It was my birthday. I was starving. And we had just drove 7km down a dirt track to find a winery & cafe until we got to a tree that had fallen across the road. Dead end. Ahhhh!
I admit it, I suffer from hangriness (hungry-angry), poor Mr. Spittoon. After driving for at least 3.5 hours from Perth en route to Denmark, we thought Mt Barker would be a great choice for a late lunch. I should have done my research.
Thankfully the lovely people at @gtsouthernwine had tweeted in the meantime while we were doing a 50 point turn to drive back the 7kms up the dirt road to the main road with a couple of options.
One of those options was Gilbert’s in Kendenup on Albany Highway which would have been perfect but it would mean back tracking a bit too much which is a pity as it sounds lovely. Find out more here.
So we opted for the other option which was the newly opened ‘The Shed’ at the Plantagenet Wines cellar door located pretty much smack bang in Mt Barker township. And what a cute cellar door it is!
The Cellar Door
The car park sits alongside the winery so you get a good view of the large stainless steel equipment before heading around to the quaint yet gorgeously impressive cellar door. The exterior has a bit of an old English villa feel with an impressive wooden front door to give that majestic touch.
The lawn has a couple of picnic tables on and then there is also some inside seating and seating on the patio with funky colourful chairs and a playground for the little ones. It had a nice layout and as we were visiting midweek we virtually had the place to ourselves. We decided to park ourselves up at a picnic table on the lawn in front of the cellar door as it was such a pretty setting looking back towards the cellar door and it was the most perfect day for alfresco dining.
To satisfy the hangry monster in me, I ordered our lunch, a bottle of wine and then thought the perfect way to kill the wait time would be a tasting at the cellar door. Really it’s a no brainer!
The tasting area has a backdrop of racked wine bottles and you’re surrounded by many bits of Plantagenet’s heritage, past and present. Topped off by super friendly staff, I didn’t grab her name but the lady who I think might be French was super lovely! She knew her stuff about wine and explained it so clearly and interestingly that even Mr. Spittoon stopped and listened before he slurped the vino back.
What I found really interesting is that the current winemaker, Cath Oates, who grew up in Margaret River actually spent 8 years (I think it was around that figure) working at Mud House in New Zealand as the Group Winemaker. That was definitely a good sign that the wines would go down a treat. But then again I am a little biased being a Kiwi.
There is quite an extensive wine list to choose from to taste at the cellar door. A few aren’t available for tasting such as the bubbles (hence why we ordered it for lunch). We decided to pick and choose our way through the whites prior to lunch.
No spitting from either of us which is a great sign if you ask me. Between the Rieslings, Sauvs and Chardys, I was in heaven. It literally took all our time over lunch to decide on which 1 bottle each of us wanted to purchase. Actually scrap that, it took me ALL that time. Mr. Spittoon was easy, he loved the Juxtapose Off-Dry Riesling. Being a bit of a Oaked Sauvignon Blanc fiend at the moment I went for the Juxtapose oaky Sauvy. I eventually decided on this, not just because of my oaky addiction but also because you can’t find this range of the Plantagenet Wines in many spots other than the cellar door. Check out my tasting notes at the bottom of this post.
So what’s so special about the Juxtapose range you ask? Well they’re small batch tipples with an unconventional nature. The winemaker and viticultralist (person in charge of growing and looking after the grapes in the vineyard) work very closely together to produce wines which stand out. It’s not always the case that the winemaker and viticultralist work so closely together which is what makes these wines so darn special. So if you’re looking for more of an artisan wine, look these babies up stat.
Lunch at ‘The Shed’
For lunch as mentioned we sat out on the picnic tables. We ordered a bottle of the Plantagenet 2009 Brut bubbles, which was so heavenly I didn’t even stop to write a tasting note.
We enjoyed this over a platter for 2 at $32 which had all local ingredients bar the crackers (there may be a market for someone there!). The guy who brought the platter out from the cellar door was super informative and told us about all the items on the platter before we got stuck in. We couldn’t get enough of the Mt Barker smoked chicken, the tomato relish, fruit, cheese, oh god I’m going to list everything! Haha lets just say it was divine, great value and it made for the perfect birthday lunch!
For more information on travelling in and around the Great Southern Wine Region, check out my last post here.
Read all my Great Southern blog posts here
Plantagenet Tasting Notes
Plantagenet Wines ‘Juxtapose’ 2014 Oaked Sauvignon Blanc: I loved this at the Plantagenet Wines cellar door in Mt Barker! It’s a French oaked Sauvy Blanc which stays in oak for about 8 months. It has a crisp silver yellow hue. Aromas of toasted passionfruit and nuts. On the palate it has oomph and smoothness yet is super fresh and tasty. I pick up flavours of grapefruit, asparagus and tropical bananas. An awesome wine but sadly only available at the cellar door folks and every now and the you may be able to find it at select cafes.
Plantagenet Wines ‘Juxtapose’ 2014 Off-Dry Riesling: This is another cellar door only release from the team Plantagenet Wines in Mount Barker, yet you may find it at a few cafes in the city if you’re lucky. It’s an off-dry Riesling which is typically not my style however this baby has a nice crispness to it. I wouldn’t sit and drink a bottle by itself but with a spicy Thai dish or anything with chilli, it would be brilliant. We had it with a cheese board and it was pretty darn fantastic. Pale lemon colour on the eye with aromas of tropical fruits, fresh honey and candied citrus. On the palate it is super silky and has an absolutely awesome finish. Definitely worth a taste of you come across a bottle.