Nifwl Seirff

Dunsborough and surrounds, Western Australia - November 2009

The drive to Dunsborough was alternately amusing and frustrating, because both the GPS navigation app, and the Google maps had not been updated to know about the new highway. So it took a little while longer to reach Dunsborough than originally planned, and we missed our flight from Melbourne to Perth (but were able to board the next one, 1.5 hours later, thank you Qantas!).

The beaches along the coast (Indian ocean) are pristine, sparsely populated, and gorgeous. The towns are small, and the shops close early. There is a fantastic sourdough bakery hidden away in the back streets of Yellingup - look for the hand-drawn sign of a flame, which may or may not be placed on the main road.

The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is varied, although most of it is coastal. You can walk from one lighthouse to the other, but it is recommended that you take 10 days to complete the hike! The national Park includes several impressive (but smallish) caves, a little in from the coast line.

flickr | nifwlseirff | Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

The Margaret River wine region has a range of excellent wines, available from winery cellar doors, and a small collection of boutique beers. Some of my preferred ones will be described in the table below, once I get time to actually sort my wine tasting notes!. We went on an excellent group tour and an even nicer, tailored individual tour with the Taste the South wine and brewery tour company. (my wine tasting notes)

The Margaret River Dairy, a chocolate company, an excellent ice creamery, and a few olive oil plantations are some of the other attractions in the area. We stayed out of the towns though, so I do not know what other retail shops are in the area.

The trip back was with Tiger airlines, and thanks to the overtly rude check-in staff and flight attendants (and the fact the a tiny bottle of water costs $3 during the flight), we will not be flying with them again.

Someday I would like to return and do the cape to cape walk in spring, to see the Western Australian wildflowers in full bloom, but that may be in the distant future!

flickr | nifwlseirff | Western Australia 2009

Wine notes

I am not an experienced taster, and I certainly do not know or use the wine-tasting terminology. The notes below are my thoughts on the wines I tasted, you will most likely think something completely different!

Winery Name Year Notes
Adinfern Shepherds Rhapsody 2009 Semillon sauvignon blanc, very drinkable, not too sweet or dry.
Sauvignon blanc 2009 Citrussy and dry, with a strong tang. Not my style of white.
Merlot 2006 Dry and strong, would age well.
Cabinet sauvignon 2005 Dry, strong and very acidic. I didn't like this one.
Shiraz 2005 Drinkable, only slightly acidic.
Shepherds Serenade 2009 Autumn semillon, light, drinkable and would work well with Thai.
Shepherds Harmony 2009 Autumn cabernet sauvignon Shiraz, chilled. Nondescript, not sure how it would age.
Shepherds Fanfare 2009 Sparkling sauvignon blanc, with an interesting cork. Drinkable, not so dry and slightly fizzy. Yum!
Bettanay Semillon sauvignon blanc 2008 Slightly dry but drinkable.
Sauvignon blanc 2009 Smoother than the 2008 blend, and very drinkable.
Sweet dreams - Sweet, light, fresh, fruity and must be well chilled. Excellent!
Cabernet merlot 2006 Light for a cabernet merlot and not so dry.
Shiraz 2007 Warm finish, very dry. I didn't like this so much.
Cabernet sauvignon 2007 Good, even better with food!
First blush - Wine with a light infusion of chilli. Mildly warm, I know people who'd like this.
Hot flush - Strongly infused with chilli, not as sweet as first blush, and hot!
Edwards Sauvignon blanc 2008 Dry smell, strong taste but less dry than expected.
Semillon sauvignon blanc 2009 Dry, strong and acidic. Not my type of white.
Sauvignon blanc semillon 2009 (Tigers tale) Not a nice aftertaste, but a nice smell.
Chardonnay - Complex flavour, smooth and a nice aftertaste.
Shiraz 2007 Smooth for a shiraz, easy drinking.
Cabernet sauvignon 2007 Interesting start, but not a smooth finish, and very dry.
Cabernet sauvignon merlot 2007 Much drier than previous wines, very acidic finish and a lingering aftertaste. Chocolate would go well after this.
Happs Muscat (pink) 2009 Sweet, but not overly so. Very drinkable, even by people who don't normally drink sweet wines.
Tintanello 2005 Drinkable, not too dry.
Three Hills Merlot 2007 Fairly drinkable, but would benefit from aging for longer.
Pale Gold 2009 Sweet, light, would work well with lime and ice.
Hayshed Hill / Pitchfork Sauvignon blanc semillon 2008 Vineyard series, characterless, boring.
Block semillon sauvignon blanc - (Barrel) Bit drier and not a good finish.
Pitchfork semillon sauvignon blanc 2008 Bit drier again, but a much nicer finish. Needs to be partnered with interesting food.
Block 6 Chardonnay - Fresher than usual for a chardonnay, dry finish. Not my style of white.
Pitchfork pink 2009 Not overly sweet, yum!
Hayshed Hill shiraz tempranillo 2008 Dry, tasty and has character. Would go well with a BBQ.
Hayshed Hill tempranillo 2007 Smoother and less dry. Not my favourite.
Cabernet merlot 2008 Dryish, not my choice for a first bottle of the evening, otherwise drinkable.
Vineyard series cabernet sauvignon 2008 Strong, smell and taste, acidic and lingering finish. Pair with chorizo rissoto.
Cabernet franc 2008 Lighter, drinkable but boring.
Muscat - Lighter muscat, not so sweet, drinkable. In between a liqueur and a sweet wine. I'm not sure how I feel about this one.
Howard Park / Mad Fish Mad Fish reisling 2007 Dry, strong, typical reisling.
Sauvignon blanc semillon 2007 Drinkable, but otherwise uninteresting.
Premium white - Meh - I didn't like this one.
Rose 2008 Chilled, and tasted like weak cordial.
Late harvest reisling - Surprisingly sweet, and not my style.
Moscato low alcohol chilled spritz - Weak - tasted like lemonade, but extremely sweet. Yuck!
Pinot noir 2008 Slight chill, average taste, have had much more impressive pinots.
Premium red cabernet merlot - Odd, smokey, peppery and dry.
Shiraz 2005 Dry, acidic, and not worth it.
Carnelian hybrid 2007 Drinkable with food.
Howard Park leston shiraz 2004 Smooth, subtle, rounded with a nice aftertaste.
Howard Park muscat - Excellent - sweet, but not overly so, complex with a beautiful scent.
Lenton Brae Semillon sauvignon blanc 2009 Drinkable, smooth with a nice aftertaste, but not that strong a flavour.
Chardonnay 2008 Nice finish.
Rose 2009 Fresh, but dry for a rose
Cabernet sauvignon 2006 Bad weather, drinkable, but not good.
Cabernet sauvignon 2007 Medal winner, but still I didn't like it.
Late harvest semillon 2008 Sweet, and moderately drinkable. Not my style though.
Mongrel Creek Sparkling shiraz - Not tasted, but recommended.
Pallandri The Estates Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008 Smooth, and good for hot days.
Baldivis classic dry white 2008 Dry and nondescript.
Cabernet sauvignon merlot 2005 Very drinkable, dry finish followed by a well rounded aftertaste.
Cabernet sauvignon 2005 (Vita novus) Drinkable, dry, plenty of tannins. Good with food.
The Growers Rose - Not sweet, lightly sparkling, very drinkable.
Cleanskin cabernet merlot - Perfectly drinkable, innoffensive.
Moscato (Peppermint Grove) - Excellent! A sweet but clean finish - loved this wine!
Cackleberry tawny port 2009 Smooth, but has a much stronger smell than taste.
Willespie Verdelho 2000 Odd but interesting and smooth - I enjoyed it.
Sauvignon Blanc 2002 No character, uninteresting
Semillon Sauvignon 2002 No character, uninteresting
Merlot 2005 Would be good with food, less dry than most merlots, but with a dry finish.
Cabernet blend 2002 Flat, uninteresting, boring.
Cabinet Sauvignon 2001 Mild, smooth, slightly acidic finish. Not my style.
Black Jewel (port) 2002 Excellent, very fresh.
White gold (verdelho) 2000 Chilled, amazingly smooth. Yum!