Off the Beaten Track- Stella Bella Wines

By Fergal Gleeson

At 50 years of age Margaret River now has many wineries that are globally recognised such as Vasse Felix, Leeuwin Estate and Cullen Wines. But that’s only part of the region’s story. There are over 95 Cellar Doors in the region.

Many offer award winning wines. Many are family owned wineries where you’ll get the personal touch. Some have picture postcard vistas where you can enjoy a scrumptious lunch with a local wine. They will reward those willing to venture off the beaten track….

Stella Bella cellar door and vineyards

Stella Bella Wines

Stella Bella isn’t quite a household name yet but by any other standard it is one of the most successful wineries in the region.

It holds a 5 star Halliday rating and has enjoyed considerable critical acclaim across it’s different labels from Serie Luminosa at the top to Skuttlebutt, the entry level range.

Stella Bella was founded in 1999 by the local Pyvis and Waldon families. They now have five distinctive vineyards located throughout southern Margaret River.

Stella Bella Winemaker 1705_winery_lane-243
Luke Joliffe, Winemaker at Stella Bella Wines

Luke Joliffe, Head Winemaker told me “We choose the southern Margaret River for its cool climate and ability to produce elegant, aromatic and medium bodied wines.”

“The peak summer & low winter temperatures are moderated.  This results in a longer cooler ripening period which creates feminine wines with distinctive varietal complexities. They have delicate and elegant flavours and a precise structure with a mineral character.”

Stella Bella barrels

Stella Bella has enjoyed notable wine show success recently including a Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon & Best Red Wine at the 2016 Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show and Best Cabernet Sauvignon of Margaret River Region in the 2016 James Halliday Cabernet Challenge for the 2014 Serie Luminosa Cabernet.  I asked Luke what he attributed this success to.

Stella Bella grapes

“Everything is done on a single block basis and we assess and challenge all aspects of winemaking to enhance the particular strengths of the site. Is wild ferment better? What oak suits the vineyard, why, what solids level suits the vineyard.”

What are his favourite picks from the range?

“Winter in Margaret River calls for Cabernet Sauvignon and our trophy wining 2014 Seri Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon is my pick. Its opulence is astounding and it is almost sold out. Later this year we will be releasing the first ever Suckfizzle Chardonnay. The texture and natural acidity create the perfect tension. It is the epitome of Southern Margaret River Chardonnay with a twist.”

What should people expect at the Cellar Door?

“Our charming little Cellar Door has a very welcoming relaxed atmosphere and is just minutes from town. The team are so passionate and knowledgeable. We invite people to bring a picnic to enjoy in the vineyard with wine by the glass and also welcome your furry friend too!”

Stella bella winemaker and dog

What next for Stella Bella?

“We have an exciting new label called ‘Otro Vino’ which means other wine. It is a range of adventurous, creative, exotic and explorative hand-crafted wines that will change from year to year. But most of the time we will make Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, then search for alternative varieties we can have fun with. So, stay tuned…”

For more visit http://www.stellabella.com.au

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the winter edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine

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