We’re Going On A Wine Hunt – A Winery Tour of Pemberton

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If you follow the Travelling Corkscrew on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen I recently took over the Travelling Corkscrew’s Instagram Stories while I was in Pemberton, in Western Australia’s Southern Forest region, about 3 hours south of Perth.

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The Instagram stories takeover announcement

In the instance you missed it, you can check out the video that the Travelling Corkscrew put together of my day or read on to find out more about my trip.

I also want to highlight that there is still time to check out the last few events running as a part of the Unearthed Pemberton Festival. To see what wine events are running this weekend, check out my previous blog post.

Pemberton Wineries - Explore Western Australia’s Southern Forest Region

Find out a little more about the Pemberton and Southern Forests Region

I hope you enjoy reading this post and it ultimately inspires you to pick a weekend, hop in your car and head down to Pemberton or, if you’re unable to physically be in Pemberton, use this as an opportunity to ask your local bottle shop if they stock wines from either Pemberton or Manjimup in the Southern Forest region.

Thursday – Depart Perth for Pemberton

After prepping the vehicle on Wednesday (ANZAC day) and Thursday, my partner Bryce and I didn’t end up leaving Perth until quite late. Around 4pm. This did mean that we left around the same time as peak hour traffic was starting to build, so we lost a little bit of travel time.

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Leaving Perth and about to jump onto the Kwinana Freeway

We weren’t in too much of a hurry as we already knew we would be building our tent in the dark. And yes we were camping. Something we both enjoy and were doing together for the first time. It was a success, if you were wondering.

In addition to the late start, we also stopped off at one of the newer BP service stations along the freeway for a quick bite to eat for dinner as we were unsure what would be open in Pemberton.

We arrived at Warren Campgrounds which overlooks the Warren River around 8:30pm and managed to set-up our tent quite quickly to get an early first night.

The trip normally takes just over 3 hours if you’re travelling from Perth, about the same travel time if you were to drive to Margaret River or Augusta in the South or Dongra to the North.

Friday – Bike Riding, Eating Delicious Local Food and Wine Tasting

Bryce and I are fairly laid back people and this carried across into our morning routine. We were already in holiday mode!

Breakfast was followed by a coffee and a cup of tea before Bryce got started on prepping his bike and getting ready to ride the Pemberton MTB Park. By the time we got into town, found the bike park and sussed out what routes he would take (there are quite a few options when it comes to the bike trails), it was fairly close to midday.

I opted to drop Bryce at the park and go for a little drive, which led me to Rambouillet Winery. This is where I met owners Alan and Leanne.

Firstly, I was absolutely wowed by the entry into their driveway which consisted of Maple trees lining the full length of their driveway. I initially missed the driveway as the sign into the property was right on the turn off, however I did notice the trees from quite a distance away. They are very striking in Autumn!

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The entry sign into Rambouillet Winery

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The driveway leading up to the Rambouillet cellar door

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I stayed at Rambouillet Winery for about 30 minutes tasting their Chardonnay, three Sauvignon Blancs and a Shiraz.

During my time at the cellar door, I learnt that they planted truffle trees late last year on the property and that the cellar door was designed in a simple French country style and built by the family.

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The purpose built cellar door (and Alan on the park bench under the veranda)

I left with a few bottles in tow and met back up with Bryce after he had finished his ride so we could head off to Hidden River Estate, Winery and Restaurant.

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The entrance into Hidden River Estate

We arrived just before the kitchen closed for a delicious lunch. I chose the Vegetarian pumpkin gnocchi (chickpeas, zucchini, baby kale, semi-dried tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta and za’atar) and Bryce opted for the Pulled Beef Cheeks (gnocchi, blueberries, parmesan and finger limes) which was a special for the day. You can also jump onto the Hidden River website to view the lunch time menu.

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Vegetarian pumpkin gnocchi with a glass of Picardy Pinot Noir

Pulled Beef Cheeks which was partnered with a glass of Hidden River Merlot

This was also the first time we had both tried finger limes (the pink bits in the image above). It was the food that I was most excited about trying while in Pemberton! You can hear more about the fruit from this abc radio recording.

It was also here where we met with winemakers Dan from Picardy and Ash from Lost Lake Wines. an event organised by Uneartherd Pemberton.

Unearthed Pemberton “Meet the Winemaker” event held at Hidden River Estate

 

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Image sourced from Instagram

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Picardy had five wines on offer for tasting

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Lost Lakes Wines had six, however as we were a little tight for time and I was planning to visit the Lost Lakes Wines cellar door the next day, I only tasted two of their wines

The highlights for me were the Picardy Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir and the Lost Lakes Pinot Noir Rose. The region is ideal for growing both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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Make sure before you leave the winery that you grab a photo on their red bench seat as we did – It makes for a striking photo opportunity

Saturday – Pemberton Self Drive Winery Tour

We again left our campsite quite late, however this was due to us going for a quick 10km run around the Warren River Loop Walk. A highlight for both of us!

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One of the many picturesque stops along the Warren River Loop – the Warren River Lookout

The Travelling Corkscrew and I are very proactive with what we have coined “active drinking”. You can read more about how the Travelling Corkscrew drinks wine every night and still remains healthy.

It was Saturday that I took over the Travelling Corkscrew Instagram Stories and my first destination was the Manjimup Farmers Market.

The Manjimup Farmers Market was hosted in Pemberton as a part of the Unearthed Pemberton Festival

We first walked around the markets buying some of the local produce including freshly cooked chestnuts, which neither of us had tried previously, a bag of avocados, Karri honey and a cob loaf consisting of figs, dates and pear.

I was fortunate enough that Bryce had offered to chauffeur me around the region for the day which meant I was free to try all the wines on offer at the market and various other locations during the day.

There were three wineries who had stalls at the markets.

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Woodgate Wines had a number of white and red wine varieties to try, including this Rose

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Clinton of Chateau June-Jerome holding a bottle of Syrah

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Montford Organic Wines & Tangletoe Cider where we bought a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc and the Tangletoe Scrumpy Cider

I tasted through each of the ranges and I was super impressed with the Woodgate 2015 Reserve Fume Sauv Blanc and the 2016 Rose. From Chateau June Jerome I absolutely loved the 2017 Rose and the 2016 Chardonnay and from Montford Organic Wines & Tangletoe Cider it was the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and the Tangletoe Scrumpy Cider that did it for me.

We finished up at the markets around midday and headed off to our first winery for the day; Silkwood Winery for a 12:30 lunch.

The entrance to the Silkwood Winery cellar door and restaurant

We decided to share a couple of dishes as everything looked and sounded amazing. We found this to be the case with most menus we looked at during our stay.

We chose the house made sourdough with cultured butter; fried brussel sprouts (tomato chilli sauce, soy honey peanuts and coriander); spiced duck leg (spring onion pancake, daikon, wasabi mayo); and the Pemberton marron (crumbed in nori and seeds, avocado and pemberton finger limes).

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Sourdough and fried brussel sprouts

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Crumbed Pemberton marron with a glass of Silkwood’s The Walcott Pinot Noir 

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A close up of a finger lime

Once we had selected our meals, we moved into the tasting room to try the wines.

While tasting the wines, we asked about the two ranges; The Walcott and The Bowers. The back of The Walcott bottle explains the history of the name, while I can’t recall the background to The Bowers name. Do you know how the name came about? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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A little history about Pemberton Walcott

After tasting through their range of wines, I chose a glass of The Walcott Pinot Noir, while Bryce chose a glass of The Bowers Riesling to pair with our meal.

We left around 2:30 for our next destination; Pemberley of Pemberton.

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The entrance into Pemberley of Pemberton

Monica had reached out to the Travelling Corkscrew prior to my trip to Pemberton, and we were emailing one another, so it was fantastic to finally meet with her and Dave that afternoon. Bryce and I were keen to visit the vinery as they were hosting Sculpture in the Vines, running until Sunday 6th May as well as offering tastings.

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Some of the artwork on show at Sculpture in the Vines

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Monica mentioned that Dave would be taking a group of people down to one of their dams to catch some marron and if Bryce and I were interested we were invited to go along. With this in mind, we decided to quickly pop over to Lost Lake Winery.

I had mentioned to Ash the winemaker the day before at the Hidden River Meet the Winemakers event that I would be popping by and sure enough when Bryce and I arrived, the woman at the cellar door asked if I was that person as Ash had given her the heads up that I would be dropping by.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived at the winery was the striking painted mural. We later learnt that this was painted by Mr Steve Cross who also reimagined the Lost Lake wine label.

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The mural by Mr Steve Cross

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We tasted through seven of their wines and a cider; Green with Envy where we learnt that they source the apples directly from neighbouring farms.

We did however miss out trying their Tickled Pink Cider, which is currently sold out. This cider is made using local Pink Lady Apples.

We ended up walking away from Lost Lake Winery with a couple of bottles, including the Pinot Noir Rose and the Pinot Noir. And yes, I think I am a little addicted to cool climate Pinot Noir!

Before we departed, we made sure to check out the red boat in the dam, which is also found on the label and the swing.

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The swing overlooking one of the dams on the property

We left Lost Lake Winery and made our way back to Pemberley of Pemberton just in time for the 4:30PM departure to the dam. We watched as the group pulled up the marron nets and I even picked up one of the Marron to get a quick photo before letting it escape back into the dam.

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Pulling up the marron nets from the dam

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The marron escapees

Once back at the cellar door, we took another look around the sculptures, the blue swinging chairs and we were in awe watching the sunset over the vines. We also took a quick look at their veggie garden before tasting through the wines.

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Bryce taking some time-out of chauffeuring to pose for a quick photo

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Pemberley of Pemberton at sunset

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My standout favourite was their Chardonnay.

Originally we were going to cook our dinner back at the camp, but as we left later than we had anticipated, we decided to head into town and have a bite to eat at Treehouse Tapas & Wine Bar where we shared a bottle of the Below and Above 2013 Pinot Noir.

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Below and Above 2013 Pinot Noir – I think I have a Pinot Noir obsession??!

Sunday – Sightseeing

We spent the day Sunday sightseeing, including:

    • Climbing the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree
    • Grabbing a Chai Latte from Cafe Brasil in Pemberton
    • Visiting Beedelup Falls in Beedelup National Park
    • Driving to Yeagarup Dunes (4WD) and fishing (unsuccessfully) at Yeagarup Beach
    • Finished our day enjoying the full moon from the Yeagarup Dunes

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Sunset at Yeagarup Beach

Monday – Depart Pemberton for Perth

Monday was our day to pack up and sadly depart Pemberton.

I must admit, I did spend some time gazing at the property on offer in the window at the local real estate office while Bryce filled up his vehicle before we left town just after 9AM.

On our way home we did stop in briefly to see if Tall Timbers in Manjimup were open as I would have loved to see all the wines that the Southern Forests region has on offer – several wineries within the region do not have a cellar door, so Tall Timbers is a perfect opportunity to become acquainted with local wines. Unfortunately it was too early in the day, but I do look forward to stopping in when I visit the region again. They also have a Cafe / Restaurant attached to the venue which is dog friendly.

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The entry into Tall Timbers in Manjimup

Overall Bryce and I had a fantastic time in Pemberton and can’t wait to visit again. To be honest, we really didn’t want to leave and could have easily spent more time visiting wineries and sightseeing. There is so much to do and see!

My piece of advice to you. Don’t let the drive time discourage you from visiting this wonderful part of Western Australia. Just think about all of the amazing cool climate wine you will be able to drink (including Pinot Noir) while relaxing in one of many accommodation options available. If you’re keen to visit, but don’t have a designated driver, there are several tour options available and where else can you easily find finger limes on every menu you read?

So no more excuses. Get out and visit Pemberton.

Let me know in the comments below when you plan to visit Pemberton, or the last time you were there and what you got up to.

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...