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Wines of Margaret River

© 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Margaret River, Australia.


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Evans & Tate Zamphire NV
Brand new, sparkling wine made from Margaret River fruit, but bottled at one of McWilliams sparkling wine facilities elsewhere. The wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. In a brand new zork closure that is re-sealable. Apple-freshness of the Chenin comes through, and big, bold lime fruited palate. Easy to drink but delicious and well balanced. 87/100. Not in UK, but would sell around £9.99

Evans & Tate Classic Semillon Sauvignon 2008
A 60/40 blend. Quite green and herbaceous, with a touch of sweatiness. A lot of good, lemony fruit comes through, and has some really nice herbaceous punch. Maybe a touch harsh on the finish in terms of the acidity, but easy to drink at 12.5% alcohol. 86/100. £7.99 on, often on promo at £5.99.

Evans & Tate Classic White Semillon Sauvignon 2009
A bit tanky and pear droppy, but the bold lemony fruit and grassy edge coming through. Has fine balance, and decent length too. 86/100. £7.99,

Evans & Tate Split River Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Branded as 'Gnangara' in Australia, this new entry level range are Western Australian wines rather coming exclusively from Margaret River. It will sell for around £6.99 of it comes to the UK. Nicely punchy nose, with a gooseberry and herbal crunch. The palate has a slightly confected quality, with a touch of sugar just causing a little disjointed character towards the finish. 85/100.

Evans & Tate Split River Unwooded Chardonnay 2008
Nose has melon and some lemony fruit, with a fairly stripped palate. Again I don't like the sugar, but this has a bit of easy drinking charm. 84/100. Will sell for £6.99

Evans & Tate Margaret River Chardonnay 2006
From one of the region's coolest but longest growing seasons on record, this is aged in 50% new French oak, with another 20% or so spending time in Older Russian oak. Quite a smoky, toasty touch to the nose, but still some of Margaret River's green, cool fruit comes through. A little bit of oily green bean quality, and onto the palate lots of punch and verve, but also a broad, juicy fruitiness. 89/100. £9.99, Tesco Fine Wine and

Evans & Tate Margaret River Chardonnay 2007
Toastier, and seems a little less green than the 2006, with a real freshness again, though again I feel the sugar is slightly high in this vintage. 88/100.

Evans & Tate Stellar Ridge Chardonnay 2006
This and next wine are part of a single vineyard project, with wines made from different vineyards which might change each year. This is the second year of this project, and the second time the Stellar Ridge vineyard has made it into bottle. Fine, smoky, buttery nose, lots of quality French oak. Palate has a lovely sour lemon quality, a bit of cashew and oatmeal, and very fine. 91/100. Not exported, but sells for 35 AUS $35

Evans & Tate Wildberry Chardonnay 2005
From a 50/50 combination of new and one-year-old French oak, this has a complex, slightly wild and herbal nose, with exotic incense notes and a touch of green fig. Delicious palate - full of fruit that is quite peachy and weighty, but constrained by a keen, cool, apple acidity. 92/100.

Evans & Tate Reserve Chardonnay 2005
Fermentation and ageing in new and used French oak gives a nice crushed almond and cashew nose. Lots of oatmeal and just a touch of that green bean crunch in the background. The palate has richness and full-bodied weight. Creamy and rich, the French oak adding toast and nuttiness, but maintains a nice, crisp edge. 91/100. £19.99.

Evans & Tate Classic Red Shiraz Cabernet 2008
Bold raspberry fruit, a touch of pepper, very bright and zippy. The palate has lots of fleshy, plum and cherry sweetness. Tangy and fresh, there's enough acidity and a nip of roughening tannins to balance the slightly too sweet finish. 86/100. £7.99,

Evans & Tate Split River Shiraz 2008
Peppery spice, with a touch of raspberry and cherryish fruit. Big, bold, creamy sweet fruit and a dollop of sugar. Delivers a lot of big fruit and spice at a modest price. 86/100. Would be £6.99 if in the UK.

Evans & Tate Split River Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Nice nose, a touch of leather and spice, and a slightly gravelly, earthy quality perhaps? Decent, bold fruit on the palate. 87/100. Would be £6.99 if in the UK.

Evans & Tate Margaret River Shiraz 2007
Big, bold, creamy and vanillin nose, with lots of ripeness and plushness. The palate has that creamy quality too, but this has a nice bit of racy background, with a chocolaty note too and a certain plushness. Plenty of spice and richness. 90/100. £9.99.

Evans & Tate Reserve Shiraz 2005
A wine awarded a clutch of top awards at the Royal Sydney Show last year, at which I was a judge, it is great to taste this again now. A touch of briary, schisty quality, with lots of cool climate briar and leafy quality, but very bold. Long and very, very fine. 93/100. £19.99.

Evans & Tate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Big, bold, crunchy nose, with lots of chocolate and ripe, thick blackcurrant fruit. The fruit on the palate is beautifully balanced and sweet. Real structure and grip too here though, with a silkiness to the tannins and a good, pithy, lemony acidity. 92/100. £19.99.

Evans & Tate Classic Moscato 2008
An extremely surprising blend of around 50% Sauvignon Blanc with 30% Shiraz, Chardonnay and less than 15% Muscat. Great fun, with the bold, strawberry fruit and the Sauvignon adding maybe a touch of greeny grip. Would be £8.99 if in the UK - but with only 15% Muscat in the blend, let's hope they'd rename it if they do. 87/100.

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