Experienced Juniper Estate Winemaker Mark Messenger has seen the rise in interest in Malbec. “There is a real appetite for different varietals and Malbec ticks a lot of boxes with its approachability yet also its ability for a dense, rich, ripe red too,’ Mark tells me.
Juniper Estate released their first single varietal Malbec in 2014 as a cellar door release to gauge consumer response. It was overwhelmingly positive. Mark now makes three different Malbecs. He jokes, “So you could say I am strongly committed to Margaret River Malbec!”
“The Juniper Estate Malbec is a serious style with structure and will age, but we have introduced an easy early drinking style under our Higher Plane label which is made using carbonic maceration (whole bunch ferment) and is bottled shortly after vintage for immediate drinking being a soft, juicy and spicy style. I also make a Malbec under my own label, ‘Beneath the Kite’”.
Mark tells me that its known as a versatile grape with winemakers as it can be blended with any of the Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and also Shiraz,
“Recognition of this wonderful variety is still growing,” Mark says. “When you have neighbours (Vasse Felix) reintroducing Cabernet Malbec as their flagship wine the future for Malbec in Margaret River is assured. We are planting more for our straight varietal wines for Juniper and Higher Plane as demand is out stripping supply.”