In this part 2 (and day two of our Great Southern Adventure) we ventured out to the Porongurup ranges – said to be one of the first mountain ranges that you hit after Antarctica and one of only a handful of mountain ranges in W.A.
Characterised by stunning natural beauty, with views of the Stirling ranges to the North and Albany to the South, the Porongurups are a beautiful place to visit, even without the call of the wineries. The photo below shows the sort of aspect that the vines enjoy – perched on the side of an ancient weathered Granite hill with an ideal Northward orientation (that’s the Sterling ranges in the distance), fertile soils and a little bit of altitude.
Arguably the focal point of the Porongorups is the Granite outcrop known as Castle Rock (part of which is pictured below) which also lends its name to the venerable (particularly so for the area) winery perched very close to the bottom of the outcrop access trail (below right in the picture above).
Castle Rock Riesling 2008
Great way to start. Lifted grapefruit & lemon on the nose with some floral Gardenia perfumes. The palate is pretty, light & stony with soft, natural acidity & a real delicacy. Clean, pure and delicious. Drinkable immediately or hold & expect it to turn it like below. Stunning value @$18. 18.5 (we bought some).
Castle Rock Riesling 2004
Such a clear lineage here with the 2008, this with a more honeyed citrus and lemon toast developed overtone. The palate is again softly citrussy and pure. A snapshot of where the 08 will go and a lovely, lightly developed Riesling. 18.5
Castle Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Castle Rock Chardonnay 2008
I’m not sure of the direction here. Apparently a Chablis style, though its more like a delicate Unwooded Chardonnay. Very light, subdued nose with grapefruit and peach. Imperceptible oak. Its very youthful, but its just too delicate to be convincing. I can’t help but think this vineyard might be best suited to the aromatic varieties. 16+
Castle Rock Pinot Noir 2005
I remain unconvinced about this regions Pinot suitability. It just gets too warm. Saying that, this is a reasonable example. Quite a tawny colour. The nose is Pinoty with cherry & stewed rhubarb fruit, backed by a hint of spice. The palate is slightly subdued and light but still fresh and drinkable. 17
Big and distinctly regional with the mouthfilling chocolate & eucalypt style that is characteristic of both the region and the vintage. The nose has a good dose of peppery meaty aromatics which flow onto the generous palate. Good, but not brilliant. 17.1
Herby, capsicum nose with cassis & black fruit underneath. Its very dry and tannic through the palate with a drying back end. Needs time, but I quite like the structure here. 17+
Castle Rock Late Harvest Riesling 2008
Its an off dry version of the Estate Riesling & I think if you like the Estate Riesling you will probably like this. Perfumed floral with a citrussy pungency and a delicate soft palate. Very pure and pristine, if quite light. Tasty. 18