I've always been a big fan of wines from WA.
Chardonnay, Cab Sav, from Margaret River, Shiraz from Frankland River or Riesling from Great Southern. Of course, the fact that I used to live in Perth for about 2 years played a big part in this.
Then, someone introduced me to the Pemberton region.
I’ve got to say that I was a little bit underwhelmed at first sight.
The Chardonnay have generally a high acidity, which kind of disturbed me at the beginning, and the Pinot Noir too. The upside is that basically they will last longer in the cellar and you will certainly benefit from it. But you do not come across a 20 year old Picardy Pinot Noir every day... People hide those ones like treasures in their cellars.
Once upon a time I had a friend who showed me his secret.
"In Pemberton, there is a small winery, which does not have a cellar door, in which you can never see the winemaker because he is always in his vineyards, and he is known over there as being a grumpy old man" this is the story I've been told.... What a start!
But I followed this friend and I got to try something that most winemakers I know would dream to achieve.
We are talking of the Lillian winery, owned by John Brocksopp.
There is the Lefroy Brook Vineyard, where you will find old Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, as you can expect from a vineyard in Pemberton. Exquisite wines by the way.
But John also grows Rhone Valley typical Varietals : Viognier and Marsanne Roussane Blend.
John achieves that, and even more. The wine is subtle in its youth, and just goes better and better with the age. He uses Malolactic fermentation in the process, which ads a lovely buttery feeling to it. If you think you've seen it all when it comes to wines, let me tell you that I will prove you wrong with this one! What could go with it? something "seafoody"? something that will have a "bity"flavour definitely... Lemon cracked pepper Angel Hair pasta, blue swimmer crab meat, wood fired scampi, garlic & extra virgin olive oil. It sounds simple but this dish is complex and refined like this wine.
Thank you Chef!
Romain Bastianel, Sommelier | Steamers Bar and Grill