Lovin' Summer Wines
by Rob Geddes
Wine critic Rob Geddes selects his top summer drops grown right here on the vines of the Margaret River Wine Region.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Margaret River Region and wine is your tipple, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s home to some of the most sophisticated Australian winemakers making wines in one of the great grape gardens of the world.
More than many other great wine-making regions, Margaret River is already well into the next generation of wine-making thinking. The region leads with “the blend is your friend” and the real depth and excitement is inside bottles called semillon sauvignon blanc or cabernet merlot. Multi varietal wines work well here, offering the most complexity.
The sassy sauvignon blanc racy fruit wed to the sterner and more serious semillon is a marriage made in heaven. Cabernet is the regional red wine engine and the coach work draws on many complimentary varieties with malbec, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot all adding to its regal beauty. Chardonnay has its shoulders above the crowd too, offering world class interest made by well-travelled winemakers understanding the full opportunity. With this rich variety you’re in for a feast.
Be sure to check which wineries offer year round cellar door tastings or if some are accessed on tour only, or of course tastings can be arranged directly by appointment.
SCORE 96/100 – VOYAGER 2011 PROJECT U12 NORTH BLOCK CABERNET MERLOT
Drink By 2033
The Wallcliffe fruit provides a very appealing personality to the very fine aromas of cooking fruits, compote of dark berry, blackcurrant, butterscotch and vanilla oak. Plenty of sweet ripe fruits, cocoa powder and almost Pauillac in structure. Dark cassis fruits, butterscotch, vanilla oak and fine grained tannins add a seamless complexity to the finish.
SCORE 95/100 – WOODLANDS 2015 CHARDONNAY
Drink by 2022
The chardonnay shows the Watson family has great skills in white wines as well as their proven reds. Has the goods, fine French barrel ferment aromas set up the wild yeast ferment savoury edged aromas with smoothly complex pear fruits and wild honey oak. It is on the edge of too much but then the white fruits hold on in youth with minerality and a beautiful balance. A wine with flavour dimensions, great mouth feel and shape that really comes together in the mouth. Burgundian like seamless white fruits and great weight. The tobacco oak flicks in and out of view while the creamy lees elements unite the fruit, oak and texture into a long rich palate with a firm tight finish.
SCORE 95/100 – LEEUWIN 2012 ART SERIES CHARDONNAY
Drink by 2027
The analogy of the swan on a pond comes to mind tasting this wine. Aromatically it’s seamless, not a ripple with tight youthful complexity. In the mouth, the moving parts flutter into view, balanced fruit weight, flavour complexity, lees and oak length. In youth held in coiled anticipation for the key of time to unlock. Plenty more flavour expansion of white and yellow fruits to come in time from the carefully balanced, intense, concentrated stone fruits and fine oak.
Drink by 2020
Cloudburst comes from a tiny close planted vineyard between Wallcliffe, Wilyabrup and Ellen Brook in Margaret River. Wild yeast gives appealing malt and shortbread citrus elements to the aromas. The refined palate shows savoury distinction adding to the citrus and stone fruit complexity. A floral top note is added to the closely wed fruits and tannins. The mouth feel is firm textured, with pear skin type pithy tannins. It’s long and definitive – please note however there’s no cellar door. Visit cloudburstwine.com.
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Drink By 2021
Blackcurrant, violet floral lift, blackberry, balanced oregano dried herbs in spicy oak aromas. In the mouth, vibrant blueberries in a medium body that is soft and approachable now. The blackcurrant fruit has good length and silky tannin structure with plenty of lingering raspberry flavour. Fine grained tannins give it a clean, refreshing, food-friendly finish.
Drink by 2018
Aromas of apricot and grapefruit with lively zesty intensity, low in oak and bright in fruit and confidence. The palate is full, rich not heavy, but complex with strands of oak, fruit and acidity weaving through the flavours and textures. Plenty of braided complexity with fruit doing the talking and grapefruit on the finish.
SCORE 96/100 – FRASER GALLOP 2014 SEMILLON SAUVIGNON BLANC
Drink by 2019
You will love the complexity here, with its lychee gooseberry ginger barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc making this charming and gently exotic. The fresh fruits, nectarine and ripe fuji apple are mouth-filling long and very evenly balanced making for a delicious wine with more than simple blended fruit complexity thanks to the barrel ferment. Great value. Cutting edge quality at the price.
SCORE 94/100 – MOSS WOOD 2014 MOSS WOOD VINEYARD SEMILLON
Drink by 2026
Semillon with youthful personality, and very fresh light youthful aromas of lemon and fresh summer straw. The palate has a balanced vibrant lemony evolving complexity displaying good length with bright acidity and even weight and texture. Everything for a great cellaring proposition.