The shortest U-shaped tour

At the first sign of clearer weather, I insisted that we should visit regions unreachable by public transport while we still had the silver Lancer and according to a friend’s advice, took to the Swan valley district like bees to honey. The Swan district is the upper part of the Swan river meandering somewhat north of Perth but near to where we were staying and hence, an easy drive.

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Geoff had been enthusiastic about the wine region, sometimes even volunteering to do day tours for a friend because he “likes meeting people”, even those which operate mostly on drunken sensibilities after half a day in the wine region.  He was of course, perplexed to learn that TC mostly liked whites while I liked none of them but was kind enough to recommend some places to visit using a U-shaped route that started from West Swan Road and ended by going down the Great Northern hwy. Bluntly, he told us that wineries that were large and upmarket tended to be proportionally a larger pain in the arse and snobbish about their produce.

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Armed with the information, the main draw of the region thus became the Margaret River chocolate factory whose hot cocoa’s positives turned out to be the photos taken of them. When the sun shines, the region makes for some pretty shots of dried up vines and a hint of rolling landscape.

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Lunch was at a country-style winery serving hearty, gorgeous food probably made better in the dry, cold air and an appetite warmed by some wine.  The shy, jittery Spike who’s the resident mouser, was of course the highlight for me. We stopped again, after lunch, for honey and nougat products.

I can’t really hold my alcohol, but not really liking the taste of it doesn’t preclude me from liking wine regions in general: the quiet, snooty (or genteel, depending on which side of the tracks you come from) air, the scent of everything organic in the air. Of course we did some tasting and even some buying – having just drunk a pathetic amount of the sticky muscat, I think I’m probably writing this half drunk now.

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