by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
May 21, 2006
Of all the wineries you may visit while in western Australia, it would be almost impossible to top Cape Lavender for style and originality. And even though almost every vineyard and cellar door in the Margaret River area offers an incredible range in selection and none-too-subtle taste variations in every wine, far and away the most original and daring attempts at wine making come from Cape Lavender.
Even if you have no interest whatsoever in wines, I highly suggest that you give this place a look. It's right in the middle of many of the other wineries I have reviewed, just minutes off the Bussell Highway, and is a pleasant experience from start to finish.
It starts with a drive up a beautiful path, kookaburras laughing in the tree tops. The path up to the cellar door is lined with every kind of lavender imaginable—hundreds of different varieties of this aromatic plant grow around the pathway, each marked what it is and where it's from, if that interests you. They have a lovely little cafe for lunch if you've done a bit too much tasting for one day, or a good tasting room next door if you're not quite done yet.
Now I warn you, the people at Cape Lavender take the lavender ingredient seriously, and you may not find it to you're tastes in some of the wines. Particularly in the heavy reds, it is a bit strong. Even if you don't want to buy a bottle, though, I do heartily suggest you give it a try; it's unlike anything you will have tasted before. On the other hand, some of the lighter, chilled, and sparkling lavender wines were some of the nicest things that crossed my palate in Margaret River (quite a statement as you will learn on your trip). The chilled sparkling red was unreal...an amazing flavour. And the rose and chardonnay (even from someone who does not like white wine) were very pleasant.Alongside the tasting room is an excellent gift shop. Their lavender products range from everything from seeds and sachets of lavender to help you sleep—to lavender jams and preserves. The lavender honey and lavender Shiraz jelly I found particularly good. You can sample them all, and they are are reasonably priced and make great souvenirs. I found myself irresistably drawn to a beautiful jar of 'lavender sugar' light purple in colour, and like everything else there, tinted with the essence of lavender.
This is really a very unique winery, and if you're looking for exotic tastes, not to be missed.
From journal From Wine to Kangaroos, Get Lost in Margaret River