Margaret River, part of the Western Australia zone, is one of that country’s most isolated wine regions. Located furthest west on the continent, it is about 240 km south of Perth. It’s a stunningly beautiful land and combines great surfing, nature, wines and friendly folks (from all accounts!).
Blessed with a maritime climate similar to that of Bordeaux but with less rain, Margaret River is cooled by the Indian Ocean currents that blow in off the coast. It’s known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as well as its Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chenin Blanc blends and its long-lived Chardonnays.
Although it accounts for only about 3% of the total Australian production, its 215 wineries are responsible for 20% of the premium wine market in the country. It is very well known – and is most often grouped alongside the wines of Coonawara and the Yarra, Barossa and Hunter Valleys.
The Vasse Felix vineyard was actually the first planted one in Margaret River back in 1967. This wine is clear and bright, deep ruby with legs noted. The nose is clear and developing with medium plus intensity, aromas of eucalypt, ripe blackberry, raspberry and Damson plum, baking spice and wood.
The palate is dry with high acidity, medium plus body, medium plus grainy and grippy tannins, high alcohol and medium plus intensity with flavours of blackberry, red currant, more eucalypt, mint leaves, cedar frond, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and black pepper with a medium plus finish.
It’s WSET ‘Very good’ wine – drinking beautifully yet can be held. It’s fresh and fruity with great concentration and deft wood treatment (18 months in French oak barriques), high alcohol, but not out-of-balance. The strong acidity and tannins will enable the ageing for 5-7 years.