Margaret River: The New (Old) Cabernet Country

Margaret River in Western Australia produces some of the world’s most compelling Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends. Wines that would make any Cab drinker quiver in anticipation.

It’s the only place on the planet that enjoys a magical combination of factors that inspires winemakers and deliver Cabernet perfection. Luckily for us, a handful of these outstanding wines make their way to the US.

With soils that are billions of years old, the unique terroir of Margaret River shines in Vanya Cullen’s new, epic Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Vanya 2012. This biodynamic Cabernet is rich, plush, silky and meant to impress.

Margaret River has a distinctive climatic situation where the region is bordered on three sides by the Indian Ocean. From the cooler, southern part of the region, the 2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series has taken Cabernet Sauvignon from this neck of the woods to another level. Most wineries in the region are implementing cutting-edge vineyard techniques and innovative winemaking practices. Take the 2012 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon from this pioneering property’s Chief Winemaker Virginia Wilcock. This wine lit up my dinner table as part of an unexpectedly great pairing with some subtlyspiced Asian cuisine.

For Jeff Burch, it was the mouth of the Margaret River itself, an iconic surf spot that drew him to the area. He came for the surf and stayed for the Cabernet, aided by the region’s ideal harvest time weather. Jeff’s 2013 vintage of the iconic Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon reminds me of the Howard Park wines from the early ’90s – deep, dark, coiled … impressive and memorable.

Ashbrook Estate’s Cabernet Merlot 2012 uses a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to tell its story. The Devitt family, now third-generation Ashbrook proprietors, put roots down in the mid- ’70s and have an abundance of older vines that leave their mark. The region’s heirloom clone old vines combined with new, exciting younger vine material, produces some truly exciting wines. Si Vintners winemakers Sarah Morris and Iwo Jakimowicz set about making wine in the most natural way possible. Native yeasts, no ‘filler’ and minimal sulfur have produced a fascinating Si Margaret River Red 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/ Petit Verdot. If this is anything to go by, the Margaret’s future tastes bright indeed. There are fantastic wines coming to the US from all over Australia’s diverse wine regions. I could not think of a place on the planet more deliciously relevant for you right now than Australia’s Margaret River. Look no further, your new (old) Cabernet has arrived.

words by kyle meyer, managing partner, wine exchange

The New (Old) Cabernet Country

Margaret River in Western Australia produces some of the world’s most compelling Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends. Wines that would make any Cab drinker quiver in anticipation.

It’s the only place on the planet that enjoys a magical combination of factors that inspires winemakers and deliver Cabernet perfection. Luckily for us, a handful of these outstanding wines make their way to the US.

With soils that are billions of years old, the unique terroir of Margaret River shines in Vanya Cullen’s new, epic Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Vanya 2012. This biodynamic Cabernet is rich, plush, silky and meant to impress.

Margaret River has a distinctive climatic situation where the region is bordered on three sides by the Indian Ocean. From the cooler, southern part of the region, the 2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series has taken Cabernet Sauvignon from this neck of the woods to another level. Most wineries in the region are implementing cutting-edge vineyard techniques and innovative winemaking practices. Take the 2012 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon from this pioneering property’s Chief Winemaker Virginia Wilcock. This wine lit up my dinner table as part of an unexpectedly great pairing with some subtlyspiced Asian cuisine.

For Jeff Burch, it was the mouth of the Margaret River itself, an iconic surf spot that drew him to the area. He came for the surf and stayed for the Cabernet, aided by the region’s ideal harvest time weather. Jeff’s 2013 vintage of the iconic Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon reminds me of the Howard Park wines from the early ’90s – deep, dark, coiled … impressive and memorable.

Ashbrook Estate’s Cabernet Merlot 2012 uses a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to tell its story. The Devitt family, now third-generation Ashbrook proprietors, put roots down in the mid- ’70s and have an abundance of older vines that leave their mark. The region’s heirloom clone old vines combined with new, exciting younger vine material, produces some truly exciting wines. Si Vintners winemakers Sarah Morris and Iwo Jakimowicz set about making wine in the most natural way possible. Native yeasts, no ‘filler’ and minimal sulfur have produced a fascinating Si Margaret River Red 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/ Petit Verdot. If this is anything to go by, the Margaret’s future tastes bright indeed. There are fantastic wines coming to the US from all over Australia’s diverse wine regions. I could not think of a place on the planet more deliciously relevant for you right now than Australia’s Margaret River. Look no further, your new (old) Cabernet has arrived.

2017-09-18T16:49:51+00:00 April 30th, 2017|Wine Spectator|0 Comments

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