Recently Mr. Spittoon and I were out and about in the Swan Valley (surprise, surprise) and were absolutely famished. We had no plans of where to go for lunch but thought we should try somewhere new. We were on Great Northern Highway so we thought Houghton Winery would be a great spot. I’ve only ate at Houghton’s on a Swan Valley Tour which was a few years ago now so it was definitely time for a revisit and of course cellar door tasting.
About Houghton Wines
Houghton is definitely an icon of the Valley. They’re known around the country and I would say they produce a truck load of wines compared to most of the other Swan Valley wineries. Actually scrap that, they would be the largest SV, if not WA producer since they are the tenth-largest red and white bottle brand in Australia. The Houghton property was acquired in 1836 by 3 army officers. However it wasn’t until 1859 that the first commercial wine from the property was produced and in 1880 they won their first wine award (Order of Merit award at the Great Melbourne Exhibition).
The piece of history most of us will be familiar with, was when Swan Valley legend – Jack Mann created Houghton White Burgundy. The Mann name is well-known throughout the Valley and Western Australia. It’s safe to say, the White Burgundy, now the Houghton Classic White is still being enjoyed near and far from the Swan Valley.
The Cellar Door & Wines
My biggest tip would be to do a cellar door tasting before you sit down and eat. We didn’t realise that you have to purchase your wine from the cellar door, even if you’re eating at the cafe. So after we ordered we had to head back to the cellar door to get our wine which was a bit of a bugger!
After our lunch we of course stopped by the cellar door for a wee tasting. It’s a nice roomy cellar door with plenty of little gifts and bits of pieces if you’re in the mood for more than wine shopping.
Naturally I started at the top of the cellar door tasting list and made my way to the bottom. Tastings are free, so it would be rude not to really. I didn’t realise that Houghton make a number of small batch wines – so these really intrigued me (we actually bought a bottle of the small batch rose to take home – it’s lovely!).
Houghton source grapes from all around West Australia; from Gingin, Margaret River, Frankland River and Mount Barker in the Great Southern, to the wonderful Pemberton region.
My top picks were the:
- 2016 Small Batch Rose
- 2016 Small Batch Pinot Grigio (I had this with my lunch)
- 2015 Small Batch Rojo Grande (Grenache, Touriga & Shiraz)
- 2012 Wisdom Cabernet Sauvignon
The Cafe – Food by Herb Faust
I’d heard good things about Herb Faust Food and have followed him on Instagram for sometime so I knew we were in for some tasty treats.
We rocked up to the cafe on a Saturday without a booking and thankfully it was easy enough to get a table. We ended up ordering the:
- Smoked Paprika Popcorn $3.50 (this actually never came out and by the time we’d finished our other bits we decided to flag it – once they realised they were very apologetic and removed it from the bill)
- Slow Roasted Pork Brioche Sliders with Tamarind Apple & Fennel Slaw – 3 for $21
- Housemade Chips & Aioli $9
Those sliders, OMG!! Both Mr. Spittoon and I were absolutely drooling over them and we’ll be going back just for them. So damn good – they even had pork crackling in them! My only fault is why, why do cafes and restaurants put odd numbers of pieces on share plates – I presume i’s to do with getting patrons to order more, but it would just be so much better if there was an even number. Thankfully I was feeling generous and let Mr. Spittoon have the 3rd slider, otherwise there would have been a fight over it. They were so good!
The chips were also cooked to perfection – nice and crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside. My glass of Small Batch Pinot Grigio went really well with the food.
We also enjoyed sweet tunes from the live musician while we were having our lunch. It was an added bonus that they had live music going, typically I find most wineries will have live music on Sundays only.
I see Houghton also do picnic baskets, so you can rock up, grab a spot on the grass, grab a bottle or three from the cellar door and enjoy the atmosphere picnic style. I think we’ll be keen for that next time, as long as we can add some of those sliders into our picnic basket!
Happy New Year everyone! New in 2017 are our delicious picnic platters, “say cheese” and “cheesed to meat you”. They’re served in sturdy takeaway boxes and are available from the cafe for you to enjoy with your favourite vino while picnicking on the beautiful lawns at Houghton. #perthpicnic #perthcafe #houghtonwinery #houghtonwinerycafe #cheese #wineandcheese #perthplatters
Location: 148 Dale Rd, Middle Swan WA 6056
Contact Number: (08) 9274 9540
Open Times: Cellar door 10am – 5pm and Cafe 10am – 4pm 7 days per week (please double-check public holiday hours)
Wine tasting cost: Free!
Kid-Friendly: Houghton have a huge lawn, so plenty of space for the wee ones to run around and burn off energy.
Food available: Lunch