Today we welcome back to the blog the lovely Nicola Heyes who headed to Sunset Wines & Brews with her hubster Ralph on behalf of the Travelling Corkscrew. She was sending me updates all night as I sat in front of Netflix, to say I was just a bit jealous is an understatement! If you’re reading this on Feb 8th or 9th 2020, then you can still head along to the festival, head over to wineandfood.com.au for more info. And a big thank you to CMS Events for inviting us along!
After a few rather hot days in Perth lately, the sea breeze was a great welcome at Sunset Wines and Brews – and certainly a fantastic way to enjoy a Friday evening.
The ever popular event has moved to a new venue this year – Jubilee Park, City Beach, giving the same stunning coastal location but with more space for exhibitors – and visitors. It’s in a beautiful spot.
There were plenty of seating areas – some overlooking the ocean – for that ultimate sunset photo!
Ralph and I were treated to the Beachside Lounge tickets, courtesy of Sunset Wine and Brews – and this really gave us VIP treatment with amazing food as well as complimentary beer and wine from Redgate Wines and Clownfish. And what an experience it was.
For us, it was fantastic to enjoy delicious food and glass of wine (in a lovely Plumm glass, which certainly added to the wine tasting experience). Just to know that we could dodge the queues and simply pop back to our Beachside Lounge for dinner – and that’s exactly what it was, dinner with canapés, entree and main, served at specific times.
The menu was created by chef Stuart Laws at Showcase Events WA – and was the best ‘festival’ food we have ever experienced.
Our canapés of salmon tartare and pressed Amelia Park red curry lamb were so tasty – and perfect with a glass of Redgate Sparkling.
With many exhibitors – of wine, beer and gin, it was hard to decide where to go first! Our highlights were:
205 Clews Road, Cowaramup
08 9382 4466
We did make a bee line for this winery mainly because I actually hadn’t heard of Morlet Wines – and that’s after countless visits to the Margaret River region.
This small family-run vineyard in Cowaranup has actually been around for 20 years but don’t have a cellar door (although you can visit by appointment).
When speaking to Nigel Morlet (owner) and Nick (Junior Winemaker) it’s easy to see their incredible passion for their wine.
2018 Petulant Natural
Familiarly known as ‘Pet Nat’ is a style that is becoming increasingly popular. The yeast remains in the bottle for residual flavour and body. This ‘Pink Zin’ is certainly juicy and punchy on the nose, it’s bursting with forest fruits and dried herbs. In the glass it has a cloudy appearance, which for a sparkling is quite hard to get your head around, but it has great lively bubbles and refreshing taste.
It’s the label that gripped me on this bottle – I love it -Yallingup Beach, a favourite beach of Junior Winemaker, Nick. This is a delicious Chardonnay, so crisp and well balanced. On the nose there is plenty of stone fruit – it’s so aromatic, it’s almost heady and screaming “drink me!”. White peach and nectarine follow through on the palate finishing with oak spice. It’s wild yeast fermented and matured for 8 months in two year old French oak. This is a fantastic Chardonnay!
I loved Nick’s description on this wine, he said:
“It’s like licking a battery – in the best possible way.”
2013 8th Zinfandel
What a wonderful leathery Zinfandel. “Zinners be grinners” is the little catchphrase that lures you into this wine. It has a great nose of blueberries and intense berry fruits. Beautiful juicy blackcurrants make this really jammy on the palate with a soft silky finish.
3856 caves Road, Willabrup
08 9755 6295
These guys specialise in Sparkling Wine and although at Sunset Wines and Brews they only showcased 3 varieties – they have many more. In fact, owner and winemaker John Frazer said:
“We have Sparkling that we’ve not looked at for about 10 years in the corner of the shed and it can stay there for another 10 because the beauty of it is it’ll be absolutely fine.”
It was incredible to learn that John processes Sparkling Wine for more than 30 other wineries, including the big guns like Voyager Estate and Leeuwin Estate and one of my favourite Swan Valley wineries, Pinelli Estate.
La Cache Wicked Fairy
This was a wicked Sparkling made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – and has been in the bottle for 13 years!
On the nose it is EXACTLY like Ribena – the blackcurrant soft drink – which sounds a bit crazy. The palate was completely different – so creamy, intense blackcurrant with a crisp elegant dry finish. It’s called the Wicked Fairy because of the ferocious nature of fermenting in the tank – so much so that John was absolutely covered from head to toe in frothing pink bubbles. In fact – 1,700 litres of pink bubbles was lost on that day!
La Cache Sparkling Shiraz
Such an amazing smell – this wine is bursting with sweet plum and vanilla. It was such an intense Sparkling Red, incredibly complex – it tasted like Christmas pudding.
3887 Caves Road, Wilyabrup
08 9755 625
A well-established, small family owned Margaret River wine producer were showcasing some of their top wines and well-known varieties at the festival.
2019 Pinot Blanc $30
Similar to Chardonnay in style, Pinot Blanc is widely known in Alsace and is incredibly thirst quenching. Described by the winemaker Ed Tomlinson as a Sauv Blanc for grown ups, this wine was intensely aromatic of citrus and had a hint smokiness. On the palate, it had a great lingering mouth feel.
We also enjoyed the fun banter with the guys from Wise Wines – “Let the fun Be Gin” – they were serving up great G&Ts and cocktails, including a Wise Pink Unicorn – Wise Pink Gin topped with Sprite and pink candy floss, which certainly looked pretty!
This is just a touch of the deliciousness you can expect at Sunset Wines & Brews in 2020. What was your favourite stand/wine/part of the festival? Let us know below!
PS: I (Casey) just had to include this message from Nicola that I got last night (sorry Nic!) – it gave me a good laugh!