The Albany Wine and Food Festival was the perfect way to spend a Saturday in April. The weather and backdrop were gorgeous, the people delightful and the wine and food were just AMAZING!
After seeing how much the Travelling Corkscrew loved the event back in 2017, I was excited to be heading along in 2019.
A big thank you to the team at Taste Great Southern for the ticket to the Albany Wine and Food Festival. I had a fabulous time reacquainting myself with this amazing part of the world!
Oh my, Albany was gorgeous, hitting 24 degrees and barely any wind. The sky was a vibrant blue with only a few white clouds in sight.
It stayed like this for pretty much the entire event, with maybe only the last hour where I was very happy to have worn a long sleeve shirt and jeans. I would recommend, when attending an event in Albany, to pack at least a light jumper or cardigan. Once the wind starts to pick up off the Southern Ocean, you’ll be happy you did.
I would love to rename The Albany Wine and Food Festival to the Happy Festival.
Synonymous with a country town (or city in the case of Albany) everyone knew one another or was more than happy to get to know you – that country hospitality was out on show, and I felt so welcomed to be in attendance.
My partner was unavailable to come on this trip with me, but that didn’t stop me from having a chat with winemakers and winery owners, chefs and the many people who took the time to enjoy a wine and a chin-wag while enjoying a wine or two.
I even had the chance to sway some people towards trying a Great Southern Riesling. They were under the impression that all Rieslings were sweet. Which back in the 80s and 90s, that’s all you could get. I even told them about the Riesling scale which you will find on the back of most Riesling bottles, which tell wine punters how sweet or dry that wine will be.
The Albany Wine and Food Festival is family friendly and kids were even treated to free face painting.
Below is a small selection of the Great Southern wines I sampled on the day or that were on offer at the Albany Wine and Food Festival.
Bunn 2014 Shiraz and the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. I have enjoyed their wines for quite some time now, especially their Shiraz which was available at a Fervor Dinner I recently attended.
It is always great catching up with the team from Castelli and it was the Chardonnay that had my attention. I have a bottle at home, which I am waiting to share with the Travelling Corkscrew!
The JMG range from Gilberts was created to pay tribute to founder, the late James (Jim) Matheson Gilbert.
… a wine for the moment. Full of flavour made to enjoy. Hints of peach, nectarine and citrus with a dash of French oak. Pour a glass and love life. A toast to Jim!”
The range also includes a Cabernet Shiraz which I enjoyed with lunch recently during Graze Mount Barker.
New owners Phil & Michelle recently bought the Montgomery’s Hill vineyard in Albany and have released their own wine label, Monty’s Leap.
For those looking to visit Albany from July 2019, you will be able to visit the cellar door, which is undergoing a significant renovation. The winery will include a tavern featuring local produce and premium local wines and beer.
I just loved chatting to the team at Monty’s leap and trying to guess why Monty may be leaping right off the bottle. Do you have any thoughts?
I spent quite a bit of time at the start of the festival introducing myself to Julie and Richard of Parish Lane Wines. Their winery is based just out of Albany and it was the bottle of sparkling that gained my attention! The Bubbles are described as
…an elegant Blanc de Blanc style Sparkling White from 100% estate grown Chardonnay. This beautiful bottle of bubbles has been on lees for seven years. Striking a harmonious balance between freshness and complexity. Perfect for any celebration.”
So I bought a bottle and I am looking forward to sharing with the Travelling Corkscrew when I see her next.
I also had a bit of fun talking to them about their cork extractor. Keep reading to view this amazing contraption.
I love popping by and saying hello to the team at Plantagenet. I first meet Sommelier / Sales and Marketing Manager, Alex Johnson this year while taking part in Graze Mount Barker. Alex is a great representative of the Mount Barker and the Great Southern and he even presented the Wine Seminars. Read on to find out more.
As the day was quite warm, I was opting more so for a tipple of white wine, and I was loving the Three Lions Riesling.
Paul and Gwen from Rising Star Wines were so much fun to chat with, especially hearing about their B’Rose; a rose for the bros, which Gwen is holding above.
I ended up walking away with a bottle of their sparkling, held by Paul and a promise to visit their vineyard in Denmark.
I first met Rosie at the Taste Great Southern Media launch at the Must Wine Bar in Mount Lawley and couldn’t wait to catch her in the Great Southern.
For me, it was the reds that blew me away and Rosie was kind enough to gift a bottle of the Pinot Noir, which I am holding onto until I see Casey. Fingers crossed she will be visiting the West Coast soon so she can provide you with a Travelling Corkscrew tasting note!
I also made sure to visit Rosie at Zarephath Winery and Cafe when I went for a drive through the Porongurups. Keep an eye on my post about my visit to this fantastic winery.
Representing the Frankland River region was Ferngrove Wines.
I really enjoyed their independence range of wine. This is their experimental wine series and is generally made in smaller batches. Available on the day was a Tempranillo and a Pinot Noir. Delish!
And after a tasting, if you really enjoyed their wine, you could buy a glass to enjoy!
In addition to meeting their sales staff at the Albany Wine and Food Show, I also had the pleasure of meeting the winemaker, Craig, at the Frankland River Cellar Door experience.
The Lake House Denmark VIP Lounge
A new addition to the Albany Wine and Food Festival was the “The Lake House Denmark VIP Lounge”.
Those who opted for this ticket were able to indulge a little more with an undercover area to protect from the sun and a garden and courtyard area with tables and seating for comfort.
Guests were able to enjoy complimentary wine from their private bar and gourmet BBQ in the afternoon.
Guests were able to explore the Albany Wine and Food Festival and enjoy their Great Southern wines in the larger premium Plumm tasting glass.
Alex from Plantagenet Wines was a great host for the two seminars that ran as a part of the Albany Wine and Food Festival.
Guests were presented with four wines to taste in each session, where Alex led the conversation about the region, the wineries and the wines.
The two sessions available on the day were:
- 1.30pm Diversity in White Wine – the world beyond Sauv Blanc…
- 4.00pm Cool Climate Shiraz – elegance and power are not mutually exclusive
I really enjoyed the Diversity in White Wine session, however, it would be great to see the later session moved forward a little earlier in the day.
Unique Wine Bits And Bobs
This was the unique contraption I mentioned when I visited the Parish Wines stall.
It is an easy way to remove the cork and I want one!
Rather than trying to use your hands to get a grip on the cork, the little indents push into the cork and naturally, like scissors, as you grab the handle, the teeth push in harder to get a good hold.
Twist and pull, and voila, your cork is out!
Next was this beautiful antique Italian corkscrew, held by Murray of Oranje Tractor Wine.
If you have a chance to visit the winery in Albany, you will have an opportunity to see all the bits and bobs that Murray has collected over the years and how he uses or repurposes these items.
Another cute piece from Oranje Tractor Wines was the use of this urn/trophy that has seen a new life as a wine chiller.
Now that’s a winner for me!
Oranje Tractor – Gourmet Traveller Wine Award Winners
It was so nice to see how proud Murray and Pam of Oranje Tractor were of there recent award from Gourmet Traveller.
They received their award for “Best Additional Experience” in the Great Southern.
Gourmet Traveller hasn’t advised what the additional experience was, but my guess, their wine flight experience, which is available to on Sundays.
Other award winners for the Great Southern Wine Region include:
- Duke’s Vineyard – Star Cellar Door
- West Cape Howe – Best Large Cellar Door
- Harewood Estate – Best Small Cellar Door
- Forest Hill/Pepper & Salt Restaurant – Cellar Door with Best Food
- Singlefile – Best Tasting Experience
- Chimes Spa Retreat – Our Favourite Places to Stay
- Karma Chalets – Our Favourite Places to Stay
You can read more about the awards and award winners from other wine regions around Australia on the Gourmet Traveller website.
Guests were treated to a few foodie celebs while at the Festival including Adam Liaw.
Local chefs included Liberte chef, Amy Hamilton and the region’s rising star Geoff Richardson from the BG’s Kitchen at Quality Apartments Banksia Gardens Albany.
I attended one session during the day which was dessert by Anna Gare.
Using Sparkling Wine from Rising Star, Anna and Gwen (Rising Star Wines) created a wonderful dessert to be shared amongst friends using local strawberries and a meringue on top!
I made sure to grab one as they were passed around and one was not nearly enough!
Lunch – Due South
There were plenty of options for lunch but I wanted to some punchy Chilli to match with some Great Southern Riesling.
And the team at Due South were providing the goods!
I opted with a plate of the Chilli Lamb Ribs and the Smoked Chill Tofu which just hit the spot.
Dessert – Drip Lock And Bred Co.
And even after feeling so very, very full after my lunch, I somehow managed to find some room for dessert!
I first came across Drip Lock at the Porongurups Wine Festival in March, where Bryce and I enjoyed their Creme Brulee doughnut, so when I saw they had one left, I just had to have it!
It may look just like any other normal doughnut but in front of you they:
- Add the creme to the centre
- Add some sugar on top
- Start the glazing process for a crispy and crunchy top
I would have loved to have enjoyed this with a glass of fortified, but it wasn’t until I had finished eating it that I was told Galafreys had a Tawney available. I will know to seek a fortified out earlier!
I also grabbed a raspberry and white chocolate croissant which I kept for the next day as my morning treat. I just loved the colour of these croissants and couldn’t help myself!
The Albany Wine And Food Festival
The Albany Wine and Food Festival is an annual event in April and is a part of Taste Great Southern, running over 11 days. 2019 saw over 30 events all over the Great Southern region.