It’s the perfect time for a Cabernet Sauvignon.
To be fair, any time is a good time for wine, but there isn’t a time quite like winter for a full bodied red.
I’m certainly no esteemed wine critic like James Halliday or Ray Jordan, but I am a grape connoisseur of sorts and here are five of my favourite local wineries from the Margaret River region. This region is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays.
“The Art of Fine Wine”, that Leeuwin Estate is. Famed as one of the regions premier wineries, Leeuwin Estate certainly lives up to the reputation. Sadly, it’s trademark concert held on the estate grounds has been cancelled this year, but there is provisions for its return in 2021. Their “Art Series” wines have won many awards both home and abroad. There is a reason why they have been producing wine for over 40 years. Leeuwin Estate boasts a top class restaurant and art gallery as well as daily tastings from their cellar door between 10am-5pm. For more information please visit their website below.
A stone’s throw from Leeuwin Estate is the equally impressive Voyager Estate. One of the first things you will notice upon arrival is the immaculately kept grounds, there is not a blade of grass out of place. Voyager Estate is currently undergoing a transition to organic farming methods in its commitment to sustainable farming practices, with the complete transition expected by 2023 and is already carbon neutral. Open Thursday through to Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday), try out the set menu from the first class restaurant or guided tastings with a platter of local or international cheeses. Bookings essential, please see their website for more details.
A couple of kilometres up the road from Leeuwin and Voyager is the lovely Cape Mentelle. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is as good as any in the region and is something they really pride themselves on. Due to COVID-19 restrictions tours have been suspended and their outdoor cinema (yes, they run movie nights) is set to pick back up in December. Daily tastings are available between 10am-5pm in this beautiful rammed-earth establishment.
The Wilyabrup soils house the final two entries of my list, the first being Cullen wines. With flagship wines named after their founders Kevin John (Chardonnay) and Diana Madeline (Cabernet Sauvignon), Cullen wines claim to be the only biodynamic and carbon positive winery and restaurant in the region. Private seated tastings are available and a number of ingredients utilised by their chefs are sourced from their own biodynamic garden, which you can tour like many others have done before. Come and see why James Halliday awarded Cullen’s “Winemaker of the Year” for 2020. Open daily 10am-4:30pm.
Not as well-known as some of the others, but an absolute gem of a place is Woodlands. A little to the north from Cullen’s along Caves Road, Woodlands has been around for nearly 50 years. Whilst the names of their Cabernet Sauvignons change with every year, their Chardonnay (Chloe) and Cabernet Merlot Malbec (Margaret) remain the same, and you can find the corresponding notes, optimal cellaring times and other information for each of these variants dating back to the turn of the century on their website. Woodlands used to be a tastings only place, but now they offer grazing boards full of seasonal produce, cheese and charcuterie (cold meats) to be enjoyed on their new outdoor tables along with your wine. Open daily 10am-5pm.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some wineries to revisit.