By Fergal Gleeson
Winter is traditionally a time when wine drinkers gravitate to red. While Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz dominate plantings of red varietals in Margaret River, when you scratch a little deeper there are a plenty of alternatives.
Many of these wines are made in small quantities. They are not widely available through retailers. You can source them online from the wineries or, if you’re lucky enough to be within striking distance, from the Cellar Door.
Happs iSeries Pinot Noir 2017 RRP $17
Erl Happ was planting alternative varietals in Margaret River in the 1980’s long before it was fashionable. Happs range is a cornucopia of world wine styles from Margaret river classics such as Cabernet and Sauvignon Semillon, to preservative free wines, sweet wines, fortified wines to obscure Iberian and Italian varietals like Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional and Bastardo.
They’ve hit the bullseye with this Pinot Noir which is a rarity in the region. Inside the smart looking bottle is a medium weight, savoury wine with a good depth of strawberry and cherry flavour. Gentle acid tannins provide texture right through the finish. Happs have the right site in the cool Karridale region to make it happen. Excellent value.
Rosily Other Side of the Moon Grenache Shiraz 2016 RRP $20
Grenache’s rising popularity reflects the transition in tastes of many drinkers from heavy dreadnought reds to lighter styles. This is the kind of Grenache I like with bright, red fruit flavours. The dash of Shiraz provides some extra depth.
It’s a smooth and quaffable wine with a Pinot Noir like weight to it. Rosily have built a reputation for making great value red and white wines from their organic, estate grown fruit. They’ve done it again here with a well made wine, that’s lots of fun and well-priced. The 2017 will be available from July.
Juniper Estate Small Batch Tempranillo 2016 RRP $27
Juniper Estate is one of the original Margaret River vineyards, established in 1973. They primarily focus on the region’s well known varietals in the Juniper Estate and entry level Juniper Crossing labels.
Tempranillo has been the biggest success in Australia so far of the alternative Spanish and Italian varieties. Juniper Estate Tempranillo is part of the Small Batch range where they work with new varieties to the region. Juniper have made a bright and refreshing one that’s mid weight. The black cherry flavour and smooth tannins make for an approachable, easy drinking wine.
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the winter edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine