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For the likes of David Pike the festive season doesn’t end with the New Year, as this week’s invitation to summer fun, music, food and wine indicates.

THE folk at Sandalford Estate were blessed with stunning weather for their annual concert in the park, which was held last weekend. This year’s invited artist, Vanessa Amorosi, put on a great show with the WASO, the combination in tune with the new release Sandalford Premium Chardonnay.

I was, however, somewhat taken aback when a staffer asked me if wanted a “top up” of my wine. Offering a “does a shark have a fin” look in reply I was asked if I wanted sweet or dry. For a moment I thought the cheese squares with cocktail onions on toothpicks were going to be coming out. The so-called sweet wine was actually quite stunning Sandalford 2002 Verdelho. Sandalford 2002 Verdelho $19.50 18.5/20. This wine shows quite dynamic and engulfing aromas that touch on peaches, really ripe nectarines with a nudge of lemon citrus. The palate is on song, with a rounded mid palate full of stone fruit characters and a refreshing zing of citrus crawling over the finish of the wine. It shows a delightful freshness and length of palate. Absolutely everybody will shine after sampling this number.

Another wine worth a look is the Sandalford 2002 Premium Chardonnay $29.00 18/20. A very well crafted wine –100 per cent Margaret River fruit is displayed in this powerful chardonnay. You are treated to very smart French oak on the nose with plenty of ferment characters leaping up at you, quite ripe fruits and underlying grapefruit note. The palate again shows plenty of oak and ferment characters, with cashew nuts and brioche all bound quite tightly at present. Background grapefruit and lemon citrus flow through a secondary layer. The wine shows complexity and is unashamedly a powerful wine that will further integrate and develop over the next few years.

Brown Brothers Wine and Food Festival

While you are busily filling out your brand new diary it would pay to remember Sunday March 23.

Once again the team at Brown Brothers has joined with Mustard Catering in the surroundings of the Cottesloe Civic Centre to create dishes that will complement a range of Brown Brothers wines. Tickets to this event –always a sell-out – are $60, which entitles you to a choice of three food and wine matches from an extensive list of 10. You could try the Pinot Grigio with ‘vincotto and oregano braised salmon with sweet and sour roma tomatoes, orange zest mash and rocket’ or merlot with ‘duck au vin’, with ‘puy lentils and bacon salad and a caramelised onion gravy’. Tickets are available through MGM Wine Distributors on 92443299

Amberley Estate Semillon and Seafood

For the past eight years Amberley Estate has produced a scrumptious seafood menu that has been astutely crafted around the grape variety semillon. The best semillons from around Australia have been selected to complement the menu and have been chosen under the careful eye of Amberley winemaker Eddie Price and his panel. This is another of the well-attended summer events, so you will need to book early for this great day out. Held over the weekend of February 15 and 16 at the winery in Margaret River, tickets are $99 and available through the winery on 9755 2288.

Leeuwin Estate’s Australia Day Family Concert

If your choice is to escape down to the South West over the coming long weekend and you are looking for something to do on Saturday the 25th, then Leeuwin’s annual Australia Day long weekend concert is well worth a look. After the success of WA band the Waifs last year, Leeuwin has been able to this year secure the talents of ‘The Mahotella Queens’, who were named World Music Artist of the year in 2000. The South African trio will perform a range of traditional South African music from Zulu, Sotho, Shangaan and Xhosa, together with a mix of Marabi (South African jazz) and American R&B soul and gospel. It will be an irresistible sound that will have you up and jiving around as you enjoy your picnic spread on the lawn at Leeuwin. Tickets are $35 and available through Leeuwin Estate, 9430 4099, Bocs Outlets 9484 1133 or country callers 1800 193 300 and local South West tourist bureaus at $35 each for adults and $10 for children, including GST. Door sales will be available at $40 adults, $10 children.

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