World-renowned Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson once said that the Swan Valley makes the best Verdelho in the world. I completely agree!
Viva Verdelho is the annual Swan Valley celebration of the Verdelho grape variety. Originally from Portugal the Verdelho grape thrives in the warm weather of the Swan Valley. It is a realitively straight forward grape to grow however it can be prone to diease in the vineyard. It produces a full-bodied white wine which can be bone-dry or sweet, drank young or aged and typically has notes of lime and honeysuckle.
What I loved about Viva Verdelho 2013 is that you are focusing all your attention on this one grape variety. We were able to taste Verdelho’s from 15 different Swan Valley producers and it was amazing how the wine styles differed between one winery to the next.
The majority of the Verdelho’s on show were dry 2013s. However Garbin Estate, Sittella & Lancaster also had off-dry to medium sweet Verdelho’s to taste, Lamont’s had a backlog of Verdelho’s to try including a 2005, 2007, 2012 and their 2013 which was incredibly interesting to see how the wines age and Talijancich and Harris Organic had fortified Verdelho’s to taste.
While we were tasting our way through these delectable tipples, a panel of 4 critics were judging the wines. The panel consisted of; Ray Jordan wine reviewer for the Western Australian newspaper, David Prestipino wine reviewer for the Sunday Times, Paul Murray journalist and radio broadcaster, and Fleur Bainger from White Noise Media. The judges evaluated the wines by themselves and then with 3 dishes created by head chef Jamie Skinner from Stewart’s at Brookleigh.
The food was AMAZING! Literally the dishes were a work of art and every morsel on those plates melted in your mouth. All the ingredients were carefully chosen to compliment the flavours of the Swan Valley Verdelho’s. Please click on the image to the right to see the mouth-watering menu. I can’t decide which was my favourite dish, both the tortellini and the quail were heavenly. Mr. Spittoon couldn’t stop gushing over the pork belly, he even declared it to be the best pork belly he has ever had! Big words!
During the afternoon raffles to win packs of Swan Valley wines were up for grabs and we, the consumers, were also asked to vote for our top 3 wines which would ultimately determine the ‘Peoples Choice Award’.
After the 3rd course I was well and truly in wino-foodie heaven. Thank goodness for wearing stretchy pants!! It was also great how in-between the courses we had the opportunity to get up and try more wines and speak to the winemarkers/winery representatives. Mr. Spittoon and I had some fascinating conversations – it’s safe to say we now know a a lot more about Verdelho and the Valley. So it wasn’t just an afternoon of eating and drinking, it was educational!
So who did the critics and the people deem to have the best 2013 Verdelho in the Swan Valley you ask??
The day ended perfectly with cheese from the The Cheese Barrel and nougat and chocolate from Mondo Nougat as well as fortified Verdelho’s to taste and new release reds from the Valley. I have to mention that the stilton blue cheese went amazingly well with the Harris Organic Fortified Verdelho, it truly was cheesey-wino heaven! Want to see more delectable photos? Check out my Viva Verdelho Facebook album here.
Here are a selection of Swan Valley Verdelho’s I have tasted this year, please click the links for full tasting notes:
- Harris Organic 2009
- John Kosovich Autumn Harvest
- Chapel Farm 2010 Chardonnay/Semillon/Verdelho blend
- Talijancich 2006 Reserve
- Talijancich 2012
- Talijancich 2012 Late Picked
- Neilson Estate 2007