Australia has come full circle and is now producing Chardonnay with balance, subtle oak and great freshness. This was also noticeable in their Shiraz which was a more feminine style perfumed, sophisticated and fresh. On tasting their 2004 Cab/Merlot it was clear to me that these wines could age really well too.
Our trip down here ended on a high, at Willoughby Wines. We got to see the last of the 2013 harvest being brought in, and had a fascinating tour of the winery.
Last of the Cabernet coming in
Hands on winemaking