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Maritime Margaret River is a beautiful mixing pot of nature, surf and wine. It’s a rare place in that it produces some of Australia’s most stylish and prized Chardonnays as well as some of our most elegant and complex Cabernets. On paper it sounds like a lovechild between Bordeaux and Burgundy, but in reality it’s not.
A few hours south of Perth, Margaret River is home to some of Australia’s greatest wineries – Cullen, Vasse Felix, Leeuwin, Moss Wood and Cape Mentelle. In terms of newcomers, we take our hats off to Nocturne, Dormilona and Flametree.
Chardonnay, semillion and sauvignon blanc lead the charge on the white grapes. Oak is favoured in the premium styles which complements a rich core of nectarines, peaches and orchard fruits. For reds, cabernet is the chosen one, and is often blended with merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. These red blends personify elegance and ageability.
The wines of Margaret River fly the flag for modern Australian wines, a beautiful balance of fruit and workmanship.
The Margaret River wine region (some 240km south of Perth) is the most important region, alon with the Great Southern in Western Australia. Its viticultural history began in the nineteenth century on a very small scale when the grandfather of Dr Kevin Cullen, founder of Cullen Wines established vineyards at Bunbury in 1890, though the vineyard site has now been absorbed by Bunburys unban suburbs. Contemporary Margaret river viticulture began in 1967 when Perth cardiologist Tom Cullity - inspired by papers written by John Gladstones from the University of WA which suggested Margaret River was a good place to grow grapes - planted the first commercial vineyard at Vasse Felix. Moss Wood, Cape Mentelle and Cullen soon followed and since then Margaret River has grown to become regarded as one of Australia's, and the world's great wine-producing regions and today there are nearly 5,500 hectares under vine and over 120 wine producers in the region.
Though warm, Margaret River's proximity to the Indian Ocean provides a moderating effect ensuring a temperate dry climate which is often likened to Bordeaux, in part due to the moderating influence of its proximity to the ocean and also due to the marked similarities between the average growing tempreture in Margaret River and Bordeaux in a dry vintage. These warm even growing conditions allow for the cultivation of a number of diverse grape varieties, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc (often blended together) does well here, producing fresh textural white wines best condumed in their youth. However, the real heroes are the world class Chardonnays (headed by Leeuwin Estate and Cullen) and Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends, Cullen and Moss Wood, that have done much to propel both the region and it's star performers on the world stage. Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Cullen, Moss Wood, Lenton Brae, Pierro, Fraser Gallop and Woodlands are just some of the benchmark producers.
The Wine Atlas of Australia, James Halliday
The Jura is a world unto itself. It's a melting pot of curious whites and reds, many you've probably never heard about. A narrow valley wedged between Burgundy and Switzerland, this is countryside filled with limestone cliffs and hillocks upon which the best vines are planted. These wines are tangy, complex, pure and delicious.
Red or White?
Both. The whites provide a gamut of styles from the fresh and crisp Savagnin and chardonnays topped up (ouillé), to the oxidative, rich and nutty styles left purposely under-filled to encourage flor development. Minerality is a recurrent theme, threading the whites together. The reds can be a little paler in colour but don't be fooled as they carry a lot of flavour.
Ploussard (or Poulsard), Trousseau, Pinot Noir
Most of the whites show saline and hazelnut tones, and if they are developed under flor there are richer yeasty and oyster shell flavours. As for the mountain reds, there is a cooler tannin profile and a lovely show of earthy freshness.
Domaine Pelican, Stephane Tissot, Jean Francois Ganevat, Frederic Puffeney
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- wine of good have chemin
Domaine de Pelican Trois Cepages 2019This is the historic red cuve?e from Domaine du Pe?lican. They have been producing it since their inaugural vintage, in 2012. At the time, they decided to vinify together all of their red grapes and thereby created this blend of Pinot Noir (60%), Trousseau (35%) and Poulsard (5%). Hence the name, Trois Ce?pages. The vineyards from which this cuvee is produced are all located on the village of Montigny-lès-Arsures, where the winery also sits. The soil is made of grey and black marls, partially covered with fallen rocks. The vineyards broadly face west, at an elevation of between 300 and 400 metres. Élevage is in burgundy barrels (50%) and foudre.
Light, bright crimson. Juicy and lively with both red and dark-red fruit. Pure and with a light dusting of stoniness. This is a wine that draws you in with its pretty and vibrant fruit and then holds you captive with freshness, super-fine tannins and great length. Charming but not in the least insubstantial. Delicate and intense at the same time. A wine of real beauty. JULIA HARDING, jancisrobinson.com
2019Pinot noir, Poulsard, TrousseauFrance412$115.00 As low as $103.50