I’ve long been a fan of Willow Bridge wines - the winery produces outstanding wines that represent exceptional value for money. This is not an overstatement.
The Willow Bridge Estate wines start at the well-known and highly regarded Dragonfly range. Consistently pipping others wineries in the points stakes, and regularly receiving medals at wine shows, the wines retail at around $15.
The range extends into the Estate range – named after the parts of the estate from which the wine originates - the Gravel Pit shiraz belongs here. The top of the triangle is reserved for the Black Dog shiraz – a collectors wine, retailing at the extraordinarily reasonable pricepoint of $60 – some may say it is too cheap.
Recently Willow Bridge has released the Maris Sol wines – a white (oaked sauvignon) and a red (a grenache/tempranillo blend). These are exciting and limited/ small batch, the labels set apart from the rest of the Willow Bridge range. Maris Sol are a “see-and-buy” proposition, retailing at around $40.
The wine that got me thinking recently was the 2015 Willow Bridge Gravel Pit Shiraz. The shiraz fruit is sourced wholly from the Geographe region, which is an emerging region for red varieties, in particular – shiraz, tempranillo and grenache. Geographe also produces very high quality riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, so do keep an eye out.
After doing some digging into past scores from James Halliday for the Gravel Pit, I see it has been running super consistently – to the tune of: 2010 - 94 points, 2011 – 94 points, 2012 – 96 points, 2013 - 95 points, 2014 – 96 points and now the 2015 is current release. This wine was nestled in amongst 16 other Shiraz in a recent blind tasting and stood out for its hedonism, balance and structure.
2015 Willow Bridge Estate, Gravel Pit Shiraz, Geographe WA
“Phwoar [yep my note starts this way]… sweet, full, ripe and dark on the nose. Utterly enticing. The palate is structured and complete, almost hedonistic in its abundant red and black fruits, dark spice and supple tannins. It is inky. It is intense. Full of blood plum, blackberry, licorice, hints of strawberry, crushed black pepper… all ending in a juicy upswing of flavour through the finish. This is delicious now – satisfying and complete, but it will cellar well into the future. Halliday recommends as far forward as into the 2030’s… I tend to agree. Everything that is required for an elegant future is here. It is important to note that the 2015 vintage was dedicated to the previous late winemaker Simon Burnell, who was a charismatic, intelligent and talented man, and who is missed by all. $30 is an absolute bargain – long may it remain. 94 points”