Recently the Travelling Corkscrew was invited out on an Up Close and Local Tour in the Bickley Valley. Naomi and her partner Bryce headed along on the tour. Below you’ll find out how their day went, it made me thirsty just reading it! A big thanks to Shannon & Paul for the invite and for what sounds like a great day out :)
Cider Wine and Whiskey Tour With Up Close and Local Tours
There is something a little special about the Perth Hills in Springtime.
There is a real buzz with locals and tourists alike flocking to view the change of season, as Instagram feeds start to fill up with images of the scenery and lure others with a sense of urgency as the orchards don’t stay flowering for too long.
But this also signals budburst, where we start to see new growth from the vines, set amongst a backdrop of rolling hills and the Australian bush.
Where is the Bickley Valley?
When I heard that I would be jumping onto a tour of Bickley Valley, I was pretty excited to be visiting the Perth Hills during Spring.
The last time I was out in the Perth Hills drinking wine, I was with the Travelling Corkscrew. We parked the car at The Packing Shed – Lawnbrook Estate and walked from there up to Plume Estate Vineyard, to taste their wines, before heading back for a glass of sparkling and cake at Lawnbrook Estate.
We called this our ‘active drinking’.
I was so excited that I would be heading out to the Bickley Valley again that I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was telling friends, family and work colleagues, where I was mostly greeted with ‘where is that?’. I was concerned. The Bickley Valley is in our very own backyard. But then it got me thinking. How many others are out there in Perth or around Australia who also don’t know where Bickley Valley is?
Bickley Valley is just over a 30-minute drive from the Perth CBD, set in the beautiful Perth Hills.
The Perth Hills wine region covers Chittering Valley in the north, the central Perth Hills, Bickley Valley and Serpentine Valley to the south. However, for this tour, I would be visiting the Bickley Valley which includes:
- Carmel, and
- Pickering Brook
The best part about visiting the Perth Hills in Spring is the glorious Perth weather! I had been watching the weather forecast all week in the lead-up, as the weather in Perth over the last few weeks had become almost unpredictable. So I’m sure you can imagine how happy I was to see that we were going to have a very fine day out in the Perth Hills, with a high of 19 degrees. Perfect Perth Spring weather!
Our first stop for the day was Core Cider. We arrived just after 10am and the grounds were very quiet. I found this to be quite uncharacteristic of my past experiences with Core Cider, but by the time we left, we could see that visitors were starting to roll on in. If you’re thinking of visiting Core Cider during Spring, ensure to either book well in advance or be prepared to get there super early.
Our first drinks for the day was a cider flight.
From left to right; Peace Core (sparkling pear, medium/sweet), Core Meltdown (sparkling apple, medium/dry), Ginger (ginger and apple, sweet), Pith’d (sparkling lemon, sweet and tart), Coregasm (berry and lime, sweet).
My hands-down favourite was the Ginger. It is pretty close to tasting like a ginger beer, while my partner’s favourites were the Core Meltdown and the Pith’d which he has picked as a firm Summer favourite.
A glass of the Coregasm looking out over the Core Cider Orchard.
After our tasters, we took some time out on the upper deck where we strolled through the store and bar area.
As you may have picked from my previous post about the Swan Valley, I do love a good pun or two.
I really loved the retail displays inside. This one is for their Scrumpy; Scorerumpy.
Core Cider is a large venue and caters for big groups. This is the lower level bar, which can become super busy on warmer days and once the food starts to flow out.
Our next stop for the day was La Fattoria, a third generation family run vineyard and orchard.
I was pretty stoked to be visiting La Fattoria after I had heard that they had won a Siver and Bronze at the 2018 Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night. I was keen to get into the cellar door! A full list of award winners is at the end of this post.
The entrance into the cellar door and restaurant. I really love the use of the iodized metal around the property.
To get into the restaurant and cellar door, you first walk through the packing shed.
As the sign reads “Welcome to La Fattoria Perth Hills (The Farm)…Our family of Sicilian and British heritage with 2 generations still living and working on our beautiful property…You are standing in our packing shed where we still pick and pack fruit by hand using an original Arlington grader… In 2016 we opened our home, La Fattoria, as a place to relax, unwind and reconnect with family and friends over an Italian inspired food and wine experience…Want to know more? Come inside and meet the family…Cheers, Eric and Lucy.”
Unfortunately when we arrived, it was out of season to buy their produce, however, it isn’t too far away, with the Perth Hills fruit season starting in November, expect early varieties of stonefruit including apricots and cherries.
We met Eric inside the restaurant and from there we were taken on a tour of the property where we learnt about the family heritage, including Eric’s dad who still works on the property – he was busy using the chainsaw while we were there.
The orchard at La Fattoria was established over 70 years ago when the Radice family purchased the property. Since that time they have grown citrus trees and vegetables, stone and pomme fruit.
Back in 2012, the orchard was downsized and Italian vine varieties were planted.
La Fattoria has approximately 6,000 vines producing 10 tonnes of fruit each year which are. The wines are made by award-winning local winemakers Josh and Rachel Davenport and the team at MyattsField Vineyards who are also based in the Perth Hills.
Their wines are produced solely from the property and are not blended with other varieties.
We finished up the tour in front of the restaurant and by this beautiful little picnic spot under the Jacaranda tree on the lawn overlooking the vines.
Next up was the wine tasting.
We went through the entire list, starting with the sparkling, moving onto the whites, finishing up on the reds and fortified wines.
La Fattoria is committed to producing stand-alone wines for each variety allowing guests to experience Italian wine varieties in their purest form. This does mean that they only have small quantities to share and in some instances, like the Sagrantino, you’re unable to taste the wine at the cellar, but it is still available for purchase.
The impressive wine fridge with wines to taste and buy.
The award-winning Fiano 2017, received a Bronze medal at the 2018 Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night.
My partner and I were also impressed and made sure to grab a bottle before leaving.
We didn’t get to try the award-winning bronze medal Nebbiolo 2016 from the 2018 Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night, but we did get to try the 2015.
We also really enjoyed the 2015 Sangiovese, grabbing a bottle before we left.
Rember that amazing little picnic spot I pointed out earlier? Well, no need to fret about remembering to bring a picnic blanket. La Fattoria have you sorted with blankets, picnic rugs and tables available inside and for those cooler days they even have a fire going inside.
We opted to pair out lunch with a glass of the bronze medal award-winning Fiano.
We were treated to two platters – this one included a selction of cured meats, cheese, quince, marinated artichokes and capsicum.
The second platter included a selection of cheese, nuts, olives and crackers. The quince paste didn’t last long with me around. Once I had finished ours I was asking the others on the table if I could share.
We were also treated to buckwheat pancakes with Parmesan Cheese. It was suggested to couple the pancakes with the rocket which had olive oil drizzled on it. These were a crowd favourite and I ate my fair share of them!
211 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook
Phone: 08 9293 7888
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Trattoria Thursday-Sunday 12pm-3pm
Cellar Door Thursday-Sunday 11am-5pm
Mercato (Fruit Loop) Thurs-Sun 11am-4.30pm
Our next stop for the day was Myattsfield.
I was pretty excited to be visiting Myattsfield as they had also just won a swag of awards at the recent Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night.
Before walking up the stairs, to the right-hand side, we were greeted by a very eclectic looking Cow.
Upon closer inspection, we learnt that the cow’s name was Daphne and she was a part of the City of Perth CowParade of 2016.
Daphne was created by Sally Stewart, an artist passionate about the sentimentality associated with kitsch and the ways people collect objects and experiences.
Daphne is a sassy, daring and flamboyant Cow whose fabulous imagination takes her on travels in which the fluid boundaries of aspiration, memory and fantasty create her kitsch world.
It was great to see how proud Myattsfield were of their most recent wins at the Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night, which were on display near where we were tasting the wines.
The list of awards collected by Myattsfield.
The wines lined up and ready for tasting!
I love Chardonnay and from my recent trip to Pemberton, I have found that I really enjoy a glass of cool climate Chardonnay and the Chardonnay at Myattsfield was from grapes grown in Manjimup. So I couldn’t leave without grabbing a bottle.
We also picked up a bottle of the Rose, which won a Silver medal and Rose of the Show at the 2018 Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night.
Next up were the reds; the Merlot, the Shiraz, Mourvedre and Viognier, the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and the Cabernet Shiraz.
The last of the tasting were the Durif, which I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have visited Myattsfield and not bought a bottle, and this tour didn’t change that at all.
We also purchased a bottle of the Nancy Myatt which won a gold medal at the 2018 Perth Hills Wine Awards and Gala Night.
The view from teh cellar door looking out over the vines and the entrance into Myattsfield.
My partner was pretty impressed by the sheer size of this bottle of Joseph Myatt Reserve.
I love matching cheese with wine, but quite often I find it can be a little hit and miss because I’m not sure what will work or I just fall back on what I bought last time.
The Cheese Pairing guide is a great way to buy a bottle of wine at Myattsfield and to match it to some cheese, then take some time out on the verandah overlooking the vines.
Once we finished the wine tasting we jumped back onto the bus and headed back into Perth City.
It was a fabulous day out in the Perth Hills, but I was excited about where we were going next.
Our final stop for the day was Whipper Snapper in East Perth – Perth’s and Australia’s first urban distillery producing a unique Australian Whiskey.
Whipper Snapper is open daily, offering tastings and Whiskey cocktails, coffee and tours of the facility.
Whipper Snapper has beautiful beginnings. Vic, while a pilot in WWII, met an American who shared his recipe for American Whiskey. Returning to his home to Scarborough Vic continued to make this moonshine in his back shed.
Vic’s neighbour, Al, who helped write his memoirs, also shared an interest in and love for Whiskey. Vic passed his recipe onto Al and his friend Jimmy. I strongly recommend that you continue reading about their journey.
We were treated to a tour of the distillery. I loved this map showing where they sourced their grains, a truly unique West Australian product with corn trucked down from Kununurra and wheat, barley and quinoa trucked from Narrogin.
Our awesome distillery tour guide striking a pose.
We were lucky enough to be on the tour with Up Close and Local Tours, as we were at Whipper Snapper on the day of the Upshot launch and it tasted good! You can read more about Upshot over at Down by 12th.
While at Whipper Snapper, you can have a tipple or two of their Whiskeys or try one of their Whiskey cocktails.
139 Kensington St. East Perth
Phone: 08 9221 2293
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Whiskey Tours: 7days (bookings essential)
Tasting Room: Monday – Friday 7am-5pm, Saturday 8am-4pm and Sunday 11am-4pm
Up Close and Local Tours
Our tour with Up Close and Local Tours ended at Whipper Snapper, and we were dropped off at the Bell Tower in Elizabeth Quay, a central location to Perth City, close to the Elizabeth Quay Train Station or to kick on afterward with plenty of drink and food options available close by.
The 2018 Perth Hills Wine Show – Awards List