I had heard rumours about a hole-in-the-wall Pinot Noir only cellar door in the Perth Hills (Bickley Valley to be exact) a couple of times since moving to Perth. It was during the annual Bickley Harvest Festival that I finally had the chance to visit the Pinot obsessed Ashley Estate. And boy was it an experience!
As soon as we turned into the driveway I knew it was going to be an experience and a half with a ‘sausage sizzle’ sign hanging below the ‘Bickley Valley Wine Trail’ sign and advertisements about car window washing. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself, plus who can resist a free number plate clean! The 5 young boys in charge were absolutely stoked to receive our $1!
There were two dark wooden doors beneath a big house into what looked like a basement. Beautiful greenery surrounded the doors and there was a little sign saying ‘Pinot Envy’ – I think we found it! As we entered the underground cave we were greeted warmly by a couple of lovely ladies who pointed us through to a little dark room with a bunch of people, a few stools, and a cherry older fellow, John Ashley the proprietor, with a line up of wine bottles open on a barrel.
We were waved in by John to find a place in amongst the thirsty Pinot lovers and given a glass. I don’t know how long we were in the cave for but everyone, including Mr. Spittoon and myself, were absolutely captivated listening to John’s stories. He carefully kept tabs on making sure everyone tasted through the entire range on offer.
The Pinots available to taste included the Ashley Estate 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Surrounding us, as we tasted, were walls of new vintage Pinot’s maturing for their debut over the coming years.
The Pinot’s are typically aged for 2-2.5 years prior to being released to their cult like following of Pinot connoisseurs.
We listened to various stories while we tasted the Pinots. The vineyard was established in 1988 and since the get go Ashley Estate have grown and produced exclusively Pinot Noir. The wine is made under contract, Darlington Estate were crafting the Pinot up until 2010 when MyattsField took over the reigns in 2011. Ashley has around 3000 Pinot vines to make enough wine to keep their patrons well lubricated.
At the time I was too much in awe of everything around me that I didn’t write tasting notes, however, I did buy a bottle of 2007 to take home – which must say something 🙂
Here is what I thought:
Ashley Estate 2007 Pinot Noir
I absolutely adored visiting the underground Pinot cave at Ashely Estate in the Bickley Valley, Perth Hills. It was such a unique tasting experience and really interesting to try a selection of different vintages of Pinot Noir in one hit. The 2007 was my pick on this particular day with its tawny red colour on the eye. It had a rich perfume of plums, cherries and black jelly beans. I could smell it for ever, truly intoxicating. On the palate it was juicy, lip licking good, fruity yet earthy and wonderfully silk from start to finish – see my post on Instagram here.
I would highly recommend visiting Ashley Estate on your next visit to the Perth Hills if you’re a Pinto lover!
Find out more about Ashley Estate Vineyard:
Address: 284 Aldersyde Rd, Bickley WA 6076
Phone: (08) 9257 2313
Opening times: 11am-5pm Saturdays, Sundays, most public holidays and by appointment
Wine Styles/Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir
Wine tasting cost: Free!
Food: You may be lucky and be able to grab a sausage sizzle, however, I think this is only for events like the Bickley Harvest Festival
Child-friendly: Lots of space outside for kids to play. No playground from what I could see.
For more ideas on your next day out in the Bickley Valley and Perth Hills check out my wine region guide here.