By Fergal Gleeson
Willow Bridge is one of two large producers in the Geographe region (the other is Capel Vale). It has a 5 star Halliday rating and has grown rapidly, based on a reputation for value as well as quality.
Winemaker Kim Horton is very excited about the prospects for Tempranillo. “Tempranillo offers both flavour and structure. There are no green or herbaceous characters like under ripe Cabernet or Merlot.
On the palate there is a lingering tannin and spice. It offers a good balance between fruit flavours and tannin. Tempranillo also works well in a Rosé.”
Kim came to Willow Bridge after working in Margaret River. He has been impressed with Geographe. “There are magnificent vistas and vineyards. There is a great variation in the sub regions of Geographe.”
“We are discovering the nuances of each. People have noted the similarity of the region to the Iberian Peninsula which is why people are looking at the possibilities of trialling different varieties.”
“We are testing out Mataro, Malbec as well as new Chardonnay and Merlot clones. The Cellar door is 100% committed to wine. We are a real winery not a virtual one. The quality of the winemakers in Geographe is fantastic. We are not resting on our laurels. There are still boundaries to push.”
Willow Bridge Solana Tempranillo 2015 RRP $28
Tempranillo is the best known component of Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine. It is considered by many to be the alternative variety with the most potential in Australia. Solana has bright, cherry flavours and a lively acid. There is a lightness to the fruit that creates excitement on the tongue. The tannins are smooth and provide extra character and mouthfeel. One of the best Australian Tempranillos I’ve tasted.
Other makers of alternative varieties in Geographe to look out for:
Angelicus– Tempranillo, Verdejo
Barrecas– Barbera, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Pinotage, Sangiovese, Zinfandel
Mandalay Road– Durif, Moscato, Zinfandel
Mazza– Bastardo, Graciano, Souzao, Tempranillo, Tinto Cao, Touriga
This is an excerpt from the autumn/winter edition of Found magazine.