Tag: Decanter

Aug 08 2012

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot: A “Hall of Fame” Bordeaux Blend

Posted on August 08, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In an article on Australian Bordeaux blends for the May edition of Decanter Magazine, the Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot was among 15 wines to make Huon Hooke’s “Bordeaux Blend Hall of Fame.” (Aussie Bordeaux Blends by Huon Hooke, Decanter May 2012)

Its inclusion on such a prestigious list, which included other Margaret River greats like Cullen Wines Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot, the Vasse Felix Heytesbury and the Brookland Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, should come as no surprise. Since the mid 1990s, the Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot has been one of the most consistently highly rated wines of its style.

Perennial high scores from one vintage to the next is due in part to a winemaking philosophy that believes in leaving nothing to chance. As Voyager Estate states on its website, “We are meticulous in everything we do: from site, varietal and clonal selection to vineyard management and winemaking.”

Indeed, reading about the labour intensive care devoted to each individual block in order to achieve uniformity – meaning “every vine within a specific block will have the same number of buds at pruning, the same number of shoots and the same number of bunches” – reminded me of the approach taken at top Bordeaux estates like Château Haut-Bailly and Château Pape Clément, where everything is done with an eye on perfection.

The goal at Voyager Estate is to give the Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot the absolutely best chance possible of expressing the true essence of its very special terroir.

The original ‘Old Block’ of the Stevens Valley site was first planted with cabernet sauvignon in 1978. Here the terroir of uniform gravelly soils formed from underlying granite and gnessic rock on a stony clay base allows for a slow release of moisture and nutrients to the … Read the rest

Jul 07 2012

Woodlands ‘Margaret’: Sharing the Pedestal with the World’s Top Bordeaux Blends

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Australian wines don’t often feature on the cover of the prestigious British wine magazine Decanter. So to see the Woodlands ‘Margaret’  grace the cover of the May edition, and to be placed in the company of the acclaimed Ridge Monte Bello from Santa Cruz and Pomeral’s celebrated Château Clinet, is a good sign of the high regard the rest of the world has for Australian Bordeaux blends. Indeed, in the introduction to the feature article, ‘New World classics to cellar,” Stephen Spurrier writes that “The banks of the Gironde aren’t the only places to find quality, ageworthy Bordeaux blends. The US, Australia, Argentina and Chile are all worthy of a spot in any collector’s cellar.”

Huon Hooke, who wrote the section on the Australian wines, states upfront that “Historically, Australia has made a better fist of pure Cabernet Sauvignon than it has Bordeaux-style Cabernet blends.” But he highlights some stand-out wines that prove the exception to the rule: Cullen’s Diana Madeline and Vasse Felix’s Heytesbury from the Margaret River, Mount Mary QuintetYarra Yering’s Dry Red No. 1, Wantirna Estate’s Amelia and Hannah blends and Yeringberg’s five way blend Yerinberg from the Yarra, and the Hunter Valley’s Lake’s Folly Cabernets.

While the Woodlands ‘Margaret’, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec, may not have the stature of Hooke’s top picks, it would undoubtedly be included on a slightly longer list of Australia’s best Bordeaux blends. And Hooke’s observation that “still today, most Australian wineries that produce both pure Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bordeaux blend – usually a Cabernet Melot – reserve their best Cabernet grapes for the pure wine, age it in better oak for longer, and sell it a higher price, often with extra bottle age,” certainly rings true for the Woodlands range. Its … Read the rest

Mar 03 2012

Moorooduc Estate Moorooduc Pinot Noir: A Worthy Challenger to Fine Burgundy!

Posted on March 03, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In the March edition of Decanter, Benjamin Lewin looks at whether pinot noir grown outside of Burgundy can ever match the Cote d’Or’s complex, sensual and ageworthy wines? Lewin notes that Burgundian winemakers argue that pinot noir is a grape that expresses the specificity of the place, uniformly stating: “We don’t make Pinot Noir – we make Burgundy.” (Beyond Burgundy by Benjamin Lewin MW, Decanter, March 2012)

Today, only a third of the world’s pinot noir comes from Burgundy. Germany and New World producers in the United States, New Zealand and Australia have demonstrated over the past 20 to 30 years that they are capable of making very fine, ageworthy pinot noirs, often in styles that are different to Burgundy’s but perhaps just as special and interesting in their own right?

Lewin dispels what he calls the Burgundian myth that pinot noir needs limestone soil to achieve its full complexity, noting that pinot noir from slate soils in Germany, for example, are more precise and taut than pinot noir from limestone soils, which are rounder, fuller and softer. Different, yes, but no less interesting!

Singling out “12 Pinots to challenge Burgundy, ” Lewin’s only Australian pick is Moorooduc Estate’s The Moorooduc Pinot Noir 2008 from the Mornington Peninsula. Here’s his review:

Savoury, cereal aroma. Lively black fruit palate shows purity with well-delineated, precise cherries and aromatic blackcurrants. As generally in the region, the 2008 shows more precise, tighter edges than the more overtly generous 2009.

The Wine Detective’s Sarah Ahmed argues that the top pinot noirs from the Mornington Peninsula offer the best of both worlds – “the consistent quality, fruit ripeness and intensity that we’ve come to expect from Australia, combined with Burgundian structure, complexity and balance.” (Mornignton Peninsula Special Liftout Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Tasting, Decanter Magazine June … Read the rest