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Margaret River confounds pundits with a cooler vintage

March 13, 2019 Beverage, Headline News No Comments

Just when I thought I had this whole global-warming caper sorted — and that all of Australia’s grape-growing regions were going to move up a notch in the temperature stakes — comes news that the 2019 vintage in Western Australia’s Margaret River is two-to-three weeks later than normal due to cooler weather.

Since last August, temperatures in the area have been lower than averages recorded between 2010 and 2018, in stark contrast with those experienced in other Australian regions, most which have encountered heat waves.

Vintage, it is anticipated, will continue into late April and early May.

Quality-wise, it all looks good for the vintage in one of Australia’s prime regions, though yields are down slightly on last year.

“The recent spell of nice war weather has really move things along quite significantly,” said Voyager Estate’s Steve James.

“The temperatures, whilst not hot, have been very conducive to high functioning of the grape vine and I believe we are on track for another excellent season.”

Certainly, reports on the quality of chardonnay picked so far have been very encouraging.

I can’t wait to hear about the district’s main red claim to fame, cabernet sauvignon.


Shaw Vineyard Estate 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz ($32): This blend of 85 per cent cabernet and 15 per cent shiraz comes entirely from the family’s vineyard at Murrumbateman, near Canberra. It’s a lovely example of a classic Australian blend, with the hallmarks of both varieties — the minty leanness of cabernet and the softer richness of shiraz.

Gartelmann 2018 Stephanie Pinot Gris ($27): The Gartelmanns have certainly diversified their grape sourcing recent years to include areas other than their home base in the Hunter Valley. This dry white was made from grapes grown in the much cooler Orange region and it shows in its crisp dryness but quite complex full flavours. Fruit-wise, ripe pears and citrus dominate.


Angullong 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($20): Another dry white from the coolness of Orange, this time dominated by fresh, zesty flavours of passionfruit, but with plenty of palate structure providing interest and substance. I wrote recently that the best Australian wines from this variety came from the Adelaide Hills and Orange. This wine certainly vindicates that claim.

Written by John Rozentals

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