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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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Mad Fish Gold Turtle Chardonnay 2007
Margaret River fruit. Fine, herb-spiked, nutty nose with a nice streak of something like green fig. The palate has very nice fruit, with a touch of leesy, waxy weight, but fine clarity and a zesty finish. 89/100

Howard Park Chardonnay 2007
Mostly great Southern Fruit. Much more toast and rounded vanillin. The palate has a big sour lemony fruit and really good orangy acidity. Lovely bit of structure here. 91/100

Howard Park Chardonnay 2008
Mostly great Southern Fruit. Lots of toast and nutty warmth, a little hint of espresso. Big, concentrated palate with layers of lemon pith, nuttiness and that core of fruit that has real intensity and punch. More focused that the 2007 and more vibrant perhaps. 93/100

Marchand & Burch Chardonnay 2008
All great Southern Fruit. More subtle than the Howard Park, with refined, lightly toasty notes and a good deal of minerality. Has lovely pithy grapefruit acidity and a very fine palate. 93/100

Mad Fish Gold Turtle Tempranillo 2008
Matured in large, old oak hogsheads. Nice and leafy, tobacco character with lots of bright fruit and good concentration. Lovely sweet fruited palate with lots of nice tannin, fresh acidity and sweetness. 89/100

Mad Fish Gold Turtle Shiraz 2007
Frankland river fruit. Lovely coffeeish oak over deep, quite plumy fruit. Nice spicy quality. Very fine, mouth-filling palate, lots of grip and a spicy black cherry quality. Nice wine with lots of grip. 89/100

Howard Park Scotsdale Shiraz 2007
Frankland River fruit. Nice grilled meat quality, a touch of cedar, and a smooth, fairly voluptuous fruitiness. Very nice, lithe, tight and muscular character. Tight and concentrated with good dry extract and a savoury, grippy finish. 92/100

Marchand & Burch Shiraz 2007
Mostly Margaret River in this vintage. Very smooth, silky, black cherry and chocolate-touched fruit. The palate has a fantastic black chocolate richness. This is lovely, with round and voluptuous quality. 94/100

Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2007
Big, strapping, rich and concentrated with a bold, concentrated, fruit and a really meaty structure. A big, powerhouse style, but very good. 92/100

Madfish Cabernet Merlot 2007
Nice touch of leafiness to this blend of various regions in WA. Nice touches of earthiness and gentle cedar from old oak. On the palate there's a really chewy texture and plenty of dry, grippy, earthy tannins and spice. Delivers a big, quite serious glass of wine at £8.99 in the UK. 90/100

Mad Fish Gold Turtle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Quite earthy too, with a similarly dense and cedary black fruit nose. The palate is loaded with tannin - wonderfully dense and chocolaty quality, but the fruit staying pure and quite glossy. A layered, dense wine that maintains an edge. 92/100

Howard Park Scotsdale Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Quite warm, round nose, with a thick, sweet fruit and plenty of spice and a touch of toast. Very sweet, fat, mouth-filling black fruit, lots of glossy sweetness but masses of grippy, black fruit and fine structure. Like the life and elegance to this. 92/100

Howard Park Leston Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
This picks a really leafy, green olive herbaceous quality of Cabernet. Lots of tight, thick blackcurrant fruit again, with quite full, earthy quality. Has lots of grip and lots of bright red cherry and a lifted quality to this, but finishes with great style and grippy length. 92/100

Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Great Southern and Margaret River, around 40% new oak for this top Cabernet. Beautifully bright, rounded, glossy black fruit. The palate has that really solid core of black fruit again. There's a juicy, firm blackness to the fruit, and a big kick of very grippy, in some ways lean but focused and svelte tannins. Nice acid structure too, and has a long, really nicely focused finish with terrific balance. Lip-smacking, savoury and juicy stuff that needs time. 94/100

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