I have been collecting these for nearly 10 years and I have just tasted what I think may be the finest one they have made. But what is it that makes this so? One man’s passion is another mans poison – did I just make that up?
Anyway we need to talk about the wine. Made from 69% Cabernet, 16% Merlot and 15% Malbec, Woodlands tells us that 2010 was an excellent vintage. In fact 2010 was the fourth in a string of great vintages for Margaret River, broken only by the cool 2006. But even that had one upside in producing the 2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, one of the greatest white wines I have ever tasted, including Burgundy.
But this Woodlands red wine is going to be something special.
The colour is bright crimson, with just a purple tinge.
The nose is an exciting and tantalising foretaste of what is to come; I get savoury notes and fine pepper spice, then blackcurrant, a light background of cassis/ oak, and a salty minerality not mentioned by other reviewers – the nod to Bordeaux that fascinates me with this wine.
The palate, as always with ‘Margaret’ is a mirror of the nose; but to all the above you can add the finest and gentle mouth coating tannins that surround the wine in the mouth; the mouthfeel is silky and full, the structure is medium bodied only (read power with elegance), and the finish is long and fine. Again I get a slightly salty/ minerally edge to the finish that whispers ‘Left Bank Bordeaux’. I guess that is the acid that others have spoken of.
Of course this wine is not trying to be ‘Bordeaux’ in nature but it does contain the same Left Bank grape varieties and in some vintages it just turns out that way. ‘Margaret’ is a super example of the voice of ‘terroir’ in Margaret River. The grapes for ‘Margaret’ are always from the same blocks so the fruit, the soil and the vintage do the talking.
I have never seen the alcohol level for this wine above 13.9% and this ensures that the complex but elegant characteristics of this wine are never compromised by high alcohol, or ‘fruit bomb’ effect.
I have spoken to the winemaker, Andrew a few times at various tastings, and the feeling is that the wine just gets made from the fruit that they have to hand, though they will change the blend proportion depending on fruit quality.
Interestingly this wine does not get the super high scores from Haliday and Oliver that I would have expected, but it gets a 97 from me, and I suspect that those that manage to still have a bottle in 5 to 10 years time will be treated to a wine of considerable stature. It is already sold out at the winery but there are some available at the major liquor outlets, take my advice and get some.
I have taken this to two dinner gatherings recently and have been amazed at the rather universal raised eyebrows and appreciation of this stunning wine.
It’s so luscious you can happily drink it on its own, but if you try it with a rare (lightly) hickory smoked BBQ steak fillet, sautéed kipfler potatoes and maybe a green salad with balsamic dressing, the wine will add an unforgettable element to your meal.