Margaret River is the only region in Australia where you can hop from award-winning wineries to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves. It is located approximately three hours’ drive south of Perth.
On our second day of touring wineries in the Margaret River we visited Voyager Estate first in the morning. The property is beautifully landscaped, with formal gardens on the side of the walk to the Cape Dutch architecture tasting room and restaurant, with a formal rose garden beyond. We particularly enjoyed the Broadvale Block 6 Chardonnay and bought both the 2014 and 2010 vintages to bring back to our home on the ship.
“Wine, food, family and friends come together at Voyager Estate. Located in the famous Margaret River region in Western Australia, Voyager Estate creates outstanding wines that are skillfully matched with the finest local produce. Founder Michael Wright settled on the Stevens Valley site because it had the ideal characteristics to create beautiful wine. With vineyards established in 1978, Voyager Estate is blessed with the raw materials required to make great wine. From this strong foundation, the vineyard and winemaking team, led by Steve James, apply their craft and uncompromising passion to create elegant wines that do justice to their place in Margaret River.” – ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au
“Leeuwin Estate, which is Margaret River’s most famous winery and is renowned for its rich and complex Art Series Chardonnays, also feels worlds away from reality. Set on a former cattle ranch, the wood-and-adobe building with a corrugated-metal roof appears a bit dated at first. The modernized interior, however, has both a farm-to-table restaurant and a gallery showing paintings by Aussie artists.
“’People like an adventure—they like to find you at the end of the road,’ says Tricia Horgan, who founded Leeuwin in 1974 with her husband, Denis. ‘And we have more than a hundred thousand visitors a year, so they figure it out.’ Many of these guests come for the summer outdoor concert series, which takes place on the lush lawn every year. The two chipper septuagenarians don’t make wine anymore, but are never far away from whatever’s going on at Leeuwin. When I stopped by for a tasting, the Horgans told me that back in the early days, they enlisted the help of a knowledgeable friend. ‘Neither of us knew anything before we met Bob Mondavi,’ recalled Tricia, of the man who put Napa Valley wine on the map. He told us what to plant and where to plant it.’” — Travel and Leisure (Magazine), November 15, 2016
Moss Wood was our last winery visit of the day and we were treated to an extensive cellar tour and barrel tasting. It was quite educational to taste two 2016 cabernet sauvignons that have been in very different barrels for just 4 months following the spring 2016 harvest (one 16 years old and the other only 7 years old). (Northern Hemisphere readers need to remember that “Down Under” has the seasons “reversed” from the north, so grape harvesting is in roughly March and April – their fall season.) We could actually see a big difference already in the tannins and oak that the wines had absorbed so far, with another 14 months to go. Tasting the older vintages from bottles showed that the finished wines were very good and represent the top wines of the estate.