By Fergal Gleeson*
Stella Bella means “Beautiful Star” in Italian and reflects the founding winemakers love for Italian wines, which led to them producing Moscato and a Sangiovese, which were unusual in Australia at the time.
Also unusual were the fresh and quirky labels- the Suckfizzle range caused a bit of controversy from some of the stuffier members of the wine trade.
It seems pretty mild mannered now, when there are wines out there with names like “The Ball Buster”, “Fat Bastard” and “Sassy Bitch” but the past is a foreign country and all that…
Stella Bella wines showcase the southern Margaret River, which is the cooler end of the region. The location naturally excels at Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc but they have recently also had wine show success with the Serie Luminosa Cabernet 2014, which won the trophy for Best Red at the 2016 Margaret River Wine Show.
Experimentation is an important part of what they do at Stella Bella and Luke Jolliffe and his team like to conjure up project wines using different techniques and with alternative varieties such as Tempranillo and Sangiovese Cabernet which are available exclusively at the cellar door or online.
The Halliday Wine Companion 2017 rated Stella Bella as one of the Ten Best Value Wineries in Australia. Wines range from the entry level Skuttlebutt series to the top of the range Serie Luminosa. New editions of Rose, Chardonnay, Sangiovese Cabernet and Tempranillo are now on release.
Three to try:
Stella Bella Chardonnay 2016
With wine this good, it is no wonder there is a chardonnay revival underway. This a beautifully executed Chardonnay, from vineyards in the cooler southern end of Margaret River. It has a lovely balance of grapefruit, white peach and oak. It dances on the tongue. Chardonnay involves more choices for the winemaker than other white wines – Stella Bella have nailed them with this one.
RRP $35. Rating 4/5.
Stella Bella Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Stella Bella are more than reliable, when it comes to SSB blends. The Semillon delivers texture and citrus, the Sauvignon Blanc brings the topical notes. They each zig zag to prominence, as you move through the glass. Easy to like.
RRP $25. Rating 3.5/5.
Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Black and then red fruits glide on top of inconspicuous tannins to a refreshing finish. The 18 months in French oak add a cedary character. At that mid-price point, where Margaret River cabernet delivers so strongly. The wines are less stern than the top shelf offerings in the early years but still have plenty of interest.
RRP $36. Rating 4/5.
This is a modified excerpt from an article, which appeared in the June/July edition of PRIMOLife Magazine. For more Wine Reviews read and follow www.greatwineblog.com Drink and be merry!
*Finalist- New Wine Writer of the Year 2016- WCA /Gourmet Traveller WINE