Home' National Liquor News : NLN MAY 2016 Contents 34 | MAY 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS
Buoyed by a 2016 vintage that was "looking good" and some glowing
reviews for its 2014 Plantagenet Riesling and 2015 Great Southern
Riesling, Plantagenet appointed a new senior winemaker in February.
Luke Eckersley grew up in the region and gained winemaking experience
in Europe and the United States before returning to WA. He worked at
Forest Hill and Rockcliffe before taking up his current position.
Another notable appointment is Luke Skeer in the role of senior
winemaker at Margaret River winery, Devil's Lair. A passionate advocate
of Cabernet Sauvignon, Skeer worked at Wynns in Coonawarra before
moving to Devil's Lair in July last year. In 2013, he was awarded the
Wine Society's Australian and New Zealand Young Winemaker of the
Year, and in 2015 he was a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar.
Margaret River's strength in Cabernet and Chardonnay was evident
in the 2016 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion Awards, with
Devil's Lair premium wine, 2011 9th Chamber, taking out the award
for Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year, and Deep Woods' 2013 Reserve
Chardonnay taking out the award for Chardonnay of the Year. Mt Barker
winery, West Cape Howe, was named Best Value Winery of the Year.
Margaret River producer Evans & Tate has also had some show
success, of which it is justifiably proud. It's Evans & Tate 2012 Cabernet
Sauvignon (RRP $100) was named Wine of Show at the 2015 Margaret
River wine show. Evans & Tate was also named Most Successful
Exhibitor and won trophies for Best Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Blend
(Metricup Road SSB 2014) and Best Other Blend or Varietal (Evans &
Tate Cellar Door Malbec 2013).
Brand manager George Stupart said it has been a "fantastic" 12
months for Evans & Tate with not only tremendous sales results but also
great recognition for the quality of its wines.
"For many years we have maintained our position as the biggest
(Margaret River winery), with 26 per cent of all Margaret River wine
coming out of the Evans & Tate stable. But with our achievements at
the 2015 Langton's Margaret River wine show, we took a very big step
towards realising our vision of also being the best," Stupart said.
"Our well-known and much loved Classic range (RRP $18) returned
to growth and underwent a slight packaging refresh to strengthen
communication of our Margaret River GI and separate varietals within
"Our Expressions range (RRP $20 -- Butterball, Fresh as a Daisy, Pile
Driver, Smooth Operator) continues to experience double-digit growth and
resonate with shoppers looking for wines with more personality. We also
added two new wines to the range (Strawberry Fields Rosé and Showtime
Brut Cuvée). This range is a Woolworths Liquor Group exclusive and
(Butterball) has been their most successful new wine this year."
Extensions are planned for Evans & Tate's Breathing Space range and
Sub Regional series, and two new ranges are due for release in the
next few months. The first of the new ranges is a Coles Liquor Group
exclusive that includes Warm Days Chilled Sauvignon Blanc and Cool
Nights Warm-Hearted Shiraz (RRP $20 each), both from Margaret River.
The other range, Time & Place, is exclusive to independent retail and
includes a Dry White and Dry Red (RRP $13 each) from the Swan Valley.
Evans & Tate senior winemaker, Matt Byrne, said it had been another
"lucky" vintage in Margaret River, with Sauvignon Blanc a standout and
Chardonnay showing "extraordinary flavour depth and length" at some
of the lowest Baume levels he had ever seen. The last of the whites was
picked on 1 March, the earliest ever. The Cabernet vintage was shaping
up to be one to remember.
Voyager Estate sales and marketing manager Fiona Findlay said rain
in January meant a slow start to the 2016 vintage. "However once we
got started the quality has been excellent and the reds are looking superb
also," she said.
Voyager is releasing a new wine this year, 2015 Girt by Sea
Chardonnay. "We have only tiny quantities for the first release but are
very pleased with the development of the Chardonnay portfolio and the
quality of this wine," she said.
The brand is achieving its strategy of strong on-premise and fine
wine retail distribution. One of its 2015 highlights was the success of its
annual trade masterclasses held in all capital cities, where it benchmarked
its wines against wonderful examples of Chardonnay and Cabernet from
around the world.
Margaret River continues to cement its place as both a premier wine
producing region and a tourism destination, with Fishbone and Amelia
Park opening impressive new cellar doors.
Voyager is not being overly ambitious in benchmarking its wines against
the world's best. As Findlay reminds us: "The pristine region of Margaret
River with its Mediterranean climate, maritime influence, ancient soils and
biodiversity is truly a wine paradise. There are some wonderful discoveries
to be made and the wines will never disappoint."
Howard Park and MadFish
Winery Margaret River.
Evans & Tate
senior winemaker, Plantagenet.
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