Sunday, 15 June 2014

Oxford Hotel Wine, Food and Beer Festival

I arrived at the Oxford Hotel on a gorgeously sunny winter afternoon. There had been much hype about the annual Wine, Food and Beer Festival - I had heard that it gets packed out pretty quickly.  For this reason, I was surprised to arrive at 2pm to a very quiet Oxford Hotel, where the staff informed me that ticket sales were significantly down from the previous year.

Of course, this was not a deterrent - more wine for me!  

To be honest, I'm not quite sure why the event was advertised as 'Wine, Food and Beer' because there were no food stalls and only 2 beer stalls (Nail Ale and James Squire).  In saying that, the nibblies served from the Oxford Hotel kitchen were quite passable - I really enjoyed the spicy calamari and mini shepherd's pies.  

upstairs at the Oxford Hotel
The stalls were set up in a U-shape out in the Garden Bar as well as upstairs in the private function area.  Both spaces were beautiful and added a classy element to the event.  Wineries from Margaret River were predominant alongside quite a few Wine Reps/Distributors.

For me, there were two stand-out wine companies featured on the day:

My favourite was  Miles from Nowhere, an endeavour by Frank Tate (ex Evans & Tate).  His premium range wines under the 'Best Block' label were outstanding.  The Semillon Sauvignon Blanc had a lovely mouthfeel which I am sure could be attributed to the contribution of 12% barrel fermented semillon.  Building from this, the use of oak in the 2013 Chardonnay resulted in butterscotch and caramel notes which played perfectly with the stone fruit characteristics.  And to finish with, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon packed a punch with its surprisingly intense fruit and spice, and length to match.

excellent wines and friendly service at Miles from Nowhere

It was a pleasure to meet Michael Goundrey, who has started some interesting new labels from his vineyards scattered around Denmark, Mt Barker and Frankland River.  It probably helps that I am a huge fan of these cool climate regions at the moment!

Blackberry Hill from Denmark stood out for me.  The lemongrass flavour of the Sauvignon Blanc was outstanding and the Shiraz Grenache was dry, chalky and rustic.  Wild fermented chardonnay from his Serendipity range was also excellent.