Cabernet + Chardonnay: King + Queen of Margaret River

Following on from last week's exploration into James Halliday's Best of Best wines by region, we get to the heart of our state's wine production: Chardonnay + Cabernet Sauvignon.

Best of Chardonnay 2018

“The field of 44 chardonnays was led by Margaret River (11), Yarra Valley (7), Adelaide Hills (5) and Mornington Peninsula (4). There was a greater spread thereafter, reflecting the great quality of Australian chardonnay; Beechworth, Geelong, Gippsland and Tasmania all provided three wines, Denmark two, Pemberton one.”

Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2014, 98 points

Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2014, 98 points

Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2014 was crowned Australia’s Best Chardonnay – and with good reason.  Wine buffs have long known the latent power and classicism that is intrinsic to Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay.  No surprises that other chardonnay 97-point powerhouses from WA include: Mandoon Estate, Singlefile (two wines at 97 and 98 points respectively), Vasse Felix, Windows Estate, Credaro Family Estate, Cullen Wines, Deep Woods, Devil’s Lair, Flying Fish Cove (two wines at 97 and 98 points respectively) and Larry Cherubino.

Best of Cabernet and Family 2018

“A thoroughly diverse range of Bordeaux blends and varieties on the one (larger) hand courtesy of Margaret River, and the classic Australian blend of cabernet and shiraz on the other.”

2013 Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet blend, 98 points

2013 Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet blend, 98 points

Vasse Felix released a new flagship wine this year - the Tom Cullity.  Named after Dr Tom Cullity who was responsible for planting the first vines at the vineyard (and indeed the first vines of the modern day Margaret River wine region as we now know it), this wine replaces the much-loved Heytesbury red.  Sourced from the original vines planted by Dr Cullity it is an homage to the man.  It also happens to be an exceptional example of Margaret River cabernet blend (also malbec).It received a whopping 98 points in the 2018 Wine Companion. Other wineries to bask in the glory of upper echelon reviews: Pierro Reserve (97 points), Woodlands Reserve de la Cave (two wines awarded at 96 and 97 points).

Best of Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

2014 Deep Woods Estate Grand Selection Yallingup Cabernet Sauvignon, 98 points

2014 Deep Woods Estate Grand Selection Yallingup Cabernet Sauvignon, 98 points

“The affinity of cabernet sauvignon with a maritime climate is put beyond doubt by its home in Bordeaux’s Medoc region. So it comes as no surprise to find that most (but not all) of Australia’s top quality cabernets come from regions with climates similar to Bordeaux. The dominance of Margaret River is likely to continue; not only is the climate ideally suited, but it is far more consistent than that of any other Australian region.”

Not many know that Deep Wood Estate have been dabbling in super premium wines.  Those who do are surely delighted about it - the winery is well known for its high quality and extraordinary value for money wines.  If you comb carefully through the "Best of" categories, you will notice Deep Woods Estate features in the 'Best of Rose', 'Best of Chardonnay', 'Best of Cabernet' and 'Best of Sauvignon Blanc'.  Not bad going at all.  There were three other WA Cabernets that were awarded 98 points this year: Evans & Tate (for their Evans & Tate flagship cabernet), Watershed (Awakening) and West Cape Howe (King Billy).  97 points wasawarded to Houghton (Jack Mann), Larry Cherubino, Moss Wood, Singlefile (they had two wines at 97 points: the Philip Adrian and the Single Vineyard ($37!)), Stella Bella (Serie Luminosa - this won a swag of medals and trophies at the 2016 Margaret River Wine Show) and the little known but MUCH loved Windows Estate in Margaret River.  If you haven't had the distinct pleasure of these wines - absolutely do yourself a favour.  Exceedingly well priced (nothing over $40), all single vineyard, delicious and well packaged (also featured in "Best of" chardonnays FYI). What a combo.

Safe to say, WA is a good place to be (always) when you're a cabernet lover.