Lunch with Winemaker from Vasse Felix
I had to give up a few hours at the store on Wednesday afternoon to plough my way through a 4 course lunch at Packrat Louie’s and a flight of the best wines from one of Western Australia’s most renowned wineries, Vasse Felix (I know, I know, we all have our crosses to bear). Leading the tasting was chief winemaker Virginia Willcock who explained in detail what sets the wines from Margaret River in general, and Vasse Felix in particular, apart from the rest of Australian wine.
Margaret River is a world away, both literally and stylistically, from other Australian wine regions, being tucked into the far Southwest coast, several hours south from Perth. The Cabernet-based reds, in particular, evoke France more than Barossa and even the Chardonnays have the firm backbone and lifted fruit more often found in Burgundy. Part of Virginia’s contribution to the wines of Vasse Felix has been to utilize Malbec as a main blending partner to Cabernet in their upper level wines, which brings them closer to a Bordeaux profile than the company’s Cabernet-Merlot blend called “Filius”. Australian Merlot continues to be an acquired taste, one which I have never managed to acquire. The upper level wines were excellent, managing to balance ripeness, elegance, and interesting depth in a very attractive package.
All in all, a delightful afternoon. A big thank you to Paulette, Cynthia, and Curtis of Pacific Wines and Spirits for organizing this tremendous luncheon, to Virginia Willcock for sharing her knowledge and her wines, and the folks at Packrat Louie’s for some very memorable dishes. Look for some Vasse Felix wines on our shelves in the upcoming weeks.