4 Days in the Margaret River Valley

Our time in Perth was divided by a couple of mini vacations. Our trip south to the Margaret River Valley was by far the most adventurous culinarily speaking, as the region is noted for its world famous wines. We did however find time take a pause from wine tasting to visit some of the of the nature areas, like Castle Rock, Canal Rocks and the Valley of the Giants, which were spectacular!

When we stopped over in Singapore before arriving in Australia,  We met someone who owned a vineyard, while I didn’t get all of their details, they was very happy to offer me some of her favorite places in Margaret River. I didn’t get to visit all of them, but here is their list:
Lunch:
Flutes at Brookland Valley Winery, which Angel and I did do!
or
Tasting:
Xanadu, Done!
Fermoy Estates (Described as: small but good)
Brown Hill (Described as: small but good)
The amount of wineries are a bit overwhelming, I haven’t been wine tasting since 2001, when I stayed for a week in the Loire Valley in a small village Montoire, but at that time my mind and attitude wasn’t really focused on appreciating the nuances of the wine.
We started at Clairault, which was one of Ness and Grant’s recommendations. Because Ness’s brother-in-law is a distributer, we had been indulging in their wines for over a week before our arrival. Angel and I liked the riesling, which was dryer that the rieslings that you get from Bulgaria. I could smell the aromas of lime, talc and wet slate, which were appealing to me. They gave us a cheat sheet at the tasting, so I knew what to look for. My nose is not that developed. We ended up buying the Shiraz for a friend; the aroma was that of being in a kitchen preparing Christmas treats.
Next stop, we went to Vasse Felix, which was a gorgeous estate. There was one wine that I tasted that I regret not buying, the Heytesbury Chardonnay 2007. It was the best wine that I tasted the entire trip, but I could bring myself to spend $48 on a bottle of wine. I am contemplating trying to find it on-line and shipping to Bulgaria. My birthday is in February if you need a gift idea. (wink wink)
We also visited Xanadu. This was another lovely vineyard, not as fancy as Vasse Felix, but the wines was wonderful and I bought 2 bottles: 2008 Chardonnay, which I might cellar for a year or so and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I will cellar for 5 – 10 years. I have never actually cellared a wine before, but I think it is time to start a little collection.
We took a break from wine tasting, at my request and went the Margaret River Dairy Company. I fell in love with their Club Cheddar and still dream about it!
I am not really a big cheese and cracker person, I don’t like to fill up on snacks, I save myself for the big meal. However, I found myself sneaking to the fridge and cutting off a chunk between meals, when I woke up, before I went to bed. I would get nervous if people were eating more of the cheese than I was, especially if we were running low. It was sick. So, when we went for the cheese tasting I bought 5 cheeses to take back to Bulgaria. They were wrapped in wax and the lady said they should survive the 28 hour trip, if they were under the plane. The idiot that I am fretting about this cheese, forgot to actually put it in my suitcase. I was so bummed at the airport, but I guess that I left Ness and Grant with an extra surprise. Argh! I miss that cheese. Had I know I wouldn’t have been able to have another bite, I would have truly savored the last one.
With all our running around, we didn’t stop for lunch till after 3pm, so we missed the lunch service at the Duckstein Brewery. We were all really looking forward to some germanic cuisine and beer, but we had to order off the snack menu. The food was OK and it did the job. The real fun was the 5 beer sampler Pils, Hefeweiss, Dunkel, Alt Bier and the seasonal Festbier. The Festbier was by far the best, so Angel and I followed up our sampler with a large one.
The next day, Angel and I went out on our own. I was eager to visit Lamont’s because I had read about Kate Lamont’s new book Wine and Food in some Australian cooking magazines. I wanted to by it, but I didn’t know enough about her food to spend $55 bucks on it. That is why I wanted to visit her winery and sample some food, but as luck would have it it was closed.

So, Angel and I finished our Margaret River tour at Brookland Valley. We did a tasting and I bought the 2004 Cabernet Merlot. It was recommended to cellar for no more than another 5 years, now I have 3 bottles on hold. We also had lunch at Flutes, which I was excited about. We both ordered off the specials menu. I had:

Kimberly Barramundi, citrus baked fennel, asparagus with tomato and coriander salsa
Angel ordered the Seafood Taste Plate, which he was good enough to give me a taste of.

Oysters Kilpatrick (top left), Thai Fish Cakes and Wonton Tiger Prawns (Shrimp) salad with Nam Jim Barramundi (bottom left), Sweet Potato and Corn Fritter (center) Cuttlefish with Greek Salad (bottom right), Seared Scallops with Salsa Verde (top right)

Expresso Creme Bruleé (top), Japanese Biscuit Cake with Chocolate Nut Mousse (middle), Berry and Pistachio Crumble (bottom)

I can’t wait to head back to Margaret River Valley. It was one of the highlights of the trip!

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

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