I was recently at a wine tasting of Voyager Estate Wines at Vinoteca here in London and it was a very interesting tasting indeed. I have a so-so track record when it comes to Australian red wines but lately I have been tasting some great stuff. Although Shiraz is the flagship wine of Australia, they are making some great wines from other red grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and even the “wine of Argentina”, Malbec.
Voyager Estate is situated in the Margaret River Valley in the South West corner of Western Australia. The region is renowned for its viticultural products and was identified back in the 1960s as a premium wine-growing region of Australia. The region has a range of microclimates and soils. The best vineyards are planted only in the most suitable soils so although the region is spread over 3000 square kilometres, only 54 kilometres are under vine. So I think it’s fair to say that Voyager have picked the best spots to make their wine.
Voyager has a range of Estate wines which is their core focus. They only produce 6 different wines but feel that they reflect best the terroir of the region. They are Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chenin Blanc and the Girt by Sea Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.
At the tasting the stand-out for me was the 2005 Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. Comprising 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, all fruit coming from the Margaret River, it is a delicious Bordeaux-style blend coming from Australia. The wine had had enough time to age, something that is not common in Australia. James Stevens, the winemaker was at the dinner and he commented that one of the “problems” with Australian wine drinkers is that they drink their wines far too young. This is an issue I’ve also encountered amongst American winemakers, as well. If only consumers would wait a few years, they would be justly rewarded. That’s not to say that the wines are bad young but a few years in the bottle does do these wines a world of good.
The 2005 had spent enough time in the bottle to start to develop the secondary characteristics of aged wine, having a perfumed nose with hints of graphite and green pepper peeking through. On the palate it was wonderfully smooth and mellow with ripe tannins which were a pleasure to roll around my mouth. Ripe red fruits, spices and a hint of tobacco with great acidity. This wine was still tasting very fresh and could easily last another 10 years, although whether there might be any more left around is hard to say!
I also tasted some other of their wines from the range but feel that they could certainly use a few more years of ageing Voyager Estate wines are available here in the UK so if you see one, pick it up and then tuck it back in your cellar for a few years, you’ll be well rewarded for giving it the time it needs.
The Voyager Estates Cabernet Merlot is available online from The Vineyard Wine Merchant for £24.99.