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GUIDE margaret river
Tour operators have a collective knowledge that’s worth bottling.
They’re fonts of information and generally love to share tasty snippets
that you’re hard-pressed to discover on your own. The price of a tour
buys you access to a lifetime of experience – it’s a great way to get to
know a region fast. By way of a sampler, we’ve plucked some pearls of
wisdom from those in the know.
Top Drop Tours, which runs personalised and custom-designed tours that
get people into small, lesser-known cellar doors, is a relative newcomer to
Margaret River’s wine-touring scene. Chris O’Hare, from Top Drop Tours,
shares some of his favourite tasting stop-offs.
Gralyn Estate | Owned by the Hutton family, Gralyn specialise in very
high-end red wines and amazing fortified wines. They only sell from
the cellar door, so if you don’t visit, you’ll never try it. In terms of wine
quality, they’re up there with the Leeuwins of the world.
Beckett’s Flat | It’s owned by Noni and Bill Ilic and their dog Bogart – the
Doberman gets almost as much attention as the wine. They’re well-known
for having made Margaret River’s original sparkling shiraz, and they also
do a sparkling white. Their sparkling is what sets them apart.
Lenton Brae | Another family-owned (by Jeanette and Bruce Tomlinson)
business, they’ve been winning some huge awards over the past 12 months
for their whites – namely their chardonnay and sauvignon blanc semillon.
Flying Fish Cove | Possibly Margaret River’s most relaxed cellar door. The
blend of fantastic wine and the love of surf make Flying Fish Cove one
of our favourite stops. It is hard to beat their Wildberry Estate cabernet
sauvignon, but The Italian Job does give it a run for its money.
Hay Shed Hill | It’s a really good one for people getting started on
drinking wine. They do several different wines of the same variety,
such as chardonnay that’s been grown on the sunny side of the hill
or the shady side, or three different versions of cabernet sauvignon.
People think it’s a load of nonsense when ‘wine wallies’ talk about it,
but here you can taste them side by side and really taste the difference.
They’ve also got a deli and cafe.
Knee Deep | The wines are really good – particularly Kelsea’s Reserve
cabernet sauvignon and the summery rose – and the restaurant is fabulous.
Marri Wood Park | It’s an amazing example of biodynamics at work. Lisa
and Julian Wright have a standard range of wines made by big-name
contract winemakers, and Julian has started making his own batch. Try
the chenin blanc for a pleasant surprise. If you’re lucky, Julian will share
his secret stash straight from the barrel room.
10/12/10 6:06:49 PM
10/12/10 6:06:49 PM
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