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Nathan Bailey
 
7 August 2017 | Nathan Bailey

All about Malbec

Purple, inky and thick-skinned – sounds like a description of a deep-sea monster, right? Wrong. These descriptors illustrate the characteristics of magical Malbec, the grape variety with big, bold flavours that’s fast losing its reputation as a blending back-up and quickly gaining traction as a single varietal wine in Australia, Chile, California and Argentina, where its reputation as the “national variety” is reflected in its status as the most widely planted red grape in the country. Malbec is Argentina’s version of Australia’s Shiraz.

Before Malbec grew to stand on its own, this variety was labelled the underdog from its early days in France’s Burgundy. Word has it that its French name is derived from the term “mal bouche”, which means “bad mouth” – possibly a reference to the opinion held by traditional winemakers of the time.

Employed as a blending variety by the French for hundreds of years, Malbec remains one of the six grape varieties allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine and is now predominantly planted in Cahors in South West France, where AOC regulations require Malbec comprise at least 70% of the blend with Merlot and Tannat rounding out the outstanding percentage.

From France, it scooted across the Atlantic to Argentina in the late 1800s with French agricultural engineer Michel Pouget. Its plantings now equate to more than 30,000 hectares in this country alone, with vineyards in Mendoza representing the main component. Argentina’s total Malbec vineyards represent 75% of the world’s plantings of this variety.

For years Malbec was considered a “workhorse” grape for Argentinian wine producers, made into affordable everyday drinking wines. But since Argentinian winemakers began to give this difficult-to-grow variety a little love and attention, especially with advancements in modern winemaking technology, Malbec has grown to be crafted into lovely premium wines that are exported all over the world.

So what’s Argentinian Malbec like? Let’s ask respected wine critic Jancis Robinson. She says,“Good Argentine malbec is deeply coloured, spicily rich with an exuberant juiciness and has a trademark almost velvety texture. It’s not difficult to like.”

As well as Argentina, Malbec is planted in many countries, including France, the US, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, where our plantings have slightly increased since it was introduced in the 19th century. Australia’s  original Malbec clones were of poor quality, so newer clones have been introduced in the late 20th century and to this day, new plantings are springing up in regions all over the country, predominantly in Clare Valley, Heathcote, Barossa Valley, Frankland River, Langhorne Creek, and Margaret River, where Brown Hill’s Oroya Malbec is crafted.

This variety thrives in moderate climates, such as Margaret River and Clare Valley, and boasts a similar palate weight to that of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon – big, juicy and plush with a robust structure and firm tannins. Its flavours range from red plum and blueberry to vanilla, sweet tobacco and cocoa.

Due to our small plantings and the variety’s challenging growing requirements, Brown Hill’s Reserve Oroya is made in limited quantities and in good vintage years only. Like all our grapes, the Malbec variety is estate grown and hand picked, with hand sorting and ageing in Taransaud French Barriques.

The 2016 Oroya is rich purple in colour, with a savoury, earthy palate, full of cherries, mulberries and plum fruits supported by silky tannins through to its never-ending finish. The best way to purchase this wine is to belong to one of Brown Hill’s wine clubs – our limited release wines are offered first to wine club members before the general public.

So why call this wine the Oroya? All Brown Hill’s wines have a connection to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, due to the Bailey family’s union with the mining industry. Oroya was a mine endowed with the richest gold deposits of any on the Golden Mile in Kalgoorlie. The Oroya mine’s history is intense and rich – just like Brown Hill’s expression of the Malbec variety.

Best food matches for Malbec meet this variety’s intensity and boldness in their own flavour characteristics – a rare steak sandwich, an Argentinian chorizo hot pot (now there’s a nice meeting of varietal heritage), or even a robust hard cheese would work well.

Find out more about Brown Hill’s Reserve Oroya Malbec right here  – apologies if the wine has sold out. Stay tuned for the next installment of this small-batch wine.

 

 

Time Posted: 07/08/2017 at 9:20 AM
Nathan Bailey
 
22 June 2017 | Nathan Bailey

Brown Hill’s Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet

Brown Hill’s Winemaker Nathan Bailey gives a rundown on why the Bill Bailey is his favourite wine to make and how it differs from every other wine across Brown Hill’s ranges.

For a start, I’d like to disclose that the Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet is a very special wine, and in fact it is my favourite wine to make. I have a soft spot for the Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet as it’s named after my late Uncle Bill to whom I was very close. Uncle Bill was born and bred in Kalgoorlie and worked as an engineer there all his life. A bit like the conditions under which Bill would have worked, the Bill Bailey is a challenging wine to make. 

In the North East of Italy in the Veneto region, vintners follow an ancient formula in which wine is made from drying raisins on straw mats. This wine is known as Amarone. With its higher concentration and alcohol level, silky Amarone is one of Italy’s most distinctive wines. Learn more about this Italian style of wine in this article from Wine Folly.

The Bill Bailey is grown and made in much the same way as this Amarone style. The grapes are picked four to six weeks later than the other varieties, so the berries are mainly raisins. The result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with soft acid and signature characters of big, rich, intense flavours. 

We only make the Bill Bailey in small parcels and we can’t make this wine every year. Why? As it’s is made in the amarone style, where the grapes are left on the vines longer, it isn’t possible to make this wine when we have a late season. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make the Bill Bailey in 2015 or 2017.

Like Brown Hill’s Great Boulder red, which also sits in the Signature range of wines, the Bill Bailey is a non-traditional blend for Margaret River, being a 50/50 mix of Cabernet and Shiraz.

The 2013 vintage won the trophy in Ray Jordan’s West Australian Wine Guide for Best of the West in its category. This wine now has four years of age up its sleeve and has started to settle down. What stands out is the silkiness. The Cabernet adds structure and the Shiraz, along with the Amarone growing style, adds lusciousness. The nose has aromas of black pepper, mulberry jam, juniper, blackberry and a whiff of eucalyptus. The palate tastes of cassis, vanilla, jam and loganberries.

The 2014 is looking just as compelling – try it for yourself. It’s hard to resist drinking it now but it will most certainly age beautifully over the next 10-15 years. I’d really like you to discover firsthand why this is my favourite wine to make.

Brown Hill’s Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet

Brown Hill’s Winemaker Nathan Bailey gives a rundown on why the Bill Bailey is his favourite wine to make and how it differs from every other wine across Brown Hill’s ranges.

For a start, I’d like to disclose that the Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet is a very special wine, and in fact it is my favourite wine to make. I have a soft spot for the Bill Bailey Shiraz Cabernet as it’s named after my late Uncle Bill to whom I was very close. Uncle Bill was born and bred in Kalgoorlie and worked as an engineer there all his life. A bit like the conditions under which Bill would have worked, the Bill Bailey is a challenging wine to make. 

In the North East of Italy in the Veneto region, vintners follow an ancient formula in which wine is made from drying raisins on straw mats. This wine is known as Amarone. With its higher concentration and alcohol level, silky Amarone is one of Italy’s most distinctive wines. Learn more about this Italian style of wine in this article from Wine Folly.

The Bill Bailey is grown and made in much the same way as this Amarone style. The grapes are picked four to six weeks later than the other varieties, so the berries are mainly raisins. The result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with soft acid and signature characters of big, rich, intense flavours. 

We only make the Bill Bailey in small parcels and we can’t make this wine every year. Why? As it’s is made in the amarone style, where the grapes are left on the vines longer, it isn’t possible to make this wine when we have a late season. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make the Bill Bailey in 2015 or 2017.

Like Brown Hill’s Great Boulder red, which also sits in the Signature range of wines, the Bill Bailey is a non-traditional blend for Margaret River, being a 50/50 mix of Cabernet and Shiraz.

The 2013 vintage won the trophy in Ray Jordan’s West Australian Wine Guide for Best of the West in its category. This wine now has four years of age up its sleeve and has started to settle down. What stands out is the silkiness. The Cabernet adds structure and the Shiraz, along with the Amarone growing style, adds lusciousness. The nose has aromas of black pepper, mulberry jam, juniper, blackberry and a whiff of eucalyptus. The palate tastes of cassis, vanilla, jam and loganberries.

The 2014 is looking just as compelling – try it for yourself. It’s hard to resist drinking it now but it will most certainly age beautifully over the next 10-15 years. I’d really like you to discover firsthand why this is my favourite wine to make.

 

Time Posted: 22/06/2017 at 1:34 PM
Nathan Bailey
 
5 June 2017 | Nathan Bailey

Things to do in Margaret River in Winter

Margaret River’s temperature may have dropped but don’t let that get your winter enthusiasm down – there’s plenty to do right now! Obviously Brown Hill’s cellar door is the perfect winter playtime pursuit, but there are also so many fun activities to keep you and the family busy throughout the cooler months, without having to navigate the peak season crowds. Here are Brown Hill’s top tips for winter fun in Margaret River.

1. Top places to Eat

Eat! Eat! And eat some more! First stop is Margaret River Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning from 8am. Local growers showcase the best of the area’s produce – cheese, fruit, vegies, bread, meat, fish, sweet treats, you name it, it’s at the market.

Chocolate lovers will be in heaven when they step into the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s original factory – it boasts a jaw-dropping range of chocolate products, as well as a café offering visitors light lunches and sweet treats including chocolate fondues, milkshakes, hot drinks, brownies, cakes, cookies, need we go on?

For dinner, there’s nothing quote like fish and chips on the beach in winter time. We often head to The Equinox at the Busselton jetty overlooking Geographe Bay. Grab takeaway and sit under the giant fig trees to watch the sun go down or take advantage of the table service at the restaurant and live it up with a glass of local Margaret River wine.

2.  Climb the lighthouse

Take your trip to new heights by climbing to the top balcony of the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. The stunning panoramic views feature the Indian Ocean, the surrounding Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, the Geographe coastline and the Margaret River region. It’s 13km from Dunsborough and makes a fascinating lesson into the maritime history of the Cape area, with tour guides talking visitors through the working lighthouse, the surrounding cottages and the history of the locale (including a few ghost stories!). If you’ve still got energy after ascending the lighthouse, take one of the walking tracks that lead from the the property to discover more of the local flora and fauna.

3. Cave in

Locals love the fact that our aboveground natural wonders are enhanced by the region’s amazing network of underground caves. Whether it’s Lake Cave, with its spectacular hanging crystal decoration and tranquil lake, or the Jewel Cave in Augusta, home to the longest straw stalactite found in any tourist cave in the world, Margaret River’s caves are a must-see for visitors and locals alike, especially in winter when the crowds are less frantic. Visit this website for more information about the caves, and other natural wonders of the region.

4. Hike or Bike

Margaret River’s walking trails and tracks are world-renowned. From the coastal 140km Cape to Cape Track to scenic bush walks where wild flowers blossom everywhere, there’s a trail or track for every level of walker. And bike lovers beware – whether your pick is mountain biking or road cycling, this region is simply made for wheels. Check out this website for insider tips on the best routes, including coffee pit stops along the way. Visit the Margaret River Region’s Guide for more in-depth information about these activities.

5. Watch the whales

Margaret River’s coastline puts on a show like no other throughout winter and into spring with the epic annual migration of whales from the Southern Ocean to the warmer waters of the Kimberly coast. There’s no better time to see these brilliant beasts of the ocean breach the water and frolic with their friends – for the full rundown on where and when to see these magnificent creatures, read Brown Hill’s Whale Watching blog.

 

 

Time Posted: 05/06/2017 at 4:13 PM
Haydn Millard
 
3 February 2017 | Haydn Millard

Brown Hill 2017 Vintage Update

It’s that time of year again. Green bunches of grapes hang from the vines, nets begin to appear over the vineyard and a sense of a deep breath drawn in and held in anticipation of another coming vintage. The days roll by and there are no longer months but days remaining until we begin harvest and crafting wines for another year. With each day forward a sense of excitement and anticipation grows.

During this time a few things are happening. Maintenance, preparation and vigilance take precedence. We’ve been busy for some time now, checking the vineyard for any repairs that need to be done, and making sure they’re complete. A vineyard is like any farm: there’s never a lack of work to be done. We’re beginning to move indoors, greasing equipment, replacing gaskets and ensuring all the practical considerations are seen to in order to hit the ground running and turn our grapes into the best wine possible.

Above all is the vigilance required to grow a high-quality crop. Nathan and I are walking the rows of vines daily, checking for health and monitoring ripening. Any day now I expect to see the Cabernet turn from green to red. We are always watchful for pests, nutritional deficiencies or damage to the vines. I’m quite pleased to report that every time we take these walks, we’re astounded by how healthy the whole vineyard looks. There’s also the more positive aspect of this monitoring where we attempt to estimate when we will harvest and what yields we should expect.

Summer really is a great time to be in Margaret River. Why not get away for a weekend and come and visit us? From now until the end of April you’re likely to get an insight into winemaking that you’ll rarely be exposed to. As you drive up the driveway you may well see our teams out picking grapes in the morning. In the winery we may be pressing grapes, filling barrels or carefully monitoring fermentation as juice literally becomes wine. 

Time Posted: 03/02/2017 at 5:29 PM
Haydn Millard
 
29 November 2016 | Haydn Millard

Summer in Margaret River

I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, something I’m reminded of this time of year. Summer in Margaret River is a truly remarkable time. Long, warm days of cloudless blue skies. Evenings spent outdoors with the cool, sea breeze blowing in. It’s the perfect time to explore all of the natural beauty this unique region has to offer… visits to the beach where the sand is perfectly white, and the water is crystal clear, shaded the most beautiful blue.

Nestled between the coast and some incredible farmland, Margaret River is lucky to have access to amazing produce and indulge in the fresh, local offerings – always best enjoyed over long lunches and summer dinners. Whether it’s fresh seafood, or the local land food of cheeses, meats and fruit, it’s easy to spend hours grazing long into the afternoon with a bottle of wine shared with friends.

Taking a sip and enjoying that glass of wine is well earned for those of us who have dedicated ourselves to the vines all year. Summer is a busy time. It means long days that start before the sun comes up and end long after dark. It means working weekends and holidays, as the grapes are ready when they’re ripe. They wait for no one. It’s a labour of love when the time comes to pick the fruit and begin crafting our wines with the highest of hopes and the best of intentions.

At the end of those long days are the most memorable of evenings spent gathered with those closest to us. Whether it’s around a barbeque or watching the sun set down at the local pub, summer evenings will always be linked to the nostalgia of warm evenings, stories shared with friends and the taste of cold Chardonnay. When it all winds down there is a deep satisfaction of knowing that another day, week or vintage is over and that we worked hard to accomplish something that will bring people enjoyment.

If you’re planning a visit to our neck of the woods, head to Brown Hill’s other blog posts for activities to try, places to eat and stay, or beaches to take a dip in… there’s plenty of information about great things to do. And, don’t forget to drop into our cellar door while you’re in the area too – we’d love to give you a taste of Margaret River and Rosa Brook’s warm hospitality!

Brown Hill’s guide to summer in Margaret River

 

For beach lovers

From Gnarabup to Hamelin Bay, you’ll feel the sun on your face and the sand under your feet at these top beach spots in our region.

READ MORE

 

For foodies

If you’re looking for a delicious meal to complement a glass of your favourite Brown Hill wine, here’s a list of restaurants around Margaret River that serve our drops. Bon appetit!

READ MORE

 

For art lovers

Margaret River is a hub of creativity, so for the art lovers on holiday, there is plenty of choice when it comes to deciding how to spend your day… from art galleries and jewellery studios to collaborative workshops, there’s a creative scene for everyone.

READ MORE

 

Time Posted: 29/11/2016 at 3:40 PM
Nathan Bailey
 
6 September 2016 | Nathan Bailey

Brown Hill Spring Produce

 

Spring fever has hit! One of the benefits of the new season is all the wonderful produce that becomes available from Margaret River. So allow us to introduce you to a few Brown Hill favourites that are on high rotation in our kitchen throughout spring.

Agonis Ridge Organic Lamb

This Rosa Brook organic farm breeds grass-fed beef and lamb that melts in your mouth. The owners also tend lovingly to 1200 olive trees that produce robustly flavoured oil, processed on the farm in a purpose-built facility. The owners of Agonis Ridge, Mike and Bev Pimm, believe they’re the caretakers of their land and treat it with respect so the practices they establish help future generations continue to cultivate high-quality produce in later years.

The Agonis Ridge Wiltipoll lambs have a winter breeding trait, so availability is subject to seasonal variations, but when it becomes available, we make the most of it. If you’re in the area, drop into Margaret River Farmers’ Markets on a Saturday to purchase Agonis lamb for yourself or email agonis@bluemaxx.com.au.  Serve Agonis Ridge Organic Lamb with our Trafalgar Cabernet Merlot.

Koonac Goat’s Cheese

The cheese from this producer comes from a small commercial goat farm in Rosa Brook, and it’s sensational. All the cheeses are hand made on the farm with the milk from its own goats. It’s available at the Margaret River Farmers’ Markets or directly from the farm. From feta and camembert to swiss and haloumi, Koonac’s cheeses are perfect for spring cooking (and eating!). Pair some goat's cheese with our Lakeview Sauvignon Blanc.

Margaret River Free Range Eggs

The eggs that are borne from this farm are so full of flavour. The owners want their hens to be happy hens, so they allow their chooks to exercise and forage on pasture every day. They believe you can taste “the sunshine in our eggs”. And we agree! They’re available all over the Margaret River region, in restaurants and supermarkets, as well at selected outlets in Perth. 

Darnell’s Potatoes

Alan Darnell and his partner Debbie Serventy run a 120-hectare farm that borders Margaret River in Rosa Brook. It’s a lamb and beef farm, with potatoes and corn as well. Alan and Deb can be found selling their lusciously sweet corn and potatoes at the Margaret River Farmers’ Markets every Saturday morning. Alan’s claim to “Rosa Brook fame” is that his father started our local General Store called Darnell’s many years ago, which is still in operation to this day.

Margaret River Smokery & Deli

This local producer smokes its own beef, lamb and pork – and it’s superb. It’s a recent addition to the Margaret River Farmers Markets and it’s one of the first stalls to sell out. Why? The treatment of the stock (all stock is fed on high-quality grass), the attention to detail of the smoking at the butchery and the slow-cooking of the meat all contribute to creating produce with a holistic farm-to-plate approach.

 

Time Posted: 06/09/2016 at 3:22 PM
Nathan Bailey
 
13 July 2016 | Nathan Bailey

Brown Hill Wine Dinner at Zafferano

Brown Hill’s Zafferano Zest dinner in June was a huge success – the view over Perth’s Swan River enthralled guests while we enjoyed several courses of specially matched dishes for Brown Hill’s wines. Host Elizabeth Killerby entertained us with an Olympic theme on the night: assistant winemaker Haydn Millard and winemaker Nathan Bailey were introduced as athletes competing in a sprint; Angela McCabe, our wine club manager, was introduced as a synchronised swimmer; Chiara Bailey was the torch bearer; and Jim Bailey, Nathan’s dad, was introduced as competing in the weightlifting.

Elizabeth presented two giant gold medals later in the evening to two different customers who have attended every single one of Brown Hill’s wine dinners (five!) to date.  

Assistant Winemaker Haydn Millard took the Olympic theme to the sensory world by leading everyone on a sensory journey. He spoke of wine being a ‘five senses’ experience.

First, the sounds associated with wine – the crack of a stelvin, the fizz of a sparkling wine.

Then, the look of the wine – he asked guests to hold the glass up and appreciate the colour of the wine. 
Thirdly, the smell of the wine.
When we were given the all-clear to taste the wine it was with eyes closed to understand the mouthfeel (the sense of touch).
Then finally, to appreciate the sense of taste, we tasted the wine with eyes open.

All five senses stimulated by one gift from Mother Nature.

As often happens at Brown Hill’s dinners, guests were treated to a ‘Mystery Museum’ wine – and the 2006 Fimiston Reserve Shiraz dazzled us with its youthful energy. We had a selection of museum wines available on the night to purchase in special packs. If you’re interested in Brown Hill’s museum stock, attending one of Brown Hill’s dinners is the only way to taste and purchase these rare wines. We don’t offer this stock at any other time throughout the year.

Brown Hill’s dinners are such great fun that fans now tend to book on their own or in couples because that way they meet more interesting people when Brown Hill is given creative license to make up the tables for them.

Details are about to be released for Brown Hill’s next wine dinner to be held in November. Stay tuned. (Remember, wine club members receive news of these dinners before anyone else!) 

Time Posted: 13/07/2016 at 9:05 AM
Nathan Bailey
 
20 June 2016 | Nathan Bailey

Whale Watching in Margaret River

Margaret River’s coastline puts on a show like no other from May through to December, showcasing the epic annual migration of whales from the Southern Ocean to the warmer waters of the Kimberly coast. Watching these magnificent creatures is a regular pastime for the Brown Hill team – in fact our own Nathan and Jim went fishing a few years ago during whale season and enjoyed a visit from a whale underneath their dinghy. Nathan was thinking to himself ‘this whale is going to tip us over’ but thankfully the giant made its way out to sea without even scraping the base of the boat. So here are our tips for watching these beauties head north.

Whales in abundance

Thanks to the tighter regulation of whale conservation, the whale population has been restored to the tens of thousands, with an estimated 35,000 whales making the journey from the icy Antarctic to the warmer waters in the north of Australia. The good news is that these majestic creatures take a while to reach their destination, so the whale-watching season spans from May to early December, providing ample time to spot a humpback, rare blue or southern right.

Where to find them?

In the early months, from May to September, whales can be spotted playing in the waters of Flinders Bay in Augusta. Take your binoculars and try to spot the rare sight of a southern right and humpback whale interacting. Well known for their agility, male humpbacks group together in a macho posse, where they tail slap and breach in amazing feats of acrobatics. This activity plays a major role in the courtship process.   

After the first few months, the humpbacks head directly north where the pregnant females give birth to their calves. But they haven’t disappeared – they return to Geographe Bay near Busselton and Dunsborough to nurse their babies from September through to early December. Catch the tail end of the whale-watching season by joining a tour at or heading to Rottnest Island, Fremantle, Hillarys, or back to Busselton and Dunsborough.

Whale watching tours 

The shoreline is a fine vantage point from which to catch sight of these beauties, but there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with a whale to fully comprehend the magnitude of their size and awesome agility, not to mention all the incidental marine life that presents itself while cruising the ocean. Most tours depart from Augusta, Dunsborough and Busselton. Head here for more information about whale-watching tours and specific vantage points for your best chance to view these gentle giants of the ocean.

Time Posted: 20/06/2016 at 1:28 PM
Nathan Bailey
 
17 May 2016 | Nathan Bailey

Insiders Guide to Margaret River

Margaret River comes alive in autumn. The vineyards are breath taking – burnt orange and golden browns colour the landscape – and the mild weather (and lack of crowds!) makes it the perfect time of year to get out and about in nature’s glorious wonderland. Fill out your Margaret River itinerary with these ideas from the team at Brown Hill.

Boranup Karri Forest

One of Margaret River’s most distinctive natural characteristics is its Karri trees. These tall, pale beauties stride high, reaching heights of 60m or more. Boranup Karri Forest is one of the best spots to enjoy these giants on their hilly slopes along with all the lush, green foliage of the forest. Jump in your car and do the Boranup Drive (suitable for conventional cars), winding through the forest to Boranup Campground, which makes the perfect destination for a picnic lunch. Along the way stop at Boranup Lookout where sweeping views back over the forest and the coast, west to Hamelin Bay, make it the perfect day out. Enter the forest drive from Caves Road.

Cape Lighthouses

Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouses make magnificent locations from which to take in the grand views across the powerful oceans and the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Both working lighthouses offer visitors guided tours, showcasing their life-saving operations that are carried out from dusk ‘til dawn. The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is situated near Dunsborough and is an easy climb for visitors with a magical reward at its peak with views over Geographe Bay. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is Australia’s tallest lighthouse, perched at the most southwesterly point of Australia where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet.

Margaret River Caves

Margaret River’s aboveground natural wonders are given a run for their money by the region’s caves. Lake Cave is home to the “suspended table”, a spectacular crystal decoration weighing several tonnes. The cave’s tranquil lake reflects all the delicate formations within the limestone cave and its dramatic entrance sees visitors descend a staircase beneath the towering karri trees.

Jewel Cave in Augusta is WA’s biggest show cave, and home to one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world. This is a dazzling crystal discovery tour, and at the end visitors can enjoy the amazing Karri Walk or the educational, café or retail experiences on offer.

Mammoth Cave is the most easily accessed of all the caves in Margaret River, the first chamber being wheelchair friendly. Wander through this enormous self-guided cave at your own pace using an MP3 audio tour or be silently awed by the ancient fossil remains of giant animals known as Australian Megafauna marsupials. Visit this website for more information and tickets.

Margaret River Cellar Doors

The chillier weather and the kaleidoscope of autumnal colours across the vineyards make autumn the perfect time to cruise around the region, tasting wines and taking in the tales from all our wonderful winemakers. Enjoy a long winery lunch then drop in to Brown Hill to make new discoveries or try old favourites. We’ll be ready and waiting with a glass in hand! There are also great guided Margaret River tours for food and wine lovers.  

Margaret River Farmers’ Markets

Margaret River Farmers’ Markets showcase many of the fantastic producers from our region every Saturday morning. Our friends and Rosa Brook locals Debbie Serventy and Alan Darnell have a stall where they sell their corn and other produce. Mike and Bev Pimm from Agonis Ridge sell their organic meat and olive oil products. Koonac Goat Farm sells its cheese and wares, and Mike from The Berry Farm sells his avocados (at a great price!). All year round these markets are a must-visit. Open every Saturday, 8am-12pm.

 

Time Posted: 17/05/2016 at 10:30 PM
Haydn Millard
 
17 May 2016 | Haydn Millard

Margaret River Regional Distinctions

It must have been impossible for the residents of Margaret River in 1960 to imagine what their town would become. In that year, Margaret River was a small settlement a few hours south of Perth with timber and cattle industries as well as an emerging culture of surfers and hippies. It was, however, in that year that Dr John Gladstones came to town. Dr Gladstones hailed from the Swan Valley, with a family history in agriculture. On behalf of the University of Western Australia, he studied the soils, the climate and the local flora of the Southwest. Within a year he had published his findings, which suggested the suitability for viticulture. 

Skip forward another four and a half decades and what we have is a wine-producing region, which is recognised worldwide for producing high-quality wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. There is nowhere known for growing grapes in this country more influenced by a maritime climate. The long warm days of summer slowly ripen Cabernet while the cool evenings allow the vines to rest and retain freshness and vibrancy in the grapes and winds from the West blow through the vines, keeping disease at bay and the fruit pristine. Meanwhile, the gravelly soils of the southwest drain freely, allowing intensity of flavour to build. 

This climate, identified so early by Dr Gladstones, produces Cabernet of distinction and finesse: a unique style and character that is Margaret River’s own. While Margaret River Cabernet can be drunk young and vibrant, it becomes its own reward when aged a few years. Flavours of dark cherry, black currant and raspberry accompanied by smoky cedar and tobacco notes from savvy winemaking. Above all, the hallmark of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is in its texture: full flavoured but just shy of full bodied. Expect fine, long tannins and a savoury finish, which lingers. 

Finally, to honour this great variety from this unique region as it deserves, be sure to enjoy it properly. Red wine should ideally be served cool but not cold. Also, wine is very much alive and as such it is important to let it breathe. After pouring your wine, allow it to stand in the glass for just ten minutes. You’ll be amazed by the improvement. In closing, great wine is best served with great company. A wonderful bottle shared between old friends sharing memories and creating new ones is one of the finest experiences in life. 

Time Posted: 17/05/2016 at 10:10 PM