Saturday, 7 June 2014

Perth City Wine

The advertisements for Perth City Wine have been floating around for a few months now.  I had been tossing up whether or not to go, as Friday night drinks in the Perth CBD tends to involve elbow-to-armpit crowds and long lines for drinks.  However, due to a few reputable sources who were supporting the event, in addition to my unabating desire to try something new in the world of wine, I thought it was worth it. So I dragged my husband along to Urban Orchard at Northbridge for a squiz.

Patrons at Perth City Wine
Luckily, my current city job hours allow me to finish at 3.30pm if I start early and work through my lunch break, which is exactly what my game plan was so that I could earn an early spot at the bar. Upon arrival, my husband and I were excited to hear live music echoing from inside the stylish suite of marquis and were also glad we were neither the first to arrive nor swamped in a crowd of entrants.

We decided to follow the horseshoe shaped series of stalls from left to right, as any law-abiding citizen would be accustomed to do.  There were some old favourites of ours to start off the afternoon, such as House of Cards and Chapman Grove.  These guys really got us going with their 'Queen of Hearts' Chardonnay and Atticus Cabernet Sauvignon respectively.

I was excited by the number of wineries that I had never heard of before, many who do not have a cellar door (yet).  Here are some that stood out to me:

52 Stones
We were interested by the Chardonnay being produced at 52 Stones.  They had three for tasting from 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages.  For me, the 2011 'Mumma' Chardonnay definitely had the best balance between oak and acidity.  52 Stones was formed by a group of young enterpreneurs who decided to start off by getting their chardy right before moving on to producing reds from some interesting plantings.  Look out for some Gamay and Alicante Bouchet coming soon.

Also from the Ferguson Valley area, inland from Bunbury, was Talisman Wines.  I was immediately impressed by their extensive range and professional stall front.  Being a sucker for a good riesling, I was a huge fan of their 2009, which displayed the honeyed, gasoline aromas that develop in quality riesling as it matures.  Their red wines were excellent in general, however I was particularly taken by the forest pine aromas of their elegant 2010 Cabernet Malbec, as well as the luxurious earthiness of their 16.3% alcohol, dry 2011 Zinfandel.

Woodgate Wines
Another exciting winery I would suggest watching out for is Woodgate Wines at Manjimup who had a deep and complex merlot, but more interestingly, are going to be releasing a Pinot Gris and a Barbera later this year.

Having visited all the stalls, many at which we had the opportunity to speak directly to the winemaker themselves, it was time to relax in the beautiful Urban Orchid gardens with a glass of Zinfandel and a tasting plate of pastry goodness from Creative Catering (think lamb and vegetable pie and rabbit rolls).  We even had the opportunity to be serenaded with a Phil Collins golden-oldie, complete with didgeridoo!

My take-aways from the day were:
1. Ferguson Valley is definitely a place to keep an eye on in the next few years.  
2. Western Australia continues to surprise with new and innovative boutique wineries.

Thanks to the organisers and promoters of Perth City Wine for an excellent and educational evening.