By Fergal Gleeson
Whicher Ridge is a small family owned winery that has caught the eye of wine critics. There’s a ‘5 Star Rating’ from the Halliday Companion and a 2019 Gourmet Traveller ‘Star Cellar Door’ Award. Cathy Howard and husband Neil have impressive experience in the wine industry with Cathy having worked at Orlando, St Hallett and Watershed wines and Neil at Taltarni, Blue Pyrenees and Sandalford.
But the desire was there to do their own thing. And after scouring the region for the perfect site they planted grapes. Whicher Ridge released it’s first wines over 10 years ago.
Their Cellar Door has the only Wine Sensory Garden in Australia. Inspired by a garden in Napa Valley, it is designed in a figure of 8/ infinity pattern to encourage visitors to wander and discover.
There are two sections for each grape variety, a descriptor bed and an affinity bed. The descriptor beds are planted out with fruiting plants, herbs and flowering plants which have aromas and flavours comparable to different wine varieties. The Affinity beds are planted with seasonal vegetables to give suggestions to visitors as to what flavours and textures in the various plants will match particular wines.
You’ll meet Cathy in person at the cellar door along with her friendly dog Polly, a black kelpie. Visitors can choose from a number of wine tasting experiences including self-guided or guided tastings and garden tours, and a tasting with the winemaker.
Visitors can wander through the garden with or without a glass of wine in hand. You’re welcome to bring a picnic or play a game of petanque. An on-line picnic hamper booking option will be available soon.
With the warmer months on the way, Cathy recommends the Whitetail Sparkling Chardonnay, The Jetty Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and the Whicher Ridge Elevage Sauvignon Blanc. There are also two Rosés coming soon!
More at http://www.whicherridge.com.au
Just outside of Donnybrook lies a family owned winery, run by Fil and Kelly Barrecas, that offers a little taste of Italy. Kelly explains their inspiration.
“Fil has a connection to a lifestyle based around that of his ancestors in Italy, where growing, producing and consuming wine is a part of everyday culture,” she says.
“Barrecas was born of wanting to create a space for everyone to come together over family, friendship and a glass of wine- a simple and yet opulent pleasure of life. I guess that is really the true inspiration, to connect and create!”
Barrecas have an interesting range of Italian varietals such as Barbera, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese other alternatives such as Pinotage, Zinfandel, Malbec, Viognier and Port wine as well some of the more familiar faces such as Shiraz, a Cab Merlot blend, Chardonnay and a Semillon Sauvignon blend.
As one of the pioneering viticulturists they’ve learnt over 25 years what grapes excel and “what our wine list does not require” Kelly says. “Geographe producers are creating unique but world renowned wines,” she says. “It’s an exciting time to be in Geographe making wine.”
Barrecas also make a cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil onsite at their own mill from four different olive varietals.
Barrecas cellar door is an intimate space which Kelly and Fil have fashioned to create a feeling of home and history. “There is a mural like painting by local artist Linda Skrolys which is full of symbolism and history of the family,” Kelly says.
“Expect to be treated like a long lost family member!” The cellar door offers tea and coffee, with grazing boxes and cheese platters available on the weekend.
With spring and summer on the way, “The Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are great wines for entertaining,” she tells me “Great with a wide range of foods and show bright beautiful fruit which is balanced with nice acidity.”
More at http://www.barrecas.com.au
From Found Magazine