Day 440 | Quininup Road bushcamp: another soft bed of casuarina needles

35 km | Heading west total: 15,780 km

Margaret River is famous for its cool climate wines.

After the rail trail and some back lane riding I burst out at one end of what may be the best strip of red wine grapes in Australia.

First up is Vasse Felix with a large sculpture walk out in the woods by the lake. Tasting is a popular pass time and, well, you just can’t just ride on by. I join the crowds.

Next door is Cullen, very much more discrete, they don’t need or even want busloads here. The sign is small and there’s no mention of a cellar door. Some wineries can make one great wine sporadically, it’s the rare one where everything seems to come out sensational. This one is widely regarded by the doyens as top shelf.

The chardonnay isn’t open. Neither is the Cab Merlot either, apparently, but I find there is an open bottle hidden under the counter. The 2007 is one of the scrummiest wines I’ve ever glugged. Perfect balance between fruit and oak as they say. Terrific now but worth stashing away for 20 years. A dozen is about $1300 and hard to fit in my panniers.

Someone comes to the counter and asks for any sweet white. Don’t really like the delicious Semillon/ Sav Blanc mix where the flavour just lingers and lingers. No under the counter drop for them. They wander off unimpressed.

I dropped in at another couple of well regarded cellar doors, better kept nameless. Verdict: well overrated.

Last of the memorable stops was at the eccentric Woodlands. A simple faded sign at the gate and a rough dirt road in. I’m the sole tippler and, man, even after the earlier samples these are really up there. I could stay here forever.

Wobbled off down the road to my resting spot. It was another tough old day on the road.