The West

Margaret River Wine Talk (including the wine review)
Margaret River Wine Talk (including the wine review)

Building on the Estate

Building a front of house facility has opened doors for one of Margaret River’s youngest wineries.

Arimia Estate owners Malcolm Washbourne and Ann Spencer “bit the bullet” this year and built a cellar door on their Wilyabrup vineyard.

The couple had owned the property for 15 years and started making wine in 2004, but decided a change was needed to counter the industry’s trying economic times this year.

“For many years I was concerned that the Shire would make us bitumise the road to our property and that a venue on Caves Road would be better,” Mr Washbourne told the Times.

“But we forced our hand and decided … to do it and build down here.”

Mr Washbourne said their location on Quininup Road was motivation enough to build a special facility intended to attract people who wanted to do more than simply taste wine.

“We’re located down a 2km dirt road, so with our cellar door, we needed to create a place that people wanted to come to,” he said.

“We don’t just want them to walk in and look around, but stay and enjoy the experience.”

The building features a tasting area and café, which overlooks the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. Offering different wine varieties was also a goal of the business, Mr Washbourne said.

“Our wine philosophy is ‘not only, but also’,” he said.

“Not only do we do what Margaret River is famous for, but we do things differently.”

Among Arimia’s offerings are its 2010 and 2011 verdello, 2008 and 2009 grenache shiraz mouvedre, 2008 and 2009 shiraz viognier, 2009 Petit Verdot and 2009 zinfandel.

“People are very interested in seeing different stuff and when they try it, they often buy it,” Mr Washbourne said.

Knee Deep is home grown best

Winery: Knee Deep
Wine: Cabernet merlot 2010
Reviewer: Mike Gadd, Wino’s

At the moment, I’m half way through looking at a series of Margaret River cabernet merlots to see what makes this so called “Bordeaux blend” tick in a place like Margaret River.

I’ve often wondered at the use of the term “Bordeaux blend” when describing certain wine grape combinations. It roughly means a blend of the grape varieties that are found in the French wine-growing region of Bordeaux.

These are generally, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet Franc, malbec and petit verdot, which they tend to blend because that in their region, the sum is usually much better than the parts alone.

But, just because the French do it this way, is the Bordeaux blend the only, or even best way to blend cabernet and friends? In short, no.

The Italians have created Super Tuscans from blending them with their indigenous varieties, and the Spanish have been throwing these varieties together with Tempranillo et al for a good while now.

The point is, Bordeaux doesn’t have a monopoly on this blend, and while some of what they do is great, the rest of the world can be just as good if not better, especially here in Margaret River.

In my opinion, dollar for dollar, the Margaret River blend is so much better value than pretty much anything from Bordeaux. Including the Grand Cru.

The Knee Deep 2010 is a case in point.

At $22 it’s infinitely more glug-able than anything I can get from Bordeaux for the same price.

It’s fresh and youthful with almost the smell of Margaret River native bush, and plums with a choc/nut spread on toast. It’s got a bright palate, lots of Ribena flavours and a dusty crushed bay leaf finish. In a nutshell, it’s a pretty decent drink.

So, in an era where all wine imported seems so cool right now, the best cab merlot blends are still to be found at home. Drink up.

To win a bottle of Knee Deep, send the name of the wine and your contact details, including your name andphone number to PO Box 204, Busselton, WA 6280.

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