It was a sunny, blue sky winters day a few weeks ago and with a lunch date with my mum on the cards, we were hanging out to head back to Green Door Wines in Ferguson Valley after a successful birthday lunch earlier in the year. The Ferguson Valley is a charming wine region 20 minutes east of Bunbury and aside from being in my parents back yard it is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s much much smaller than the likes of Margaret River and because of its size it has a lovely warm, community feel to it without all the tourist hype. There is a handful of fantastic wineries, a couple of breweries and restaurants and lots of pretty scenery, especially at this time of year when everything is green and lush.
The opening of the Green Door Wines cellar door and cafe in October 2015 was long awaited after the winery began in 1998. It’s perched on a hill with fabulous views over the valley, a small, charming space, offering wine tastings and light meals. On our first visit to the cellar door cafe earlier in the year we were lovingly greeted by a lady full of passion and excitement for their little slice of paradise, so we were a little disappointed to see, what we felt, was a decline in the love and energy going into the place. Having said that it’s still a beautiful spot and our visit was enjoyable, I guess that’s just the problem when you have high expectations to compare to.
What I love about Green Door is that they have taken away the potential snobbery and awkwardness that can sometimes come with wine tasting at a cellar door. Instead, they take the experience to your table, with a tasting plate of nibblies, you are presented with small carafes of the wines with accompanying tasting notes. This makes it a very relaxed experience where you can freely chat to your fellow wine tasting and lunching party. I do however often enjoy talking wine to the staff at a cellar door so I just hope that Green Door don’t forget that and make regular table visits to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm for their wine. It also helps when I could honestly could buy a bottle (or three) of any of their wines, I especially love the late picked Verdelho, Rosé and Tempranillo, and they are all incredibly affordable.
Food wise we started with the Green Door Tasting plate and although good it lacked a bit of the finesse we saw on our first visit. The meat and cheeses were yummy but we felt the fruit choices detracted from the plate. When you’re presenting a dish with ingredients bought in rather than made in house, some care is required in its planning. I think with some better choices on the plate this could be a more enjoyable experience. Love the idea but it just lacked a little in the delivery.
Not overly hungry anymore but really wanting to give something else a go I ordered the Spanish style chicken casserole with couscous, roasted cauliflower and pine nuts. The chicken was soft, tender, and falling off the bone and although there were some rich flavours, it wasn’t drowning in sauce and the couscous gave the dish a lovely lightness. This was yummy and went down a treat.
Too full for dessert it was time for us to head off. While the food wasn’t quite as good, or the service as friendly from our first visit it was still a lovely way to spend a couple of hours by the fire with lush green paddocks to stare at. With fabulous wine and a picturesque location, Green Door Wines has a lot going for it, add a little bit of energy and some fine tuning and you’ve got a match made in heaven. This will remain a place I will continue to re visit and recommend, so make the trip and check them out. As they are just open Friday to Sunday and the space isn’t overly big, bookings are definitely recommended.