With a Celtic logo and a very Irish sounding name, I was sure Carilley Estate was going to be owned by an Irish family. The Estate is located at the upper end of the Swan Valley on the banks of the Susannah Brook. Wine barrels are set amongst the lush gardens and immediately I can imagine that it is the perfect setting for a magical wedding.
The winery has an adjoining restaurant and café it was busy on this particular Sunday however I have to admit that I was overwhelmed with tranquility. The first thing that caught my eye when I walked in was the beautiful copper designed sign below the tasting counter. I later found out that artisan Antonio Battistessa handcrafted it. Simply stunning!
The cellar-door staff were extremely welcoming and friendly. We were looked after by Karen who I can 100% recommend to do a tasting with. She was uber-chatty and was happy to answer our millions of questions! I always love to hear the story behind the wines; it makes the experience so much more interesting.
So I found out that Carilley is in fact not an Irish last name but it is an amalgamation of the owner’s surnames. Isavel and Laura Carija are of British and Italian decent. Isavel has 50 years of winemaking experience behind him having moved to the Swan Valley when he was only 2 years old and helped his father plant his first vineyard when he was 8 years old.
Karen explained that in 1985 the Carilley name was first used to market their crop of table grapes. In the 90’s the brand began to evolve as they started to produce quality wine and expand the property to create a restaurant in 2002. They are a boutique winery that produces some stunning and rather intriguing wines.
I am always on the lookout for new and interesting wines and sadly I have not found much in Perth to satisfy this need of mine. On my visit to Carilley I indulged in a Chenin Blanc & Viognier blend and a sweet late-harvest Merlot that they have recently produced. Unfortunately I didn’t try any of the fortified but I have to admit that they sounded awfully tasty particularly the Damask 1997 Verdelho blended with the Argentinean grape Pedro Ximenez. They describe it as liquid gold, and I am partial to a splash of gold here and there!
I will definitely have to put those on the tasting list for our next visit.
Tastings of the fortifieds are $2 each and to do a tasting of the full wine list is $5, which is completely refundable if you purchase something at the end of the tasting. After tasting through 8 of their wines, I didn’t need much convincing to buy a bottle.
Actually between my boyfriend and I we couldn’t decide what we wanted so we ended up choosing 3 each to make it a nice half a dozen. Our top picks were; the un-oaked 2011 Chardonnay, 2011 Chenin Viogner, 2011 Picasso Sweet Merlot, 2007 Reserve Merlot, 2009 Shiraz and even though we didn’t try it we also bought a bottle of the Fiona (named after the owners daughter) sparkling Chardonnay. I can’t wait to get stuck into these beauties and I promise tasting notes to come.
The Carilley Estate is set on 22 acres, 10 acres are under vine and they also produce their own olive oil from the 400 odd olive trees on the property. Again a bottle of this handpicked goodness is definitely on my wish list.
By the sounds of this post I need to make another trip back to Carilley Estate, perhaps lunch is on the cards. However I am pretty sure when I go back I will end up investing in some art as there was a particularly awesome framed photo of grapes with dew on. I later found out that Karen, who took us through the tasting, had taken the photo. Truly amazing!
The winery and restaurant are open Thursday through to Monday from 10:30am till 5:00pm. For further information please check out their website here. For more Swan Valley winery reviews and tasting notes, please click here.