By James Atkinson

Western Australia's relatively young wine region of Margaret River is finally coming into its own and will only improve its output in future years, according to Vasse Felix chief winemaker Virginia Willcock, who presided over the label's hugely successful 2010 Heytesbury Chardonnay.

The 2010 Heytesbury Chardonnay has received a total of 11 trophies from five shows to date, including the top prize at the 2012 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show, making it the most consistently awarded wine in Vasse Felix's history.

Willcock told TheShout the winery's success follows a consistent run of excellent vintages in the Margaret River region, which she believes is coming of age.

"The first vines were planted in Margaret River 45 years ago, and in the first years of plantings there were not a lot of hectares," she said.

"We went through a bit of a growth phase in the mid to late 90s, and those vines are now just starting to mature, so we're coming into a phase now of more mature grape vines, more mature winemakers – we're in a settling down, getting better phase."

Willcock said some people have claimed Margaret River wines are too expensive, "but realistically it's not cheap to grow grapes in Margaret River, our yields are pretty low". 

"The vines are in nice balance, they're not hyper vigorous and that's when you actually grow really good grapes – where you don't have to over-manage your vineyard, you're not hedging it all the time."

Willcock believes some of Margaret River's top Carbernets can compete with Bordeaux on quality, "and they're about one tenth of the price".

"I think we've got a more 'Euro-centric' wine style, it's more food-friendly, more elegant than some of the bold styles you get in other regions in Australia," she said.

"Look at the varietal distinction you have in fruit from Margaret River – Cabernet looks distinctly like Cabernet, Chardonnay looks distinctly like Chardonnay."

"We get varietal definition, and that's a lot to with climate and soil," she said.

"The rest of the world should be a bit scared of a place like Margaret River."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *