Have you been to wine and food heaven? I went on Saturday..

“Distinct wines, that’s what we’re all about”
– Evans & Tate Winemaker, Matt Byrne

Evans & Tate 2011 Redbrook Shiraz

Disclosure: I was invited by the Evans & Tate team to attend this event.

The lovely team at Evans & Tate invited Mr. Spittoon and myself down to their Margaret River cellar door to attend a special Winemaker Lunch to launch the new release Redbrook wines last Saturday. I actually think I’m still in the wine and food daze.

This exclusive lunch was a chance to dine with Senior Winemaker, Matt Byrne, as he lead us through a tasting of the new releases, some back vintages and a couple of barrel samples. Totally spoilt, I know! As we were enjoying the wines we were brought 4 delectable courses made by the fabulous team of Muster Bar & Grill in the Margaret River to top off the experience.

Evans & Tate and Muster lunch menu
The lunch was held in the Redbrook Room. As you enter the room there are two glass ‘Vintage Rooms’ to either side full of wine as old as the Margaret River wine industry with bottles dating back to the early 1970’s! I made a joke to the Cellar Door Manager, Rich, that he should accidentally lock me in one of the rooms. Either room, I’m not fussy!

Evans & Tate Redbrook Room
The Redbrook Room was set up with two long tables which looked out to the beautiful Evans & Tate vineyard. You’ve got to love those floor to ceiling windows! To begin the afternoon we were given a lovely glass of Taittinger Champagne (Evans & Tate are part of the McWilliams Wines Group who are the Australian distributors) which went down an absolute treat. Especially when Matt Byrne came around topping everyone’s glasses up! What a lovely way to start a long lunch I say. Please note all my tasting notes are at the bottom of this post and each note is max 5 words long, short & sweet.

Evans & Tate glass of Taittinger Champagne
Up next was our first flight of wines which included the Redbrook Chardonnay 2010, 2011 and 2012. The 2010 Redbrook Chardonnay won Best White Wine and Best Chardonnay at the WA Qantas Wine Awards 2013 (read more about it here). Being a Chardy fan, I was in ABSOLUTE heaven! As we sipped on these we dined on Chardonnay Oysters and Tempura Barramundi. The oysters were literally to die for. Mr. Spittoon doesn’t eat oysters, however I made sure he grabbed one every time the lovely waiter came around so I think I ended up eating at least half a dozen! To finish off the first course we sipped on a wee barrel sample of the 2013 Redbrook Chardonnay.

The next flight of wines consisted of the Redbrook Shiraz 2010 and 2011 with a barrel sample of the 2012 Redbrook Shiraz.The wines went beautifully with the wonderfully presented course two of confit duck on parsnip puree and mouth-watering braised red cabbage. The 2011 Redbrook Shiraz won Best Wine of the Show, Best Red Wine and Best Shiraz at the WA Qantas Wine Awards 2013 (read more about it here).

Evans & Tate and Muster confit duck
And the wine kept flowing with the third flight consisting of the Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, 2010, 2011 and a barrel sample of the 2013 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon. Whilst sipping through the Cabs we dined on an absolutely awesome dish, a braised beef cheek ragout with hand rolled pasta and grana padano. I loved it! I’m so close to saying it was my favourite but those oysters and the dessert were to die for as well.

Evans & Tate and Muster braised beef cheek ragout
By this time I was pretty stuffed, but as every girl knows – there’s always room for dessert! Dessert was a decadent Gabriel’s Chocolate plate with vanilla bean ice cream, matched with the 2002 McWilliams Vintage Tyrian Port. Tyrian is the grape variety by the way, you learn something new everyday! We finished off with a coffee to help bring us all down from wino and foodie heaven and back to reality.

Evans & Tate and Muster Gabriel's Chocolate Plate
The wine, the food and the company were all amazing. What I have always loved about visiting Evans & Tate and hanging out with the E&T team is their passion for the wine industry and life itself. They are such a super friendly bunch, without all that snobbery that can come with the world of wine. Thank goodness for that fact as I had a rather awkward high heel drama at the lunch which turned into a running joke throughout the day instead of me sitting there thinking the world was over. I couldn’t be a wine snob even if I tried!

Evans & Tate Winemaker Matt Byrne
For more information on the wide range of E&T wines on offer, please check out the Evans & Tate website or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And please check out my short & sweet tasting notes below!

Evans & Tate Redbrook Short & Sweet Tasting Notes

Taittinger Brut Réserve Champagne: Smooth, subtle, toasty, perfect aperitif!

2010 Redbrook Chardonnay: Shiny, butterscotch, lemon rind, LOVE!
2011 Redbrook Chardonnay: Honeydew melon, struck matches, peach.
2012 Redbrook Chardonnay: French oak, textual, dried herbs.
2013 Redbrook Chardonnay barrel sample: Lemon, lime, creamy, shortbread, malt.

2010 Redbrook Shiraz: Purple, red licorice, spices, length.
2011 Redbrook Shiraz: Vibrant, pepper, cherry, texture, mouthwatering.
2012 Redbrook Shiraz barrel sample: Plum, berry sweetness, vibrancy, peppery.

2002 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon: Bricky, forest, wood, balanced, savoury.
2010 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon: Cedar, tannins, blackcurrant, depth, length.
2011 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon: Depth, redcurrant, menthol, balance, leafy.
2013 Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon barrel sample: Purple, spearmint, cedar, redcurrant.

2002 McWilliams Vintage Tyrian Port: Mauve, blackcurrant, vanilla, approachable, elegant.

Check out Matt’s report on the 2014 vintage here.

Muster's Sean Carter and Rowan Southwell

Margaret River Wineries: Fraser Gallop Estate

I felt like I was in Europe again when I visited Fraser Gallop Estate in the Margaret River Wine Region as the cellar door is only open by appointment only. It gives the experience of visiting the winery an air of exclusivity and leaves the winery up to the task of concentrating on making amazing wines – which I don’t mind at all.

Fraser Gallop are all about letting the grapes speak for themselves. With minimal intervention during the viticulture and winemaking processes, they really want their wines to show what an amazing spot in the world their grapes come from. This encompasses the geography, geology and climate of the area, or as the French call it, the terrior. The vineyard grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Chardonnay and Semillon grapes.

At Fraser Gallop Estate there is the winery where all the magic happens. Of course it is spotlessly clean – if you have visited a winery before you’ll notice that they’re always impeccably clean, it is a mandatory trait of a winemaker! I can tell by the look of my closest that I was definitely not destined to be a winemaker. And beside the winery is the barrel room. I love walking into a barrel room, barrels as high as the eye can see and they have that absolutely gorgeous smell to them of wine and oak. I wonder if I could pick up an air-freshener so that my house could smell like that? Let me know if you come across one!

Anyway our tasting was run by Phil Callaghan who is the Sales & Marketing Manager of Fraser Gallop. Considering we were running over 30 minutes late for the appointment as we were caught up at another winery, he was still in good spirits which was very nice of him! Personally I hate when people are late!

I loved how the winery and barrel room were right down the end of a long driveway. You drive pass the vines and then get to what feels like a super secluded spot amongst the vines. Private, quiet and surrounded by wine – what more could one want!

Phil took us through the history of Fraser Gallop and explained about the wines while we tasted through the range. Is it bad that I loved every single wine I tried?? They all had a certain elegance to them with a taste of intrigue – they’re those types of wines that you sip, sit back, mull it over, go in for another sip and repeat. Interesting wines.

My favourites had to be the 2012 Parterre Chardonnay – it had such lovely complexity, length and texture that I could have easily sat there and drank the whole bottle. The thought did pass through my mind of swiping the bottle into my handbag for the drive back to Perth. Buuutt.. I’m not that bogan! The reds were all fab, don’t even ask me which one I liked the most – I want them all!

The other interesting wine I quite enjoyed was the new Ice Pressed Chardonnay. It’s the only one of it’s kind in Western Australia and is modelled off the famous German Eiswein and Canadian Ice Wine. It’s made by freezing bunches of Chardonnay grapes and then pressing them while they’re still frozen. This allows only the most succulent and concentrated juices to come out of the grapes resulting in a dessert wine with exceptional acidity that makes the wine so crisp and juicy. I’m not a huge sweet-tooth but the sweetness and the acidity married together just danced across my palate. And yes I nearly swiped this bottle into my handbag too.

Overall Mr Spittoon and I really enjoyed our visit to Fraser Gallop. Beautiful spot and totally classy wines. For more information or to book an appointment to visit the winery and vineyard please check out the Fraser Gallop website. Or you can connect with Fraser Gallop on twitter or Facebook.

If you’re planning a trip to the Margaret River Wine Region, make sure to check out the accommodation, wine tour & attraction ideas on margaretriver.com, email welcome@margaretriver.com or call (08) 9780 5911MargaretRiver.com tourism logo