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Discover Australian wines in May

MAY IS an official a reason to enjoy more wine with Aussie Wine Month 2016, the biggest annual celebration of Australian wines.

With a range of wine-focused activities and events in full swing across the nation to support the month-long promotion of Australian wine, Aussie Wine Month aims to raise awareness among consumers of the exceptional quality and diversity of the wines made in their own backyard.

Now in its fifth year, this initiative driven by Wine Australia is encouraging consumers to discover something new about Australian Wine throughout May.

Some of the Margaret River region’s best known wineries will be celebrating with a calendar of engaging events designed to take visitors on an extra special wine journey.

Leeuwin Immersion Experience — A relaxed and informative introduction to the Estate. Be treated to morning tea, inclusive of coffee or tea and freshly baked scones in the alfresco verandah setting. Your tour host will provide an overview of the history of the Margaret River Wine Region and Leeuwin Estate. Following that you will be escorted on a behind the scenes tour of the wine-making process, incorporating a visit to the onsite Art Gallery. The Estate’s famous Wine and Food flight awaits you at the conclusion of the tour as your host guides you through five wine and food matches, perfectly created from the seasonal menu. Learn more.

Ultimate Cabernet Tasting at Voyager Estate —  Cabernet lovers, rejoice! This is your opportunity to taste some extremely limited, and rarely opened, Cabernets. Take in a Cabernet masterclass including a 10-year vertical tasting before joining the team for a Cabernet-focused tour of the Estate including barrel tastings and a sneak peak at some new and unreleased wines. Finish the day in relaxed style with a Discovery lunch; a six-course sensory dining experience matched with museum and limited release wines. Learn more.

Meet the makers at Happs Wines — Meet the people behind some of Margaret River’s best local produce. Join Mark Warren, Happs Winemaker of 14 vintages and Alana Langworthy, Artisanal Cheese maker at the Yallingup Cheese Company for a relaxed wine and cheese pairing at the Happs Estate. The event includes an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the winery, followed by a seated wine and cheese tasting journey in the beautiful Happs gardens and a picnic lunch. Learn more.

Wine Sensory Garden at Whicher Ridge — For the month of May, the team at Whicher Ridge will be providing visitors with a guided tour of their unique Wine Sensory Garden. The garden is laid out in a formal kitchen garden style with sections around the Garden devoted to a specific varietal wine made in the winery. It is a totally different wine tasting and food matching experience to anything else that you may have experienced. Learn more.

A taste of history at Willespie Wines —  Join Willespie patriarch and winemaker Kevin along with eldest daughter Trish, in a rare & delicious experience. Savour a range of aged wines from several decades, including fascinating verticals, hear the history & relish specially selected food bites, whilst you relax in the ambiance and rustic authenticity of a working cellar… the closely guarded inner sanctum! Learn more.

Firetail Wines, Gold Medal Firetail Cabernet Sauvignon Vertical Tasting — Enjoy a vertical tasting of award winning Firetail Cabernet Sauvignon vintages including: 2011, winner of Gold at Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2012, winner of Best WA Red Wine at WA Boutique Wine Show, 2014, winner of Gold at Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and 2013, 93 points from Ray Jordan. Learn more.

Follow ‘Vintage to Vintage’ at margaretriver.com — The story of the Margaret River Wine Region will continue to unfold at margaretriver.com with ‘Vintage to Vintage’, a year-long journey telling the story of the wine region like never before. Interviews and stories coming up in Aussie Wine Month will feature:

– Virginia Willcock, Winemaker, Vasse Felix
– Claire Tonon, Sommelier, Voyager
– Rob & Karen Gough, Publicans, Settlers Tavern
– ‘The end of vintage’ – a time to breathe, take a look back and at what’s happening now
– ‘The Viticulturist’ – the unsung hero of the wine story

 

Photo: HAPPS WINES

Mead’s the buzz at Margaret River

blackwood meaderyFriar Tuck was on to a good thing and he knew it. Overindulgent perhaps but the taste of his favourite beverage, mead, is one I could easily get used to.

While driving though the Margaret River region of Western Australia, hubby and I were faced with the difficult task of choosing which of the 100 or so wineries we would visit. Decisions, decisions!

Around almost every corner another winery beckoned but we couldn’t visit them all. The long list of unfamiliar names on a tourist brochure offered no clues as to the best; however one name, being a meadery rather than winery, stood out from the rest.

“What’s a meadery?” I asked. Hubby was more informed. He recalled a black and white television series from the mid-1960s called Robin Hood, in which a good friar indulged heavily in the honey wine. Not a bad pick up for a lad of about 10 years of age.

Blackwood Meadery, located in Karridale 25km south of Margaret River, was modest in size compared to surrounding wineries but very welcoming with sweet aromas drifting from the gardens.

For just $2 each we could taste a variety of dry to sweet meads, as the host filled in the blank details on the beverage.

Mead is wine made from honey rather than grapes and can be traced back at least 5000 years to Nordic legends. During these times the bee was held in high regard as honey was considered the giver of life, courage, strength and wisdom.

One legend claims that mead was the reason behind the word “honeymoon”. Supposedly, a Northern European tradition says a bride and groom were to drink mead every day for one month after their wedding, which was intended to increase virility and fertility.

Moving on to Hamelin Bay Wines and Briarose Estate we found a convenient way to stock the wine racks at home with Margaret River wines and meads was to buy cartons of 12 bottles, which were usually discounted and free of freight charges for bulk purchases.

For extra variety, we could also buy one bottle at each of 12 different wineries and ask the final winery of our choice to freight the carton home to Maryborough, Qld … where a bottle of 2005 Blackwood Mead is waiting to be opened on Christmas Day.
Margaret River blog collage

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