Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Margaret River, Please

It might be a tad early to start thinking 2012 - after all we've still got the better part of December 2011 to get through. I'm kind of okay, though, if you just want to whisk me through the next couple months and drop me off in April. That's when Boo and I are heading Down Under to tip back a few glasses with the likes of Merlot Boy, Sheila, Margarita and their assorted countrymen.

I'm hoping that one of the highlights of that upcoming trip is going to be our stint out to Perth and Western Australia. The plan is to make the time to head out into Margaret River wine country. I think I've mentioned more than a couple of times in the blog that I definitely have a "wine-on" for all things Margaret River. It started with a bottle back in '96 when I first visited Oz. Problem was that, when I got back home, there were no more than one or two wines to be found from that region in our stores. The availability of Margaret River wines in the Vancouver market has become a little easier with the passing years but I still wouldn't say that we have an overwhelming selection.

Maybe that's why the region still has such a cachet for me. That being said, I was quite looking forward to tonight's bottle.

1016. 2001 Sandalford Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River - Australia)

I don't rightly recall how we came about having this bottle in our wine racks. Sandalford isn't a winery that I'm familiar with at all. However, knowing my predilection for the region, I may have just seen Margaret River on the label and grabbed the bottle from the shelf. It turns out that Sandalford has quite the history in Western Australia. The winery was actually established back in 1840 when the original Sandalford lands were granted to the retiring Surveyor General who oversaw the establishment of the European colonization of Perth and Freemantle. The lands were quickly planted with vines and the birth of Western Australia's wine industry was under way.

That original vineyard is found on the Swan River which is just outside of Perth. It wasn't until 1970 that the owners of the day expanded into the Margaret River district, a couple hundred kilometres south of the city. Margaret River was clearly establishing itself as a region for growing premium grapes though and Sandalford felt that they needed a presence there.

The most recent change in ownership at Sandalford occurred in 1991 when the Prendiville family purchased the company and, since then, they have invested many bucks and hours to take the winery to a new level. The Prendiville's have extensive experience in the hotel and hospitality business and they've looked to capitalize on the wine tourism aspect of the industry. Indeed, they've won a number of tourism awards in Western Australia over the last decade.

As for the wine, for a 2001, we found it incredibly well-lived. Everything was still there - fruit, body, structure - we quite enjoyed it. It was definitely a cooler climate approach when it comes to an Aussie Cab's and it was much lighter in body than Cab's we're used to from Oz but, as mentioned, it did exactly what I hope for from my Margaret River wines - and that's to leave me wanting more when the bottle is done.

Looks like Boo and I might have identified a potential stop on our Margaret River sojourn.

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