Domaine Naturaliste Morus Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

My love of the wine industry came via my interests in plants and things that fermented,  My first life was as an agronomist (BSc. Agric- Uni of Western Australia) and second life as a Winemaker (MSc. UC Davis, California).   30 years later, I am still excited by this journey. BRUCE DUKES

Domaine Naturaliste is a relatively young label built on the shoulders of decades of experience. Owner and winemaker Bruce Dukes is a veteran of the Margaret River who’s love for the region’s wines starts with the vines and soils that they are planted.

He started his career in the Margaret River as an Agronomist, at the time there was no winemaking courses available locally.  So a young Bruce travelled to California, where he worked as a researcher at UC Davis before going on to complete his Masters in Viticulture and Oenology there.  Talking with Bruce it is evident that he is enthralled by the relationship between soil, plant health, quality fruit and the metamorphosis of grapes into fine wine.  This is a rabbit hole he fell down thirty years ago and one he seems happy to remain in for the rest of his life.  As long as he has his family.

After some decades of working for other people, Bruce built a boutique contract winemaking facility where he would continue to make wines for others but also consult to clients at the vineyard level. These relationships would provide the stepping stone to establish Domaine Naturaliste. But since the launch of this label in 2012, the wines have garnered plenty of attention right out of the gate culminating in the Domaine being named Best Value Winery of the year in the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion. The remarkable part is that this value runs through the entire range consistently from bottom to top.

At the pinnacle is their Morus Cabernet Sauvignon, named after a local genus of Mulberry and sourced from a single vineyard that was planted in 1978 and extended in 1982. Making it one of the oldest vineyards in the Margaret River region.

It is notable that this current release achieved the second highest score (97 points) in Huon Hooke’s list of 2016 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignons. Outperforming almost all of the regions icon wines. The only one in front of the Morus was the 2016 Moss Wood which many of you will have purchased last year.  Each wine sitting on the opposite side of the $100 a bottle price point.

Stylistically the Morus gives generously on palate echoing its neighbour but pushing the aromatics and savoury texture a little more, allowing for a lovely tactile and earthy feel about it.  Bruce’s knack of marrying the artifice of winemaking to the soils from where these grape vines are grown is uncanny.  The hand of the winemaker is ever-present but never out of place or vying for your attention.  What’s in the glass reigns supreme here and in regards to his flagship red it will reward with time in the cellar too.  In its pedigree, it is easily one of the best value Margaret River reds around.