Wouldn’t you know it. The day they had a bus service running between the wineries, was the day we checked out of the campsite. It was obvious from the start, that we were going to be racing the tour coaches at each stop. Our first was Cape Mentelle, Veuve Cliquot’s Margaret River subsidiary. (Marlborough’s “Cloudy Bay” is another.)
As we pulled in, the dreaded bus was just leaving, having already deposited its passengers at the tasting counter. Frankly, we didn’t enjoy Cape Mentelle wines half as much as New Zealand’s Cloudy Bay, but the Semillon Chardonnay was good, as were the inexpensive Magnum blends.
Next was Xanadu. We arrived fractionally ahead of the bus, but by the time Brigid had located her camera, swatted a couple of flies, combed her hair, changed clothes, located a lost dollar coin, and tied her laces … the bus party had made it inside.
It was left to John to elbow his way through the crowd (doubtless muttering sexist oaths). As promised, the people at Xanadu were nice, and the 2000 Chardonnay had just won “Best Export” (so consequently none was available for tasting).
Voyager was quite simply stunning. (Yes. Their flag is enormous, and quite probably the second largest in Australia!) They also have a beautiful estate, the focal point of which is a low white single-storey Dutch-style house, which looks as if it has been there forever but, in fact, was built in 1996. At the end of each row of vines is a single red rose bush (this is not purely decorative, as the roses serve as an early warning system for pests). Entry to the house was via colourful formal gardens (not a tulip in sight). The whole thing was a treat to the senses … their wines weren’t half bad either (and are available in the UK through Justerini & Brooks)!
The last stop on our wine trail was Leeuwin, where we had intended to eat lunch. In the event, we considered that their restaurant was too grand for our tastes, and moved on south to Augusta.