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5 powerful Margaret River wineries to know

June Lee 6 January 2017

With Bordeaux-like growing conditions, Margaret River makes some of the best wines in Australia, and these founding five wineries are at the forefront.

Together with Margaret River First Class in a Glass, we’ll be showcasing the wonders of the Margaret River region through a three-part series. In the first instalment, we explored the must-dos in the region and for this second segment, we dive deep into its leading five wineries.  

Photo credit: Elements Margaret River 

It was in 1967 that viticulture researcher Dr John Gladstone first published his findings on Margaret River’s suitability as a world-class wine region. Within a few short decades, pioneering winemakers took up the challenge of experimentation to develop the terroir and the grapes that would excel in this region. From the 1970s, Margaret River started producing high quality styles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, along with a novel Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend.

Here are the five founding wineries and their top label to try at a Margaret River First Class venue.

Vasse Felix
Boasting some of the region’s oldest vines, Vasse Felix was established in 1967 when cardiologist Dr Tom Cullity planted the first modern vineyard in eight acres of land in Cowaramup. Since then, the estate has grown to include four vineyards for the best expression grape varieties on each topography and the estate is now managed by Paul Holmes à Court of Heytesbury Group, one of the largest private companies in Australia.

What to drink: Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2015 is made from the finest parcels of Chardonnay from the 2015 vintage, with stony minerality that builds on long maturity. Wild ferment and yeast lees combine to result in an elegantly complex nose and supple mouthfeel.

Enjoy at: Four Seasons Gourmet Market #B2-49 Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard.
Tel: 6634 4629
1855 The Bottle Shop http://www.1855thebottleshop.com/

Photo credit: Moss Wood

Moss Wood
Established in 1969 by Bill and Sandra Purnell, this site at Wilyabrup produced its first vintage in 1973 when 250 dozen bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon were made. Newlyweds Keith and Clare Mugford leased the land in 1984, took over in 1985 and have continued to establish themselves as a specialist, high quality winery.

What to drink: Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is the 40th anniversary of its first vintage – a milestone that proves that this labelling can cellar for decades. From the 2013 vintage, you’ll find mulberry, cassis and plum on the palate, with a generous complexity of cedar, dark chocolate and tar.

Enjoy at: Crystal Wines #01-02/03 Valley Point, 491 River Valley Road. Tel: 6737 3540
Four Seasons Gourmet Market #B2-49 Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard.



Cullen Wines
From a trial acre of vines at Wilyabrup in 1966, to planting 18 acres in 1971, Cullen Wines was drivenby husband and wife duo, Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen. Today, their daughter Vanya continues the estate’s vision of environmental sustainability. Multiple awards and accolades testify to the boutique brand’s insistence on values that include dry farming, hand harvesting, minimal intervention and biodynamic practices.

What to drink: Diana Magdalene 2014, comprising Cabernet Sauvignon with graceful amounts of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, is proudly made by Vanya as a tribute to her mother. The 2012 was named Wine of the Year by Jeremy Oliver, scoring 98 points. Look for classic Wilyabrup characteristics of cassis, violets and chocolate, with fine grained tannins and a crisp structure.

Enjoy at: Four Seasons Gourmet Market #B2-49 Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard.
Tel: 6634 4629
1855 The Bottle Shop http://www.1855thebottleshop.com/

Photo credit: Elements Margaret River 

Cape Mentelle
In 1970, Cape Mentelle became one of Margaret River’s ‘founding five’ wineries when pioneer David Hohnen and his brothers Mark and Giles established Cape Mentelle Vineyards. The first lot was 16 hectares of vines planted in the ‘Wallcliffe Vineyard’ and early experimentation included Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Today, it’s part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton portfolio together with sister property Cloudy Bay – established by Hohnen in 1985.

What to drink: Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 brings forth distinctively regional fruit from a good white vintage. Best drunk young, this pale straw tipple is bright, balanced and creamy, with juicy acidity and mineral character. .

Enjoy at: Le Rouge #01-25 Chevron House, 30 Raffles Place. Tel: 6532 7992
1855 The Bottle Shop http://www.1855thebottleshop.com/

Leeuwin Estate
Leeuwin Estate was established in 1972 when Californian winemaker Robert Mondavi helped to identify its future vineyard site and provided mentorship to cattle ranchers Denis and Tricia Horgan. The Horgans were the first to establish premium Chardonnay in the region, and also to feature Australian art on a label. Today, the winery is run by the family’s second generation.

What to drink: Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series Chardonnay 2013 is one of the most awarded series of wines, and sought after globally. Concentrated peach and melon flavours with nutty almond and cashew notes bring depth to a complex, rich palate.

Enjoy at: Crystal Wines #01-02/03 Valley Point, 491 River Valley Road. Tel: 6737 3540
1855 The Bottle Shop http://www.1855thebottleshop.com/

epicure’s exclusive giveaway with Margaret River First Class in a Glass

Stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Margaret River!

Prize includes:
– Two return economy flights from Singapore to Perth worth $1,500
– Car hire for four days worth $350
– Three nights’ accommodation worth $1,800
– Cave entry for two worth $45
– Lighthouse entry for two worth $56
– ‘Vasse Virgin’ locally grown and harvested olive oil product hamper worth $250
– Dinner for two at Piari Restaurant worth $150
– Wine tour for two with ‘Margaret River Bubbles’ worth $220

Keep a lookout for all three instalments of the Margaret River series and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out how to win.  
Prize winner: Goh Tze Wei

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