Rain or Shine at Sunset Wine 2016 – Scarborough Beach

Ralph Guest Blogger at Sunset Wine Festival PerthUnfortunately I was out of the country over the Sunset Wine weekend this year so fellow wino, Ralph headed along with his wine squad to check it out. The weather may have been a bit up and down, but that didn’t stop the dedicated wine lovers out there like Ralph! A big thanks to CMS events for supplying us with a double pass.

Wine, sea and sand, what more could a man want? Well, believe it or not, the sun!

The doors opened to Sunset Wines at 2.30pm on Saturday to howling winds and rain. Would you believe it was summer? Being a hardy soul and seasoned sampler of vino, this was nothing more than a minor inconvenience as spirits were not dampened.

In these conditions, it was like a winter’s day, and red wine was the first calling strangely enough.
Rain or Shine at Sunset Wine Festival Perth

House of Cards, Yallingup

The name was inspired by the gamble that growers and winemakers take every vintage – you play the hand that you are dealt! 100% single vineyard handcrafted wines.

We waited for the reds to warm us up, so started with the 2014 Blanc de Blancs – Queen of Diamonds. All I can say is that if `diamonds are a girl’s best friend`, then my wife will be ordering this by the pallet load! Aged on yeast lees for 19 months (so precise!), and a dry, light finish.

2014 Cabernet Merlot – The Joker $24 – Where is Batman? I reckon it’s the drinker that has the last laugh here, as this wine was excellent. Rich black fruit characters, hand plunged, basket pressed and matured in french oak for 12 months – heaven!

It was great to see the passion in the faces of the winemakers Travis and Elizabeth Wray, so enthusiastic about their creations.
House of Cards at Sunset Wine Festival PerthCheck this place out when your next in Yallingup, it’s got a great cellar door with local arts and crafts and for those with a sweet tooth, there`s a Gabriel chocolate factory next door.

House of Cards Shiraz and Dark Chocolate… Now that sounds like a romantic idea!

You can buy these wines at Liquor Barons Angelo St, South Perth who stock the full range.

Windance Estate, Yallingup

Next stop was Windance Estate, another Margaret River winery with a lovely range of reds and whites.
Windance at Sunset Wine Festival Perth

The 2014 Sauv Blanc Semillon had all the classic notes of a great cool climate wine and a real bargain at $20.

Check out the 2014 Reserve Chardonnay $38 – lovely light oak and vanilla notes with good acidity and freshness. For me, this would be great with roast chicken on the barbie!
Windance Reserve Chardonnay at Sunset Wines 2016

The 2013 Merlot was soft, elegant and warmed me up on this wet and windy day!

Woodgate Wines, Manjimup

Woodgate Wines of Manjimup, had a really intriguing 2014 Barbera on display.

An Italian grape grown in Pemberton, this wine was 92% Barbera and 8% Shiraz and had deep red crimson hues and brilliant clarity. It’s just great to see winemakers growing these different varietals in our great state of Western Australia
Woodgate at Sunset Wine Festival Perth

The 2015 Viognier was light straw coloured with lemon blossom on the nose and creamy texture. This paired well with samples from Latasha’s Kitchen who had an array of eye-catching Indian and South East Asian sauces and marinades, pastes and condiments. Great with the samples of chicken satay!

Angelicus Wines, Lennard Rd, Burekup

Keeping the European theme, Angelicus Wines from the Geographe region caught my eye with an interesting 2015 Verdejo – $20.

Verdejo is a grape variety from Ruenda in Northern Spain. A really interesting one! Notes of citrus blossom with a hint of peat on the nose (yes, peat – clay soil). On the palate, a lemon zest and honey minerality complimented with oak fermentation and ceramic amphorae, giving a crisp, lingering finish. Wow!

Angelicus specialises in growing Spanish varieties and the 2014 Tempranillo $25 was grown from 5 clones of vines brought to Australia from Ribera Del Duero and Rioja in Spain. Great wine to cellar for a few years in the bottle and great with lamb. With this knowledge you can imagine yourself in a quaint Spanish town away from the tourist hubs, in a small, local bar with tapas, hams and meats hanging from the ceiling, indulging in this red-gold!

The day could only get better and, when thinking of Spain and the Mediterranean, beautiful wine food and endless sunshine springs to mind.

And yes, as if by magic, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and at 4.00pm the sun finally made an appearance at Sunset Wines. Maybe we would get a great sunset after all.

Vineyard 28, Harvey

Vineyard 28, also from the Geographe, had a beautiful 2015 Arneis – a white Italian grape originating from Peidmont, Italy. Arneis literally translated means `little rascal`, and for good reason as it is a difficult variety to grow.

This 2015 Arneis won the Best Alternative White Variety Award at the 2015 ANZ Geographe Wine Show

It was certainly noticeable that Sunset Wines was showcasing many Ferguson Valley/Geographe Wineries which was great – there`s so much out there to discover.

Having been to the Ferguson Valley, I can’t recommend it enough. Just 30 minutes east of Bunbury and it’s a hidden gem with wineries and breweries aplenty, not to mention great scenery.

Bonking Frog Wines, North Boyanup

Final stop of the day was Bonking Frog Wines. These guys are passionate about making Merlot in a sustainable way.   These guys have crafted a `summer Merlot’ and a `winter Merlot’ – amazing!

The 2014 Summer Merlot is a rose style, very refreshing, light and dry and the 2014 Winter Merlot was more of a modern Bordeaux style, ideal with a good Italian food. Great wines and a great story behind each of them.
Bonking Frog at Sunset Wine Festival Perth

What a day, almost four seasons with the weather, but one thing that didn’t change from start to finish was the exceptional quality of the wines on offer along with the passion and knowledge from the winemakers. What would we do without wine????

Cheers, Ralph

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...

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