Halliday Wine Companion Awards
Special Edition 2020
On the evening of August 7, an annual celebration sees the James Halliday Wine Companion Awards unveil the best Australian wine, winemakers and wineries. We joined many of our winemakers across Australia waiting with bated breath (many of our producers travelled to the gala dinner in Melbourne whereas we needed to rely on emails and Twitter!).
Margaret River is well and truly the star of the 2020 Companion, the famed region responsible for five of Halliday's 12 best varietal awards that recognise the top-rated wines across Australia in each grape category.
A new Vinorium exclusivity, Domaine Naturaliste, established in 2012, was named Best Value Winery of the Year. Bruce Dukes’winemaking philosophy is best described by wine expert, Professor Steven Kolpan, who noted in his book ‘A Sense of Place’ that: "Bruce Dukes articulates the art and science of winemaking with elegance and ease. Bruce knows that the best wines are made vine by vine, berry by berry.". We unveil Bruce and Domaine Naturaliste below with a fascinating Q&A.
Stuart Pym (Flowstone) collected the award for the Best Sauvignon Blanc. His 2017 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc is unlike anything from Oz. Personally, and something I shared with Stuart earlier this week, I believe he’s a magician with this grape. Think Francois Cotat / serious Sancerre and one for the cellar as I believe this requires at least five-years. Sadly, production is minuscule (30 dozen). We have five of them and that’s it! Stuart’s 2016 Queen of the Earth Chardonnay was up with the very best and received 98 points, which is incredible.
Deep Woods and in particular, their 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon collected the award for the best Cabernet Sauvignon beating off stiff competition from Mount Mary, Penfolds, and Yarra Yering. Our Planta Circa came very close and received 98 points. We have tiny stocks available in the UK with a further 120 bottles arriving later this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to taste a true, rare gem – The oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Oz (some say in the world) and masterfully crafted from 468 vines by Craig Stansborough
Julian’s success continued, this time with his co-winemaker and wife Alana. Their new venture, Nocturne was awarded in the top 10 Best New Wineries, which is a terrific achievement given they have only produced three vintages.
Moss Wood took the trophy for the Best Chardonnay with their 2017 Wilyabrup Chardonnay receiving 99 points. We are not agents for Moss Wood, but and quite fortuitously, have a little in stock, which is ready for delivery. It’s a small parcel which enforces a restriction on orders. Just six bottles per customer / per street please…
A staggering 9048 wines were tasted for the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Book with only 21 wines being awarded 99 points. We are thrilled for all our winemakers who put an enormous amount of work into their craft. It is wonderful to see them being recognised by James Halliday and his team. Of course, we are super-proud to collectively represent some of Australia’s best winemakers with some big announcements still to reveal…
Instead of rattling on, we have created highlights from the 2020 Awards below.
Domaine Naturaliste Wins Best Value Winery of the Year in Wine Companion Awards
Exclusive to The Vinorium
"All but one of the 11 wines submitted for this Companion received the value rosette, the points ranging from 93 to 97. Anyone with even a mere interest in these wines shouldn’t hesitate; wines of this class and price won’t be around next year."
"This award has never been about ‘cheap’ so much as the quality-price-ratio. Grosset, a previous winner, is a perfect example in that put these wines alongside others of similar quality from around the world, and they seem like veritable bargains. This year’s Best Value Winery follows suit with beautiful, balanced wines, particularly cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, at extremely reasonable prices. Domaine Naturaliste is the brand of winemaker Bruce Dukes, who has been making top Western Australian wines via his consultancy business for decades. Now, he’s investing some of that talent and energy into a label and range of his own. Start your Domaine Naturaliste discovery today."
We caught up with Bruce and asked him more about his life and Domaine Naturaliste
You have worked as the winemaker at such great names as Francis Ford Coppola’s Niebaum-Coppola winery in the Napa Valley and closer to home, at Margaret River’s Pierro Winery who we also know very well. What did you learn from your time spent at each and how have you applied this to Domaine Naturaliste wines?
Coppola and Pierro were amazing training grounds for a young winemaker. At Coppola I learned that wine is a form of entertainment, coupled with a strong understanding of history and tradition. An example being that as Francis’s neighbours replanted vines on AXR1 root stock, which was considered the “new kid on the block”, Francis wanted to preserve the history of the site and did his replantings on St George root stock. A decade on, and we began to see the failure of AXR1 to phylloxera, while the Coppola vines powered on via the traditional St George selections. Pierro taught me the importance of attention to detail and that the refinement of style and quality was attention to detail on a holistic basis.
How do your Chardonnays compare to the Pierro Chardonnay?
Pierro Chardonnay is considered an icon of the Margaret River region and I would be flattered and honoured if one day my chardonnays could gain the same recognition. I have been very fortunate in my experience at Pierro.
Tell us about your experiences at Niebaum-Coppola winery in Napa Valley. Was Mr Coppola very involved?
After my schooling in winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis, about an hour from Napa Valley and 1.5 hours from San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to work for Francis and Eleanor Coppola for 5 years. I started a three month harvest job and enjoyed it so much it lasted 5 years. The Coppola’s house was about 200m from the old winery which was a carriage house built in the 1860s, so Francis was often in the winery, and he had very clear visions for the wine. The Coppolas along with my direct boss, Scott McLeod, were very inclusive and generous with their hospitality, including me in many tastings and afternoon lunches with journalists at their house.
The Napa Valley is arguably more famous for Cabernet Sauvignon than Margaret River. Have you brought any winemaking techniques from Napa and applied it to your Margaret River Cabernets? How do cabernets in Napa and Margaret River compare?
Scott McLeod, my boss at Niebaum-Coppola, and consultant Tony Soter instilled the importance of understanding the fruit as it was growing, so that at harvest time we were aware of our surroundings and the similarities to previous vintages. We could then apply this understanding to fine tune the wines. History contains the answers to many questions.
You studied agricultural science in Western Australia. How important has this knowledge been to your winemaking? Would you have followed this as a career if you hadn’t become a winemaker?
My training in agriculture instilled a broad based introduction to biological systems and how they interact. It taught me how to critically evaluate information, so that you can make evidence based decisions, as opposed to anecdotal. The training also instilled a strong set of values in sustainability and of our long term responsibilities; quite simply we are the custodians of our land, and it is my responsibility to leave the land in better health for the next generation. If winemaking and viticulture had not fully consumed me, then I may have become a research scientist.
What path lead you to become a winemaker? Was it the science and viticulture that you were initially interested in, or had wine always been a passion of yours?
I was always fascinated by plants and microbiology as a kid, so growing vegetables and making compost were a long term hobby. In grade 5 at school, I would hand-juice table grapes from my backyard, then put the juice in glass bottles on my desk at school. I would watch with amazement as the cloudy juice began to effervesce, and that just fascinated me; as it still does now.
Could you talk us through the specifics and differences between the Flagship, Direction and Discovery ranges? Is there one particular wine that you feel best translates your philosophy?
My philosophy is based on an holistic agricultural approach; to work with cultivars which are well suited to our set of natural conditions. I believe success in agriculture is working with the natural strengths of the farming environment. Cultivars which offer a balanced composition of fruit, which can then be translated to meaningful styles of wine with minimal intervention, are the varieties I work with. I specialise in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a hat full of Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.
Before you began to produce the Domaine Naturaliste wines, you were operating as a contract winery. What prompted the decision to start producing your own wine? Has making wine for other producers given you a broader range of ideas to apply to your own wines?
I love custom crush winemaking as it has provided me with a very hands on journey of terroir in Margaret River. The opportunity of working with numerous different climates and varieties has been a great learning curve, and one which I am still enjoying. I look at my craft as requiring repetition so that I have the opportunity for refinement and improvement. My prompt to establish Domaine Naturaliste, after 25 professional years, was that the timing was right for my family. My boys; Oscar and Tim, were a bit more independent, and my wife Wendy has a bit more time to invest. This also coincided with gaining access to some of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the area, the heart and soul of my Flagship, Morus Cabernet Sauvignon.
Have you ever experienced any winemaking disasters?
Hmm, I look at them as my learning journey. It’s pretty simple to me, great wines often require that you live on the edge, and if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up space! You don’t know how close you are to the edge until you fall off.
Are you creating the kind of wines you love to drink yourself? Outside of Margaret River, what do you like to drink? Do you have an all-time favourite wine?
I have waited 25 professional years to create my wines, so they are the styles I love to drink myself. Outside Margaret River, I still love Californian wines, and at this exact moment, I am in the Loire enjoying Sancerre, en route to Chablis, Burgundy then Piedmont. My favourite wine experiences transcend wine alone, they include people and place. One favourite was enjoying the 1990 Chave Cathelin Cuvée in a small bistro in the Rhône with Todd Stanfield and Jean-Louis Chave, who were classmates of mine from UC Davis in California.
What drew you to Margaret River in the first place? Sun, sea and surf presumably?
My mother’s side of the family were a pioneering family from the Margaret River region, so we always made the 3 hour drive from Perth to visit the relatives a few times a year as we were growing up.
Before my life of wine, I just loved holidays in “Margs” as it has great fishing, world class surf and just heaps of cool things to do, like exploring the subterranean limestone caves. The region is a wonderful balance between farming, native forest and spectacular coast.
I’m sure that you are kept incredibly busy, not only with the Domaine Naturaliste wines but also with the many events that you hold at the winey. When you get a rare chance for a break, what do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies or is it a case of just relaxing whilst you can?
I love chilling with family and friends, such as right now. I am on a house boat on the Loire with all my family and with the Warrens, another winemaking family from Margaret River (Marq Wines). I aspire to cook rustic dishes, typically open grilling using local hardwoods such as mallee roots and grape vines.
Describe a perfect weekend at home and away from the vineyard.
The perfect weekend typically revolves around my oldest son, Oscar’s Australian Rules Football game, which is typically late afternoon. My wife, Wendy, manages the Dunsborough Sharks under 16s team, and I am the scoreboard operator. After the game, we often go back to my house, light the fire pit and cook dinner over it with some friends. Simple. Perfect.
The events you hold at Domaine Naturaliste seem an important part of what you do there. Are they about promoting your brand or just bringing people together for a great day?
We often have live music at the vineyard cellar door in Willyabrup on Saturday afternoons. The purpose is to bring people together, particularly the local community as it is simply fun, which is of course what wine is all about.
You run a Margaret River masterclass where you taste your wines alongside other wines from the region including Cullen, Vasse Felix, Leeuwin and Cape Mentelle, which some may percieve as being brave. With your back against the wall, where have you consistently rated against your neighbours?
I will often host Masterclasses featuring various producers from the area, on behalf of the Margaret River Wine Industry association. These classes are typically for groups of visiting international sommeliers or trade. I look at these classes as an opportunity to communicate the story of Margaret River and the unique characters of our fruit. The above producers are definite favourites of mine, (in my cellar) and I am in debt to them for helping to establish Margaret River on a global platform. Domaine Naturaliste is the new kid on the block, so I am working hard to establish my styles. We have been fortunate to get significant encouragement from the likes of Decanter, Matthew Jukes and James Halliday.
Talking of your neighbours, do you have a great relationship with your fellow producers?
Margaret River is pretty isolated, and I think the local winemakers are aware of that. We are also aware that our brand is Margaret River, as such it seems to have fostered an open and collaborative approach, which I really enjoy.
What is the insiders’ story of the Margaret River region? From the outside it looks like a beautiful, relaxed and friendly place to live. How would you describe it?
I guess the answer is like this, a few months ago, a friend’s Dad and 3 of his mates, all octogenarians, were coming back from a morning of pulling the cray pots, and as they were coming into the boat ramp at Canal rocks in Yallingup, another boat pulled alongside and asked as to their success. The crafty old blokes said they’d had a “bad day” as they concealed their healthy bounty of live crays with a towel. Crayfish are saltwater lobsters. Seriously, I love Margaret River and will be happy to refine my art here for the rest of my life.
What is the Wilyabrup sub-region like? Is there anything that sets it apart from the rest of Margaret River?
Margaret River has various subregions. My 21ha of vines are at 160 Johnson Road in Wilyabrup. The combination of the ancient gravelly soils, moderate warmth and my passion for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon make this ideal for me. The fruit in Wilyabrup has generous textures in the Chardonnay and really silky fine tannins in the Cabernet, which suit my current set of values very well. The Wilyabrup region was defined by the father of Margaret River, Dr John Gladstones, who is an amazing scientist specialising in climatology as it related to vines. The definition is based on air drainage lines, soil types, and climate (not a road), so I believe the classification is meaningful. To me, Wilyabrup provides a delightful balance of fragrance and texture to its wines.
With the coast on three sides of Margaret River, would it be right to assume that you can get some amazing seafood there? Is there a local delicacy that you’re particularly fond of? What is the classic wine pairing?
Yes, the seafood is bountiful and amazing. Despite growing up on the coast, fishing extensively, making my own fishing rods, carving my own lures, and loving fishing, I am not a seafood person. I am still trying to work that one out. On the other hand, my wife Wendy loves Margaret River Sauvignon and lightly wooded Chardonnay with her seafood. Her favourite fish is Dhufish.
Is it more common to dine out in Margaret River, or eat at home? Is there much of a local food culture?
The long and gentle maritime climate of Margaret River means that numerous plants can go through their full life cycles, as such we have some awesome produce, such as olives, tomatoes, general fruit and vegetables. This is enhanced by artisanal meat producers, such as David Hohnen, who has amazing pork, lamb and beef. The produce and the area’s focus on quality and sustainability seems to have attracted plenty of world class culinary talent which drives a great local food culture. As locals, we love dining out during the day, and typically stay a bit closer to home at night, to avoid kangaroos as we drive home.
We assume that being a great winemaker gives you a great palate that could also result in creating great food, especially with a scientific approach. Do you dabble with molecular gastronomy or is simple home cooked food best?
Molecular gastronomy has always done my head in, until I dined at Azurmendi jatetxea in Spain a few years ago, when I experienced mastery of the art. My approach, and without the skillset of those amazing chefs, is a bit like my winemaking, that is to concentrate on getting great produce, treating it with respect and to include an open fire and a great bottle.
Vintage variation aside, if you were to describe your wine style to The Vinorium customers, what would you tell them?
I aspire to instil balance, restraint and elegance into my wines as God has denied these characters in me.
Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay 2017
98 Points - Decanter "Big vanilla and toasty brioche nose. High toast, new oak on the palate with a great depth of ripe tropical fruit flavour, plus a rich vein of pineapple acidity that carries the youthful fruit. Everything is in place for this to evolve gracefully."
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The wine demands some aeration and reveals a crystalline, mineral-driven bouquet with nashi pear, white flowers, oatmeal and a whiff of smoky sulphide. The palate is certainly complex with flavours ranging from stonefruit, lemon peel and touches of anise. Concentrated but at the same time supremely measured and seamless. The palate offers a lovely glossy texture and is incredibly satisfying. Flavours expand from citrus notes, limestone, smoked almond to more oatmeal. Everything is kept in check with a healthy wash of acidity. A wine of immense potential and will only improve with more cellaring (3-8 years). I love this. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”. Our Wine of the Week - 26 April
97 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, cloudy juice wild-fermented in French oak (40% new), matured for 12 months. It's exceptionally fresh and pure, white peach and nectarine at its core. Roasted cashew and citrussy acidity dance around the core, creating a very long and crisp finish."
97 Points - James Halliday "A full-bodied wine of remarkable intensity, filling every crevice of the mouth with a pure stream of cassis and mulberry fruit, oak and tannins dutifully lending support, but remaining in their place, simply reinforcing the inherent elegance of the wine."
96 Points - James Halliday "A single vineyard planted in '78. 55% new oak for 14 months. Redcurrant, blackberry, violets and bay leaf bouquet; characters of cedar and chocolate on the palate are oak-derived, but sit seamlessly within the wine as well. The fruit and the tannin filling the mouth expansively."
96 Points - James Halliday "Absolutely nails all that is good about Margaret River chardonnay. Bright grapefruit and white peach fruit glide along a palate with great mouthfeel from its fruit, acidity and touches of grilled cashew nuts. Nothing wasted here, nothing included without need. 13% alc."
96 Points - James Halliday "A 75/25% blend matured on lees for 10 months in French puncheons (33% new). A hauntingly complex bouquet has passionfruit, lemongrass and French oak aromas, the palate with unusual depth and classic length. Trophy Sydney International Wine Competition '16 and Margaret River Wine Show '16, both thoroughly deserved."
94 Points - James Halliday "80% cool-fermented in stainless steel, 20% as cloudy juice in used French oak. This gives a tactile flavour expression equalled by few other Australian sauvignon blancs. It's not about Marlborough, but the Loire Valley/Bordeaux of France at half the price."
92 Points - James Halliday "Various parcels of fruit were fermented and aged for 12 months in seasoned French oak, and blended just prior to bottling based on a precise tasting profile. Regional personality is certainly front and centre here, with the Margaret River 'bay leaf' character jumping out on the bouquet, followed by red and black fruits with a touch of smoky oak in the background. Typically medium-bodied, it's ripely-flavoured and supple as it flows along the palate, the tannins gently persuasive on the finish to balance the books. One for now or a moderate spell in the cellar."
Wine Companion Awards
The Best of the Best:
2020 Varietal Winners
"It is liquid gold"
2017 Moss Wood Chardonnay
99 Points - James Halliday "It only takes a millisecond to know you are in the presence of vinous royalty. This is a truly beautiful chardonnay, seamless perfection from the first sip. You know there has to be quality oak somewhere in the wine, and know that all the analytical numbers will be a Bo Derek 10. It is liquid gold."
£34.95 per bottle
Strictly limited to 6 bottles per customer / per street
98 Points - James Halliday "A low yielding crop from the estate's home vineyard was fermented in equal parts new and used barriques, with full mlf, before a further 18 months of ageing in the same vessels, imparting a key lime zing to the aroma and a finely tuned meld of match strike flint. Lemon curd, white peach and grapefruit pulp purr along finely tuned mineral cylinders. This is exceptional, with winemaking a point. A challenge to differentiate between top white Burgundy and the stamp of a regional superstar!"
98 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked from specific rows, whole-bunch pressed to French oak for wild fermentation, and 9 months maturation prior to bottling. Rigorous selection of five barrels. Pale straw-green; this is remarkable as is the vibrant freshness and poise of the palate, the flavours running from pink grapefruit to white peach, the length admirable."
97 Points - James Halliday "High quality mod-Oz chardonnay to a tee. Complex burnt match, flint, grapefruit and white stone fruit. A palate of drive and verve, with a sparkling, crystalline acidity giving great length and tension. And it's polished too. Hard to fault now and yet will improve for many years."
However we still have 34 bottles of the stunning 2016 available;
winner of 6 gold medals and 97 points from James Halliday.
Deep Woods Reserve Chardonnay 2016
97 Points - James Halliday "Five gold medals in the second half of '17 will have been added to by the time of publication. Mainly sourced from Wilyabrup, the wine has a special type of phenolic grip (not limited to white wines) that makes the taster incapable of doing anything other than swallow it (bad phenolics have the opposite effect). A special wine, with perfect fruit/oak balance."
97 Points - James Halliday "This is the standard-bearer for Hoddles Creek's estate-grown pinot noirs. Bright crimson-purple hue of moderate depth; the perfumed bouquet has spice, hints of violets (unexpected so soon, but don't complain), cherry and plum, a gathering replayed on the stage of the palate, which is wonderfully long."
97 Points - Wine Companion "From a single close-planted block. It's fragrant, pretty, powerful and statuesque at once. The quality here is considerable. Deep with plum, boysenberry, mint and red cherry fruit flavour, though crackles of spice, wood smoke and mineral all make important contributions. Tannin, what beautiful tannin. We're into the upper echelons of quality here."
97 Points - James Halliday "A strictly limited amount of Equilibrio is made each year with the aim of capturing the best pinot noir of the vintage. Here MV6, with splashes of D4V12 and 777 all from the Hexham Vineyard are wild-fermented and matured in French oak (20% new) for 1 year. It is a beautiful wine, lusciously polished and vibrant in its flavour and mouthfeel, bringing red fruits wearing a wreath of foresty spices and superfine tannins."
"Complex and rich from the first whiff through to the aftertaste.. So much power, such elegance."
John Duval Entity Shiraz 2017
99 Points - James Halliday "From old vines in five districts, fermented with submerged cap, matured in French hogsheads (32% new) for 15 months. Complex and rich from the first whiff through to the aftertaste, not wasting a single berry in this great vintage. So much power, such elegance."
* Released in November / December and allocated to
customers who purchased the 2016 vintage *
John Duval Entity Shiraz 2016
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey "John Duval has a special place in Australia’s wine history and it’s easy to understand why. The perfume is full of charisma and covers a myriad of aromas from plum, sweet exotic spice, a faint whiff of warm earth, blood orange, vanilla, liquorice to an entire collection of black and purple fruits, which go onto flood the palate. There are some high-toned notes from cherry to dried cranberry offset with a wonderful creaminess. The tannins are perfectly woven – As silky as a spider’s web. The finish is long, super-satisfying with touches of blood orange. Reminiscent of Standish in some respects - Faultless winemaking and pure expressive fruit. Impossible to fault for the money. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."
97 points – James Halliday "60% Barossa Valley, 40% Eden Valley grapes, open-fermented with submerged cap, matured for 15 months in new (33%) and used French hogsheads. Deeply coloured; this is at once full-bodied and elegant, not a common marriage with young red wines with decades in front of them. The flavours are all black: blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, earth and licorice. The old vines have also provided ripe tannins, the whole theme resonated with oak a la Grange."
98 Points - James Halliday "From two old vineyards in McLaren Vale with an average age of over 80yo, wild yeast open-fermented, plunged, basket-pressed. Deeply coloured, this plum, blackberry and dark chocolate wine has countless layers of tightly wound fruit, the gently savoury finish providing flavour and texture balance beyond compare. Oak? Yes, it's there somewhere."
"This deserves a place among the country's few seriously fine examples"
Exclusive to The Vinorium
2017 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc
96 Points - James Halliday "A selection of the highest quality fruit, fermented in two barriques. Upon completion, the wine remained on lees for a further 15 months with a bit of batonnage to imbue textural complexity. More reticent aromatically than the standard cuvee, the future lies tucked in between the baby fat of piercing fruit intensity and the sheer tenacity of flavour. This deserves a place among the country's few seriously fine examples - it will unravel beautifully with patience"
99 Points - James Halliday "Matured for 18 months in new and used French oak. Excellent colour; the wine has a fragrant dark berry bouquet, the palate sheer perfection. So well balanced it seems suspended in the air, cassis fruit supported by feather-light tannins, oak an absorbed spectator. This is a beautiful wine."
Unfortunately we sold out of this wine last month but fear not for we have the stunning 2015 available; winner of 3 gold medals 96 points from Halliday as well as being one of our best selling cabernets to date.
Deep Woods Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Exclusive to The Vinorium
• Royal Queensland Wine Show 2017 - Gold
• Royal Sydney Wine Show 2017 - Gold
• Wine Show of Western Australia 2017 - Gold
James Halliday "From the oldest estate vines at Yallingup, plus grapes from a nearby grower, crushed and destemmed, small batch fermentation, 16 months maturation in new and used French barriques. A perfumed, brambly bouquet leads into a medium-bodied palate that caresses the mouth with blackcurrant, redcurrant and herbs."
Planta Circa Ancestor Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
98 Points - James Halliday "From a single vineyard owned by the Zerk family, planted 1880 to 1890, making it one of the oldest cabernet vineyards in Australia (and the world). Wild yeast-open fermented, hand-plunged, 8 days on skins, pressed to French hogsheads (44% new), on lees 17 months. This is pure and simple cabernet, elegant, long and finely structured. A great cabernet vintage for this great vineyard."
£40.95 per bottle
**Available for delivery w/c 19th August 2019**
Strictly limited to six bottles per customer / per street
Massena Stonegarden Single Vineyard Eden Valley Grenache 2017
97 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked in two parcels from the original ancient vine plantings (1857), fermented and aged on skins in a ceramic egg until Oct '17. The second parcel was 100% whole-bunch fermented and matured in used puncheons. You might guess a $100+ price and/or a wine with issues, and be wrong on both scores. This is a really attractive varietally pure wine, with very good colour and structure."
96 James Halliday "Bright straw-green; this is as energetic and fresh as a 3yo vintage sparkling, showing no signs of age. Granny Smith apple, lemon zest and unsweetened lemon juice flavours cloak the deliberate tannins in the wine, are all there as part of the structure and texture that make this wine so exceptional."
''Top 10' Best new wineries 2020 Winner'
Nocturne Wines, Margaret River, WA
James Halliday "This is the busman’s holiday for Julian Langworthy and wife Alana. It’s kept entirely separate from Julian’s day job as chief winemaker of Fogarty Family Wines (and hence Deep Woods Estate), which has taken him to the highest echelons of winemaking in Australia. Nocturne’s production is small and will be most importantly linked to the 8ha Sheoak Vineyard they recently acquired."
Nocturne Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
2018 Halliday Cabernet Winner: Margaret River Best of Region
Margaret River Wine Show Trophy: Best Red Wine of Show 2018
Margaret River Wine Show Trophy: Best Single Vineyard Red 2018
97 Points - James Halliday "A nail-biting vintage, rain ravaged then with unbroken sun. "I am as happy with this cabernet as any I have been involved in making," says Julian, and one taste will tell you this isn't marketing spin. A beautiful cabernet, purity and balance of the highest order. 14% alc, screcwap."
97 Points - James Halliday "A tiny 0.37ha interplanted with Bernard/Dijon and Gin Gin clones on south-facing deep silver grey sands. Wild fermented in new and used oak. Pale straw-green; highly fragrant/perfumed, palate fine and intense; minerally aftertaste. 13% alc, screwcap. Drink to 2030.
96 Points - James Halliday "From a single vineyard; free-run juice only used. Remarkable wild yeast wine with no additions until bottling. Beautiful nutty infused strawberry and cherry flavours, mouthfeel, balance, length. All boxes (and then some) ticked. 13% alc, screwcap."