Modern Masters Of Margaret River Tasting 2019

WA', as this state is invariably known, may grow less than 5% of the country's grapes but it produces a very significant proportion of the country's best wine, entirely in the south-westernmost corner of this vast state. JANCIS ROBINSON MW

Margaret River, three odd hours-ish south from Perth, is perhaps Australia’s most remarkable wine region for its eye popping beauty and amazing beaches but that is not the jewel in its crown. Today Margs is consistently producing this country’s and some of the worlds finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

For many consumers the modern history of the wine industry there is pretty well known. In the 1960s a couple of serious agricultural scientists identified the region as having the potential to produce wines of the highest quality (Professor Harold Olmo (USA) and Dr John Gladstones (Australia)) A few astute families took the advice and began planting vines on their properties. That was the catalyst for a truly remarkable transformation of the region, one that is now regarded as one of the new world’s most prestigious regions.

From those first pioneer estates (think Cullen, Moss Wood, Leeuwin Estate, Voyager, Woodlands, Pierro) the region has seen a number of new stars emerge. Today the excitement about these wineries is palpable amongst savvy consumers and the Modern Masters of Margs are unleashing their wares on a very receptive audience and helping herald a new era of brilliance in the region.

While other varieties are grown there with great success the mainstay offerings remain Chardonnay and Cabernet and for good reason. Cabernet from Margs can hold its head high on the international stage and at its best delivers a remarkable amalgam of intensity, structure and wonderfully enticing fruit. They can straddle the line between elegance/refinement and robust/brooding while delivering a uniquely special interpretation of the classic “Bordeaux Blend” that will reward those with the patience to cellar them properly with brilliant drinking one day.

Margaret River Chardonnay, Australia is currently in a golden era for the variety, we have found our own voice and our style and are driving forward with the fervour that such a noble endeavour deserves. Leading that charge are two regions and Margs is definitely one of them. The inherent power and muscle the wines display has not changed, that is the voice of the region speaking, but the fine tuning from thoughtful winemakers and the growing understanding of the variety over decades of viticulture have all combined to bring out the best in what grows in the SW of WA. Today the best examples show that large scaled intensity and depth of fruit while more sophisticated handling means the sites have a more clear expression and are less encumbered by the heavy handed practices that plagued the variety in OZ for many years. Chardonnay here can capture your attention in its youth but has proven to age gracefully if given the right conditions.

This tasting represents what we believe are some of the top tier of producers from those new guard. Winemakers who are shaping the styles and driving the quality forward in Western Australia. Their names should, in our opinion, be known in every household here and abroad where good wine is consumed. Each of them is doing their part to highlight why this area is indeed one of the world’s most important wine areas for quality. In attendance and showing their new releases are Julian Langworthy (Deep Woods Estate and Nocturne), Glenn Goodall (Xanadu), Mark Messenger (Juniper Estate), Eddie Tomlinson (Lenton Brae) & last but not least Larry Cherubino from his eponymous label. This really is the best of the best of Modern Margaret River Masters and a line up not to be missed with each of them making the long haul flight to be here.