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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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Skuttlebutt Sauvignon/Semillon 2008
From bought-in fruit, vineyards spread around WA, that provide lots of components. Big, juicy, passionfruit nose, lots of grapefruit and orange and plenty of zing. The palate has a nice waxiness from the Semillon and has a lovely bright acidity with a pithy dryness. 88/100

Stella Bella Semillon/Sauvignon 2008
60% Semillon, with 10-15% of the blend fermented in new oak. Big green bean punch, with a nuttiness and a peachy fruit behind. The palate has lovely fruit sweetness - a real sweet pear and peach pushing through with a waxy, lemon rind acidity. Concentrated and focused. 90/100

Stella Bella Sauvignon Blanc 2009
20% barrel ferment Margaret River fruit, with lovely grassiness and that peachy fruit behind. There's a bright, zingy focus with lots of lime-spiked, grassy fruit and a lovely savoury punch, just a tiny hint of spice and interesting minerality. 91/100

Stella Bella Semillon/Sauvignon 2003
Quite a lot of nutty, figgy influence, with a real lemon curd ripeness, and mouth-filling textural weight lovely punch and sweet fruit at the core and terrific savoury balance. 93/100

Stella Bella Chardonnay 2007
Fermented in older oak, but has a powerful toasty, malolactic, creamy nose. Lots of fig and green fruit. The mouth is filled with sweet fruit, really quite intense and rich, loads of texture but a great juiciness and minerality in amongst the ripe fruit and swirling oak. 92/100

Stella Bella Chardonnay 2002
Lovely nose, maybe slightly suppressed and the nutty, savoury character coming through. The palate has delicious, savoury, tight lemony character, and a creaminess in the background and all that savoury, almost cedary character. 91/100

Stella Bella Viognier 2007
Fermented in old oak. Slightly warmer ferment, no malolactic. Fantastically expressive, typical nose with dried apricot and fresh, juicy pear, but there's a whimsical suggestion of something exotic, almost spicy and lychee-like. The palate is juicy and fresh, with lots of texture and punchy, fresh fruit. No blowsiness, and has touches of spice and lovely acidity. 90/100

Suckfizzle Sauvignon / Semillon 2007
The "terroir" wine from eight hectares on the southern coastal tip of Margaret River region. All barrel fermented (50/50 new and old) 15 months in oak with battonage, but no malolactic. Extraordinary, aromatically expressive wine, with lots of nutty, nut husk notes, green bean notes, and complex fruit hinting at tropical and lemon, with bracing acidity on the palate. 92/100

Suckfizzle Sauvignon / Semillon 2005
Toasty, more mellow than the 07, with a herbal notes and a waxy lemon rind, very attractive. The palate is riven with beautiful lemony fruit and acidity, and a really mineral, clean undertone. Beautiful, expressive wine. 93/100

Skuttlebutt Shiraz Cabernet 2007
Rich, pepper and spice-marked black fruit. Black cherry and a smoky tobacco note, with lots of grip and a savoury character. Dry and savoury and a very serious wine at its price. 88/100

Stella Bella Shiraz 2007
Little touch reductive, but a schisty, smoky quality too. The palate has strikingly fresh fruit, with delicious fruit sweetness and then that big, dry, savoury spice and smoke. Lovely, intelligent stuff. 91/100

Stella Bella Tempranillo 2007
Big, seductive, black cherry nose, with some roast meat and a touch of chocolate. There's a deal, of dry, quite inky tannic heft: it's a big, dry, savoury style. But the sweetness of the fruit is there, and a lip-smacking juiciness definitely comes through. 90/100

Stella Bella Sangiovese / Cabernet 2007
This has 85% Sangiovese, so could be labelled simply as that. The palate has a black cherry bite, intermingled with some smoke and a touch of chocolate, but the tannins are smooth and silky and the cool, pure fruit powers through. Beautiful stuff. 91/100

Stella Bella Cabernet / Merlot 2007
Terrific, herbaceous but ripe and cassis-laden cabernet nose, with spices and a subtle vanilla. The palate has some olive savouriness and plenty of thick, sweet black fruit of black cherry and cassis. The tannins are ripe, and this is grippy, but silky in the finish. 92/100

Suckfizzle Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Single vineyard, picked twice. Big, wonderfully smoky, spicy, sage-like quite mineral nose, with fantastic fruit sweetness and juicy blackcurrant ripeness. Lovely ripeness and a dense, plush wine with superb balance, the spice of the tannins and cherry acidity lifting the finish. 94/100

Suckfizzle Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
A herbaceous, Cabernet edge to this, with hints of mint and eucalyptus, a touch of sage. Really bright, juicy black fruit beneath - super ripe blackcurrant. The palate has great sweetness - wonderful elegance but a juicy, mouth-filling dryness with a hint of umami, earth and leather. 93/100

Skuttlebutt Savvy Sauvignon Blanc 2009
A lovely 70g/l sugar frizzante with beautiful peachy notes, lovely sweetness but really quite punchy too. The acidity is great and the fruit too. 87/100

Stella Bella Pink Muscat 2009
Nicely medicinal edges of cherry and a touch of clove, and all the floral notes. There is a ginger beer character and really nice sweetness and a delicious cherry fruit. 90gl sugar. Great acidity and a spine of lovely Muscat fruit. 89/100.

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