Thursday, September 23, 2010

Perth 2010 DAY 3: Special Feature on Wine Tasting at Lamont's Vineyard

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This is a special post on Lamont's Vineyard which we went to; the last vineyard on our itinerary for the day.
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Lamont's Vineyard was recommended by our travel guide book, as the preferred vineyard over the Sandalford.

Since we missed the vineyard tour in Sandalford, we decided to try our luck at Lamont's.
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This was located in a rather quiet and lonely neighborhood within Swan Valley and is privately owned.
We were greeted by the friendly hosts who ushered us in and started chatting with us like we were old friends.

Scott; was our host for the day, and he was just the best person to tell you about wines.
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I have to admit, I am totally new at this and I was rather conservative initially, but my curiosity and research for years on wine made me ask him question after question and Scott just initiated a simple wine tasting session for us as well.

He was patient and really kind, and introduced nice and not too strong-tasting wines to first-timers like us.
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The first he poured for us was Champagne!~
(2008 Methode Champenoise)
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It was just the right wine for us, don't you think, with our recent engagement, it was like Scott knew about it (no, we didn't tell him at all) and he just told us about Champagne and how to tell the fine quality.

I am not really good with alcohol and I could feel the strong scent and taste of alcohol as I took my first sip.
It was sparkling and bubbly; as all champagnes are designed to be which made it the one to be used in all celebrations and special occasions.

Next, was a white wine (2010 White Monster)
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The next one which I was offered to sample was the 2010 Mt Barker Riesling
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This was supposed to have a lemon zesty scent/taste about it and goes well with seafood.
Scott even prepared some prawns for me to taste; and taught me to taste the wine by taking a small sip first, then take a small bite of the prawn and then sip the wine again.
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I felt that the wine sort of cleansed the palates of the prawn taste when I sipped it after the prawns.
It further left a citrusy and lemony scent lingering on my tongue, a very unique experience.

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It was the effect that Scott said would take place with the wine as well, so yeay, I passed the wine tasting test, LOL!

Although I was not really up for more wine, I could not bear to disappoint the kind host who was just so willing and helpful to share his knowledge and their lovely labor of wines that I attempted a few more sips of their wine.

The Bunyip Rose
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This had a rather light and flowery scent; as the name suggests, there was a fragrant rose scent and also fruity taste with it (promegranate like)

Scott also constantly checked with us on our tasting despite the crowd of customers in the shop by then.
He asked about our preferences in taste, and whether we liked sweeter wines, etc.

When I expressed my interest in the knowledge of red wine, he recommended me the best red wine in the house; their 2008 Black Monster
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To be frank, I was only interested in the making of red wines because they somehow, always fascinated me for some reason which I could not fathom.

Scott was explaining the art of making red wine and also some trivia about wine.
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Their red wine was rich and rather smooth in texture, that is my opinion.
(I am no expert in wines)
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I could not take it much more, but Scott saved the best for last.
(Scott just told us to pour away mouthfuls of wine we could not finish, as it was a winery and there are no rules that we must finish the wine. That was a really good tip and healthy for non-wine drinkers like us)

The last and one of the finest wines I have tasted is the Navera
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This is also the smallest bottle of the lot and yet, it left the most memorable taste on my tongue.
It was quite sweet but was very rich and luscious as it glides down the throat.
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The scent of alcohol was not really that strong, which made it very pleasant for drinking and it was distinctively sweet with the taste of apricots and raisins.
It was definitely one of the best wines I have drank and for the day =)

It tasted even better after adding ice cubes into it, as recommended by Scott~
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Scott's words of wisdom
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I had the opportunity to be given a private guided tour into the wine making cellar by Scott and he explained in detail and even allowed me to take photos of the place.
However, out of respect for Lamont's privacy, I will not be posting a lot of photos of the wine cellar.

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My face was quite red although I only had small sips of the wine. That is supposed to be a good thing right, because it means that the wine evaporate and dispersed really fast without harming the liver.
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I believed I looked drunk!

The wine at Lamont's may not be the world's best yet, but like Scott said, their wines are FULL OF LOVE and one can really taste it through every sip.
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I can second that, I am truly touched by the kind hospitality provided by each and everyone of them at Lamont's and special thanks to Scott who spent so much time teaching me every little thing about wine and also giving me that short guided tour through the cellar.
He wanted to bring me through the detailed tour through the vineyards to the cellar to the shop as well, but unfortunately their weekends were usually busy and it would be better if I was there on a weekday.

I will remember that kind offer, and I might just take him up on it the next time.
I will make an appointment the next time, but I may not be able to taste wine anymore as I have just discovered after my maiden wine tasting that I was allergic to alcohol.

It only takes one day to convert a non-alcoholic to one who drinks and to one who is allergic.
It is my first and last time, but I still want to thank Scott for making my trip memorable with his excellent hospitality!
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Cheers~

For more information on Lamont's, please check out their website here

Perth 2010 DAY 3: Swan Valley Vineyards, Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Armies Fish & Chips

After bidding farewell to the lovable creatures of the wild, we continued our journey to our next few destinations on our itinerary.
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We have read enough travel books/guides/websites to know that Swan Valley is famous for the vineyards and wine tasting is the recommended to-do on anyone's itinerary when in the valley.
Though we are both not wine enthusiasts nor drinkers, I was quite excited at the prospect to learn more about wine making and also to explore an actual vineyard!
(I guess in a way, I am still a wine knowledge enthusiast, though I don't drink =P )

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The drive through the valley was indeed a delightful one as I was taken with the serene and lush greenery on both sides of the road. It was a stunning reminder of the wonders of nature, and I could just feel relaxation on my mind and nothing else.
It was like the world had just stopped right there; in this place which looked like a paradise to me at that point of time.

Swan Valley do remind me of our very own Cameron Highlands as well; with the vineyards, and strawberry farms taking turns in their places to greet me as the car whizzed past.

We soon arrived at our first vineyard; the Sandalford Vineyard
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This place is ranked the top of the list of vineyards in Swan Valley to visit and also, for the wine tasting and tour on the wine making process.

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I could barely contain my excitement when I snapped away and admired the neatly arranged rows of grapes beckoning from the yards as we cruised into the premises.
I have been reading and seeing these on television and have fantasized enough of them and it was suddenly a surreal experience when they were just right before my very eyes.
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I could hardly believe that I was actually in a vineyard!
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Yeah, to prove that I really was not dreaming at all =)

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We ventured into the courtyard while trying to find our way to sign up for wine making tour, hoping we could make it in time for the tour session (Dear had already reminded me to leave Caversham earlier as the first session started at 11am)
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Spotted a group of people celebrating with wines
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The main reception area of the Sandalford Wines; which is also their wine shop.
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Unfortunately for us, we had really missed the wine tour/tasting session at 11am.
The next session was at 3pm, but anyway, we were unable to make it as well as they need a minimum of five pax to start a tour and there simply was no one else at that time.
We had to forego this wine tour in Sandalford and just tour around their shop and vineyard outside to take some photos.
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The shop was just filled with crates and bottles of wines lining the shelves and at every corner.
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Big barrel
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I just love the vineyard as the background; with the plants wildly creeping around the poles and creating a picturesque landscape.
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We headed to the next vineyard after taking enough photos of the Sandalford
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The next vineyard: Lancaster Vineyard
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We did not spend too much time in Lancaster as there was a wedding reception over there as well.
Also, Lancaster was more like an open vineyard with a stall selling their wines over the counter and no tours like the Sandalford
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We headed to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory which was just located right opposite the Lancaster Vineyard
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This is a popular tourist attraction in Swan Valley as well; and a must visit for chocolate lovers!
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Its popularity was definitely proven as the place was just brimming with tourists and locals alike, all hogging every corner of the shop.
Yes, this place was more of a shop rather than an actual factory as one is greeted by rows and rows of chocolates everywhere (did I mention that this is a chocolate lovers' paradise?)
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Besides customers who were buying chocolates hoarding the counters, the other reason for the overwhelming crowd at the counter was the free chocolate tasting available in big bowls.
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The availability of free chocolates and the unlimited tasting just kept everyone going back for more; children and adults alike.
It is only a matter of how much your palms can hold!~
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There are also viewing windows for visitors/customers to take a sneak peek into the scenes behind the chocolate making in the factory
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The chocolates in the making for the day
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More chocolates...
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We left after a short while; I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of chocolate around me~

We were starving and not wanting to have chocolates for lunch, we depended on Garmin to provide us with the list of eateries available nearby, and we were led to this quiet little shop hidden in a residential area
Lunch @ Armies Fish & Chips
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It is a small place really; just a place for you to order and take away
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I liked the place, and the prices were really reasonable too.
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The breeze which blew in through the plastic sheets of curtain was just chilly.

We ordered the Grilled Basa fish (AUD$7.50; an additional dollar for grill)
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It was served in this boxes; because this place is really only for take-away.
The fish was quite nice; albeit a little too thin in the fillet.
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The Grilled Emperor fish which was more expensive (most expensive on the menu) was really good.
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The fillet was thicker and more juicy and tender.
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We enjoyed our simple and economical lunch!~

To be continued...