The West

Margaret River wine talk (and wine review)
Margaret River wine talk (and wine review)

Newcomers delight legend

Margaret River is home to one of Australia’s best new wineries, according to wine legend James Halliday.

Della Fay Wines, owned by Michael and Alison Kelly, was selected as one of the country’s top 10 best new wineries as part of the wine writer’s 2013 edition of the Australian Wine Companion publication.

Despite growing on only eight hectares, Mr Halliday said the winery offered unmatched quality and variety in the region and credited its success to “district veteran” winemaker Michael Kelly.

“They planted 1.2ha each of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, nebbiolo, vermentino and sauvignon blanc, 1.1ha of chardonnay, and 0.5ha each of malbec and petit verdot,” Mr Halliday said in his online review.

Mr Kelly, who started Fermoy Wines nearly 30 years ago, said given the industry’s economic “perfect storm”, it was logical to downsize and start his own business.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and all I know is viticulture and winemaking,” he said.

Della Fay has already started exporting to China and Singapore and Mr Kelly believed Halliday’s nod would help lift their profile in Asia, which he described as the “future of the industry”.

Cape Naturaliste Vineyard was also named as one of Australia’s “dark horse” wineries in the Wine Companion.

“The vineyard is planted to cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot, semillon and sauvignon blanc, and is run on an organic/biodynamic basis,” Mr Halliday wrote.

“The quality of the wines would suggest the effort is well worthwhile, especially with (winemaker) Bruce Duke’s skills recognised when he was named Winemaker of the Year at the WA Wine Industry Awards 2011.”

Devil’s Lair, Howard Park, Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood, Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate and WoodlandsWines were touted as Margaret River’s best wineries by Mr Halliday.

Soothing full body wine

Winery: Woody Nook
Wine: 2011 Chardonnay
Reviewer: Mike Gadd, Wino’s

Just when I thought I’d have a break from late night sport with the Tour de France over, we get the Olympics.

I’m a sucker for this sort of thing and find myself mindlessly watching whatever obscure sport might be on at 3am.

The next few weeks are gonna be a tough ones.

Luckily we live in a wine region that has a plethora of decent wines to keep me company. Tonight’s wine to keep me company is the Woody Nook chardonnay 2011.

I think this is actually the first Woody Nook chardonnay I’ve ever had.

I’ve always been a swinging fan of their reds, which on their year can be awesome wines.

2011 was a hot and early vintage, and I remember some balmy nights harvesting chardonnays at 3am to try and get them as cool as possible.

Not surprisingly, the warmer year made some warmer, more full bodied wines, and this is no exception, with the 14 per cent alcohol contributing to a fuller body that’s like a Jenny Craig before shot.

Not actually a bad thing at 2am in the morning on a cold winter’s night.

The aromas are pretty stock Margaret River chardonnay with a pineapple sundae character.

That is, pineapple syrup over vanilla ice-cream with wafers and desiccated nuts.

Simple, yet nice and refreshing.

In the mouth, that full body fills the palate and more of the Pineapple Sundae is there as well, but the interesting thing for me is that rather than a crisp finish, the wine finishes salty.

It’s kind of beguiling and well, sexy, in that sweaty summer loving on the beach kind of way.

I’m not sure what to make of it but I find myself constantly having another taste.

Maybe this is exposing a secret fetish for salty big bodies draped in pineapple and ice-cream , but hey, it is what it is.

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