First things first – which is what i think we will hear every morning for the next 20 mornings is….”Mummy/Daddy look at Trixie”. Trixie had got into the washing basket and was wearing Audreys bikini and holding Ava’s undies – Audrey was less than impressed with this, as she wanted to wear those swimmers today. Ava thought it was hilarious.
Knowing that we were meeting the Ironman team (Amanda, Mark and Duncan) as well as Vicki and Karl for lunch, we knew we had to fit as much in as possible before midday. So over a breakfast of English Muffins and Crumpets – Ava apparently now likes English Muffins after she was introduced to them by Lacey Arcuri in October!! – we started planning out our route for the morning making sure we had an even split of adult plus children tastings. Seeing as we were heading to two breweries, I was the designated driver for the day as beers/ale, aren’t exactly my cup of tea.
We messaged Vicki and told her our plan for the day, and they agreed to meet us for lunch and then go with the flow. So at 9am we headed off to our first location which was Margaret River Nuts & Cereals where the girls both tasted nearly every biscuit, nut and cereal in the place. Ava started with the ginger one and ended up running around like a headless chicken (quite funny actually!), then she decided to follow with the wasabi pea (I did tell her that it was spicy) and once again she was a headless chicken. After that she tried most of them asking first whether they were spicy. We purchased a few adult nuts (i.e. chilli flavoured) and some cereal and melting moment biscuits and headed into the playground where Lach and the girls found a soccer ball and goal – Audrey wanted to the be goalie the whole time, and Ava didn’t like it if Lach got the ball off her. I was watching from the side line – made me giggle. We intended to follow this nut tasting experience with a winery, but stumbled across a distillery en-route called The Grove Experience, so popped in there for some whisky tasting. Lach was impressed with the whisky and said its the best of the Australian whisky’s he has had, but at $135 a bottle or $200 for cask strength – he wouldn’t be buying any. He also had to pay $10 for the privilege to try it. It seems that spirits to taste in MR you have to pay for. The girls were entertained here by a 3yo Schnoddle – she was very cute and kept the girls happy for 15mins.
We jumped in the car and the girls were desperate for lunch time as they wanted the huge playground which we had promised them (it was only 10am!), so I checked, on our MR children’s list, whether the next winery which Lach had picked for the day had a playground – it did – PHEW. So we turn up to this beautiful vineyard with a well kept entrance called Woody Nook Wines, its a single vineyard winery (which means they grow and make all of their wine from their own grapes grown on site) and had a really cosy feeling about it – rustic with 10’s of 1,000’s of business cards and $ notes pinned to the wall upon entry of everyone that had visited. However upon entry to me it smelt of an old persons house – stale cooking smells infused to carpets and furnishings. The girls found the playground out the back (2 swings) and complained that it wasn’t big enough. Lach did the tasting inside and i kept popping back in, but spent most time outside as the smell really put me off. Lach thought that the wines were ok, but not good enough to buy any. They have an international award winning Cabernet Sauvignon which wasn’t the best wine which Lach has had in the MR region. Its a shame as the location was beautiful, set back in the bush overlooking the vineyards and set up for a great restaurant location – but i won’t be returning unless they have a renovation!
After Woody Nook, we needed another sweeter for the girls, and I discovered that right next to the next winery which Lach had chosen was Pukara Estate where we could taste olive oils, balsamic vinegar and a few other things. The setting was stunning – actually in the grounds of the Fermoy Estate vineyard (they rent the property) and the girls were in heaven.
They picked up their cocktail sticks and dug into the bread dipping their way along the row of vinegars and oils. There were about 15 of each, we just pointed out the spicy ones to them, so they didn’t try them. Audrey’s favourite was the Lemon Olive Oil, and Ava’s was the Caramelised Balsamic. Both Lach and I were surprised that we both liked the Guava Vinegar, as neither of us are fans of Guava. She recommended using that with either prawns and oysters or over a fruit salad – delicious! Once the girls had nearly eaten their weight in cubes of bread, we walked next door to the Fermoy Estate vineyard and had no idea how this beautiful building and grounds would continue our excitement about the boutique wineries in Margaret River. We entered the building and the girls’ homing device worked a treat – within 1 sec of walking through the door they found the box of toys on the floor. Seriously all vineyards for $50 should have a box of toys on the floor – it entertains the children brilliantly (the toys are not expensive or new) and the parents can taste and enjoy their wines in peace. The lady here said that the box of toys came from the local op shop in MR for $20 – a recommendation for all vineyards to have a toy box corner please if you want us to buy your wines. Lach started the tasting with an SSB and both of us smirked at each other and knew we were in for a good tasting. This vineyard was recently bought by a business man who loves a full bodied Shiraz, the lady laughed whilst telling us this, as everyone knows that you don’t buy a vineyard in Margaret River if you want a full bodied shiraz. Anyway, the owner set the winemaker a challenge and he has created a beautiful easy to drink shiraz, so much so that we have bought a few bottles. We have a marking system when we are trying wines to know what we have tried (single tick) and what we would consider buying (double tick). All of the wines which we tried at this vineyard had a double tick apart from 2, and that was more based on price than flavour. The wine here was once again exceptional for both flavour and also price. To make all this even better, they had a christmas special on, which made the average cost per bottle which we purchased at $19 with free shipping! We ended up buying the following (they do sell some wine to Sydney via their Rep – called Aldo at Twelve Bottles, who we have been told to get in contact with, so that he can let us know where we can buy):
- 2015 FE Shiraz
- 2014 Fermoy Estate Semillion Sauvignon Blanc
- 2014 Fermoy Estate Semillion
- 2013 Fermoy Estate Chardonnay
- 2013 Fermoy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
Upon leaving the lady realised that we like our boutique wineries and named a few others which we need to make sure we see whilst we are here. Juniper Estate, Woodlands, Grace Farm, McHenry Hohnen and Cullens.
Next stop – Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery – which also includes a big playground. We met Vicki and Karl in the car park and walked into the huge building. On the right is wine tasting for Killerby and so Lach and Karl stopped there and began tasting wine, with Karl looking at his watch as if to say its too early surely to drink wine….oh no its not! Vicki and I ventured outside with the girls to find the playground which was significantly the biggest playground we had seen in MR, however Ava’s immediate reaction was that it wasn’t huge like I had promised and its too small….maybe all the huge playgrounds she has played in the mid wild-west over the past couple of weeks have set her expectations too high! The ironman team turned up and immediately got their tasting tray of beer and cider… Lach and Karl were still on the wines. Karl admitted he didn’t know much about wines, but that he really enjoyed these. Each double ticked a few on the sheet, but seeing as i wasn’t there to taste and agree, he decided that we didn’t need to buy any for home. So they then moved onto the beers. Karl is a cider drinker so was quite excited about the thought of tasting a few, and also likes his beer – however the beers were actually an ale, which when your expecting a beer – isn’t exactly what you want. We congratulated Mark and Duncan on their PB’s yesterday and they were both really chuffed with themselves – and so they should be! Lach was asked to take photos of them with their medals – Amanda had a medal too for being an ironman supporter. Whilst taking the photo Lach decided to photobomb his own photo and then spent the next few minutes gloating about his muscles (they do look pretty good!!) Lunch was great and the girls were well behaved, entertaining themselves with colouring packs provided by the restaurant and including taking Karl into the playground. Yesterday within a few minutes of meeting Karl, I did warn him that the girls always take a fancy to my friends boyfriends, and that he was allowed to say no when they asked things of him. I don’t think he has learnt to say no yet to them both, as all afternoon it was Karl this, Karl that… Lets see what happens after a few days here and then again in Sydney in February 🙂
We piled into the cars and off we went to Bootleg Brewery for some more beer and cider – although Karl learnt this time to order the Cider and stay away from the beer. The girls were playing on the playground and then it started to rain, so Lach purchased them a bouncing ball which was for their entertainment for about 5mins and then Karl suggested that we should try and bounce it on certain picnic tables – we had loads of fun and the girls were fantastic accessories to our game as the ‘ball girls’. A great end to a busy but fantastic day.
Whilst driving back home, we did a d-tour so that the girls could sleep a little longer, Lach said that he was really enjoying Margaret River and spending time here. He didn’t know what to expect, but he is loving it. We have three days left, and I am SO glad that we decided to stay for 7, as we still have so much to do. Ava wants to go horse riding, so we need to see whether we can ‘test’ the waters first before paying the $, as both Lach and I are suspicious that Little Miss Cautious won’t follow through with it – lets see!!!
Tomorrow is Lach’s birthday and so we all have a great day planned along, with Vicki and Karl, being chauffeured around Margaret River visiting 5 more boutique wineries, where we can all taste and learn about wines, a lunch with matching wines, and where childrens’ activities have also been taken into consideration, to ensure that everyone has a fantastic day. What more could a man who adores wine ask for?