Western Australia – Top 10 wine and food cult classics in Margaret River

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Autumn in a Margaret River vineyard in Western Australia

Autumn in a Margaret River vineyard in Western Australia [©Australia’s South West Inc]

Beach horseriding in one of Australia's premium wine regions, Margaret River in Western Australia

 

The Margaret River wine region is hard to beat for perfect weather, amazing beaches and some of the best food and wine in the world. Some places are developing a bit of an international cult status, so we’ve picked out the top 10 food and wine stops to make your taste buds tingle in this delicious region.

Blue Ginger Fine Foods

This is fast becoming a foodie institution.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the main street of Margaret River, this delightful café-cum-delicatessen is a real favourite with locals, offering a comprehensive range of continental, Asian specialty and whole foods to try and to buy.

Breakfast at Blue Ginger is a perfect start to the day.  Their household-blend espresso is verging on famous and a slice of delicious homemade cake makes a great mid-morning pick-me-up. Blue Ginger uses the finest ingredients sourced from an extensive range of products and these are all on offer to you through their grocery and gourmet delicatessen too, including gourmet cheeses, small goods and cured meats.

31 Station Road,
Margaret River
Ph:  (08) 9758 7619 

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Must Margaret River

The new kid in town is Must Margaret River and to say it is wine-centric is almost an understatement.  Bottles of wine snake around the walls and large suspended wine racks create divisions in a warm and moody space. On one side, a bar laden with every type of high quality wine and spirit imaginable and the other, a bistro true to its roots – timeless, classic and comfortable.

A key feature at Must is the dry aged beef, single farm sourced from Paul Omeehan's Butterfield property at the foot of the Stirling Ranges. This traditional ageing process allows the meat to become more flavoursome, tender and moist - making for a most succulent meal.

But don’t despair, while Must is wonderful for meat lovers, all tastes are catered for including freshly shucked oysters, pan fried gnocchi with braised duck and half crumbed Blackwood River yellowfin whiting fillets.

107 Bussell Highway,
Margaret River
Ph:  (08) 9758 8877 

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Margaret River Farmers Markets

Seasonal, fresh and local - these markets have it all.  Held every fourth Saturday of the month between 8am – 12 noon from September – May each year, the Margaret River Farmers Markets are full of all sorts of products to make your mouth water.

Stalls are manned by the growers and producers themselves providing visitors with a diverse range of prime South-West produce. 

There’s always something fresh and new at the markets, but here’s a sample of some of the Margaret River produce you could take home: extra virgin olive oils and olives, fruit and veggies including tomatoes and rockmelons, potatoes and bio dynamic pumpkins, raspberries, blueberries and blueberry plants, chocolate coated fruit, bakery goodies including gluten free muffins, free range eggs and chicken with red wine and garlic, mini chicken bratwursts, organic meat, coffee, cookies, cupcakes, tarts and patisseries, jams, pickles, relishes and chutneys, garden produce and herbs, wine and honey mead for tastings and sales, plants and protea flowers, handmade dog biscuits, cheese, milk, honey and more....

Tunbridge Street,
Margaret River
Ph:  (08) 9757 9311 

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Cape Lodge

Sitting on its own secluded vineyard in the heart of the Margaret River Wine region is one of Australia's finest boutique small luxury hotels.  Cape Lodge was recently voted Luxury Travel Magazine's Best Boutique Hotel in Australia 2009 and listed in Conde Nast Traveller's  "Top 10 In The World For Food" Gold List 2008.

Cape Lodge has been described as one of Australia's finest new generation gourmet establishments with its multi- award winning gourmet restaurant ranking in the Top Ten in the World for Food.  It also boasts a 14,000 bottle, temperature controlled wine cellar and the newly opened Gourmet Retreat and Cookery School.

The magnificent Cape Lodge Restaurant sits over the hotel’s main lake and features a wide over water alfresco decking, sumptuous guest lounge and private dining room.

Executive Chef, Tony Howell, places an emphasis on using only the freshest local produce and changes the menu each day.   Diners may be spoiled with butter poached Pemberton marron on Vasse asparagus, homemade venison and blue cheese tortellini with sage and truffle butter or sashimi of hiramasa with Asian omlette and jasmine rice.

Reservations are essential.

3341 Caves Road, Wilyabrup
Ph:  (08) 9755 6311 

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Settlers Tavern

Settlers Tavern was built in 1977 and has gained iconic status in the town of Margaret River for its live performances.  However, this popular venue has increasingly become known for its restaurant styled meals and extensive wine list.

The busy restaurant is great value all-day dining, providing locals and tourists with high quality meals in a casual family atmosphere.  There are two outside areas to enjoy your meal, a glass of wine and watch the world go by or grab a table inside. Diners can enjoy anything from wagyu beef burgers to American style ribs to calamari to laksa – all fresh and all homemade. 

And a good menu should always have a good wine selection to enhance it. The Tav’s wine list currently features 25 wines-by-the glass and over 125 bottles on the wine list.   They’ve gone out of their way to bring far away wines to guests. A large portion of the list is local and West Australian, with the rest made up of wines from other parts of Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Argentina, Portugal and Spain.

Settlers Tavern’s wine program, nominated in the 2004 and 2005 AHA Awards of Excellence for “Best Wine List” and winner of the 2006 AHA Awards for Excellence “Best Wine List in WA Hotels & Taverns”, continues to grow and embrace the local and national wine industry. 

114 Bussell Highway,
Margaret River
Ph:  (08)  9757 2398 

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Knee Deep Wines

Nestled deep in the heart of Margaret River’s premium wine-growing area is Knee Deep Wines, established in 2000.  The name ‘Knee Deep’ refers to a passionate commitment to the premium wine making process by the Knee Deep team and a tongue-in-cheek reference  to the fact that the winery was established during a grape glut and a wry smile to the testing conditions in which it was born.  The name also refers to the laid back Margaret River state of mind in which visitors often find it too easy to immerse themselves.

The vineyard is situated on 34 hectares of premium wine producing land and features an absolutely stunning cellar door where you can sample from their premium and reserve ranges including rose, sauvignon blanc semillon, reserve shiraz and the famous “Knee Deep Sweet”.

It is also highly recommended that visitors book a table at Knee Deep’s alfresco vineyard set restaurant. The award winning restaurant team includes former New Zealand Junior Chef of the Nation, and Chaine de Rotisseurs World Finalist Bradley Hornby, as well as Liz Buttimore, a Certified Sommelier with the UK Court of Masters, who has achieved gold and silver medals for her restaurant service in New Zealand.

Lot 61 Johnson Road,
Wilyabrup
Ph:  (08) 9755 6776  

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Cape Mentelle

Anyone who knows their Margaret River wine, knows Cape Mentelle.  One of the founding wineries of the area, it has long been regarded as one of the region’s top wineries, producing award winning wines since 1970.

Today, Cape Mentelle has over 200 hectares of vines, across four regional vineyards, with wines produced through a sustainable viticulture philosophy – which is as close to organic as possible.  The warm and inviting wood paneled cellar door begs you to enter and sample some of its top wines including the honeysuckle and stone fruit aromatics of the 2007 Marsanne Roussanne through to the 33 year old vine made Wallcliffe Sauvignon and Semillon.

But it’s not just wine that Cape Mentelle is succeeding in these days.  The team at this esteemed winery have also opened the doors to tours, twilight movies and Petanque(French boules).  Follow the path of the fruit from the iconic Walcliffe vineyard through to the state-of-the-art fruit processing area and the historic rammed earth cellar, finishing with a gourmet food and wine pairing experience among barrels of Cape Mentelle's flagship Cabernet Sauvignon.  During the summer, grab yourself a gourmet hamper and a bottle of wine and enjoy the classics for a twilight movie experience or challenge friends and family to a friendly game of Petanque on the purpose built grounds.

331 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River
Ph:  (08) 9757 0812  

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Margaret River Discovery Company

Driving yourself and finding the best spots is sometimes too hard. You can immerse yourself in the stunning Margaret River region on a gourmet eco wine tour, designed to reveal why Margaret River produces some of the world's best wines.

Margaret River Discovery Company offers a scenic, luxury 4WD wine tour that takes you behind the tourist facade, away from the masses and introduces you to people and places you won't find on your own. It truly is a wine tour that discovers the best of Margaret River.

The small group tours visit a range of the region’s best wineries and include stunning coastal and a chance to go behind the scenes in the vineyards. Participants will also indulge in a very special food and wine pairing lunch at Cape Mentelle winery.  For the adventurous a Discovery Tour includes the option to canoe the region’s waterfalls and going off-road to explore stunning locations only the local’s know about.

Ph:  0439 910 064 

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Random Valley

Discover the emerging world of organic wine, produce and environmental conservation at Random Valley, a family owned and fully certified organic farm.

Developed in 1995 by Peter and Suzanne Little, Random Valley produces organic grapes, beef and native flowers with no chemo-synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers used in the vineyard, on the farm or in the winemaking, which is GM free.

Experience the unique cellar door built from wine bottles.  Blending science and art in a unique design, the Little’s have created walls of water to warm and cool the building.  This eco-extraordinary cellar door is Random Valley’s answer to climate change using some 13,500 recycled wine bottles filled with 9.5 tonnes of water to form the walls, providing stable internal temperatures for both visitors and wine storage.

Once you taste Random Valley’s award winning wines you will know why they are different and why organic is the way to go.   Try the unusual Cabernet Sauvignon, smooth Shiraz or crisp Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend.

410 Brockman Highway, Karridale
Ph:  (08)  9758 6707  

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Voyager Estate

It is almost an unspoken rule that those who visit Margaret River must visit Voyager Estate.  Every part of Voyager Estate winery has been developed with extreme attention to detail and precision, from the grandeur of its Cape Dutch style restaurant, cellar door and extensive gardens, to the careful attention given to each vine, its unique retail offerings to the unforgettable experience the staff create for all visitors.

As recipient of eight Western Australian Gold Plate awards, including the ultimate Prix D'Honneur for Best Restaurant in a Winery and Prix D'Honneur for Best Tourism Restaurant Country, dining at the restaurant is a must as it offers one of the most grand and delectable dining experiences in Margaret River.

For those wishing to delve deep into the heart of Voyager, take a wander through the carefully manicured rose gardens or enjoy a tour of the estate itself, aboard the Bongo Bus.  This informative tour takes guests around the grounds, vineyards, winery and underground barrel cellar, which incidentally is Australia’s largest. Complete the tour with a private tasting of some of Voyager Estate’s most prestigious wines, followed by a lunch option of your choice.

1 Stevens Road, Margaret River
Ph:  (08) 9757 6354

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Do you have a favourite place to visit in the Margaret River? Share your hidden gems on the VisitVineyards.com forums.
 

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December 23rd, 2009
 
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