If you’re hitting the Swan Valley for a full day, the Upper Reach Winery has to be your lunchtime stop. Set on a picturesque piece of land beside the Swan River, you will be in awe as you enjoy a tasting and a bite to eat.
Upper Reach is a modern family-owned winery that simply believe that wine, food and good company is the epitome of life. I couldn’t agree more and on this particular Thursday afternoon I was surely enjoying all of life’s essentials.
The cellar door is fantastically set out. I loved the flattened out barrel pieces below the bench, a great touch. From the cellar door tasting area you can also take in all the vineyard has to offer through the ceiling to floor windows. It is a spacious, light and airy tasting room which is perfect to soak up Upper Reach’s tipples in.
With a couple of whites, Upper Reach puts more emphasis on making reds. This works out well for me as I am known to be partial to a red or two. On this day I was quite restrained and tried only 4 wines on the tasting list. I think this was also as I didn’t feel completely comfortable. The lady at the cellar door was pleasant however I have to admit I really don’t like dominating the conversational in such a situation. I felt a bit like I was pressuring her into telling me about the winery and wines. Here I was thinking she should be selling the story to me?
So I thought I would opt for trying 2 reds and 2 whites. It was a typical 30-degree Western Australian day, so I needed some whites to refresh me. Here is what I thought:
1. 2010 Verdelho
This is probably one of the more full Verdelho’s I have tasted since arriving in Perth. It has a medium bodied mouth feel full of citrus and a touch of Thai tropical fruits that are particularly abundant on the nose.
2. 2011 The Gig (White)
This Chardonnay/Semillon blend was light with subtle nuances of grapefruit. Easy drinking and approachable. A perfect aperitif or a great way to introduce newbie’s to a dry style of wine.
3. 2010 Tempranillo
I had to try this one since Upper Reach was the first in the region in 2006 to produce a wine from this native Spanish variety. The red-purple colour in the glass was a stunner. It has a nice oomph of flavours with the perfect amount of silky tannins. I got a real mouthful of flavours ranging from milk chocolate to red cherries and a touch of smoke.
4. 2009 The Great Shiraz
I’m in love! This powerful baby had me right from the first whiff. The strong fresh fruits and spice intoxicated me. The palate is smothered with black plums and cherries. The smoothness of this tipple overwhelmed me. It has the punch of a spicy full-bodied Shiraz yet it went down like air.
By the time you have swirled, sniffed and tasted your way through Upper Reach’s wine menu you will be in dire need of a good bite to eat. The Broads Restaurant sits alongside the tasting room. It is a fully licensed restaurant. You must ask for a table outside to get the best of dining at Broads. The serenity of the vineyard beside you and the impeccable service will have you chaining yourself to your chair before you even see the menu.
One look at the menu and I knew I wanted everything. This was going to be a hard choice! In the end my boyfriend and I decided to grab a couple of things off the ‘Snack and Chat’ menu. We opted for a platter with: grilled flat bread, chorizo sausage, spicy mango chutney, mixed olives and dips. I also couldn’t resist ordering a side of smoked paprika hand cut chips with garlic lemon mayonnaise as well. Delish!
Between the food and a glass of the 2010 Verdelho and the 2009 Shiraz we could of sat there for hours. The duqqa and the olive oil/balsamic mix with the grilled flatbread was divine, as was every other little treasure on the plate.
Obviously this was not their typical Thursday as the restaurant soon filled up. Simon, the one front of house waiter sure had his hands full. However even though we had to wait a bit between getting our food and our wines, we didn’t mind as we were too busy soaking up the vineyard’s atmosphere.
All up it was a great day. It was nice to taste the wines before we went to the restaurant. As this way we could sort out what glass we wanted with our meal. Our Broads experience set us back AU$51 which was not bad at all for 2 glasses of wine and some snack plates which filled us up quite nicely.
Great wines, delicious food and an intoxicating location: you can’t go wrong with stopping in at Upper Reach Winery for an hour or three!