It was by complete accident we came across Somerset Hill Wines on our Denmark trip, but I swear it must have been fate. As you all know, I have a wee bit of an obsession with the bubbly wine style and it just so happens that Somerset Hill is the grand master of sparkling wine in the Great Southern.
I had carefully mapped out our route for our second day in Denmark. However I’m an absolutely terrible navigator, because as soon as I see a winery sign I can’t help but suggest we make a ‘quick stop’. Mr. Spittoon really needs to put a blindfold on me if we actually want to stick to the plan on a day out in a wine region!
The cellar door…
Like most Great Southern wineries, there is typically a sign outside the cellar door that says, beep or give us a yell for assistance. Graham Upson spotted us on our way down the drive and came to meet us and took us into a huge shed to the cellar door. It seemed to be like a big old stables or something with a large middle walkway which had rooms off to either side. Whatever it was, it now is a working winery full of tanks, barrels and winery equipment. It was quite cool to walk past it all en route to the cellar door room which had everything a wine lover could need, free wine tasting!
Graham was very friendly and told us all about his prestigious wines and the property. The vines were planted around 1995 and with his wife, Lee, they grow Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot. They don’t buy in any fruit, so everything you taste in the bottles are estate-grown which is good to know.
Somerset grapes like to listen to music…
While I was snooping around the cellar door and winery I did happen to notice some sort of classical music playing in a few of the rooms with tanks in (see video below). This intrigued me as I have read various articles about how some winemakers around the world believe playing music to their fermenting grape juice produces better wine. Just like people play Mozart to babies in the room. I can’t whether the music were for the cellar door patrons or the wine, but I’m hoping for the later. I love a bit of quirk!
My favourite wines…
So our picks from the cellar door were the 2012 Semillon ($19), Blanc de Blanc Sparkling ($39) and Pinot Chardonnay Sparkling ($39). Check out my tasting notes below:
Somerset Hill 2012 Semillon
On the eye it’s a pale yellow stained glass colour. On the nose I pick up aromas of the ocean, white roses and peaches sprinkled with white pepper. On the palate it has that beautiful oily, mouth covering texture with a clean, crisp finish. Flavours of citrus, white pepper and nectarine dominate for me. A lovely straight Sem which I would definitely drink again. All opinions are based on my own taste buds.
Somerset Hill Blanc de Blanc Sparkling
Pale yellow on the eye with aromas of freshly baked, marmalade and a beautiful floral bouquet. On the palate it’s simply exquisite; full of flavour yet delicate and woweee with my dozen NZ oysters I was literally in heaven. 50 Shades of Grey in my mouth, literally!
Somerset Hill Pinot Chardonnay Sparkling
Lemon-grass colour on the eye, yellow with flecks of green. On the nose it’s full of aromas of farmhouse bread, a hint of melon and mango – quite tropical on the nose. On the palate it has lovely biscuit flavours intertwined with quince and my Nan’s apple shortcut with a sprinkle of berry sherbet.
If you’re in the region. I would definitely suggest to stop in, even if it is only to grab a few bottles of bubbles to take back home to drink ASAP! The cellar door is not flash, I think the effort goes into the wine which is mighty fine by me!
For more tips on where to go in the Great Southern, make sure you check out my Great Southern Wine Region Guide.
Address: 540 McLeod Road, Denmark WA 6333
Phone: (08) 9840 9388
Wines: Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot
Wine tasting cost: Free! (+ there’s some gorgeous locally made pottery and bits of pieces for shoppers at the cellar door!)
Food available: No
Child friendly: There are some toys and a small play area in the cellar door for small children