Australia is constantly surprising me nowadays. First it was Mac Forbes’ Syrah and now I have been introduced to a new wine region of SW Western Australia, the Ferguson Valley.
The Ferguson Valley is located between Perth and the renowned wine region, Margaret River Valley. It’s here where you will find Willow Bridge Estate.
The region is known for having a diverse range of viticultural climates and Jeff and Vicki Dewar were one of the first to recognize the excellent terroir of Ferguson Valley. The region has a very sunny and dry growing season combined with moderate temperatures that come from the nearby sea side and the red gravelly loam soils that everyone in Western Australia prizes make this a great spot for a vineyard.
Willow Bridge is family owned and was founded in 1996 by Jeff and Vicki. They planted 60 hectares back then and had their first harvest ready by 2000. They brought on new winemaker Simon Burnell for the 2010 vintage and I had the pleasure of dining with him the other night.
Simon’s goal is to continue to make their award winning wines while also bringing a bit of “world sophistication” to the wines. What does he mean by that? I’m guessing based on the 2008 that he is looking to make wines that are a little bit leaner in style. The 2008 Black Dog Shiraz is monumental . There is nothing small or subtle about this wine. If you like stonkers of a wine, this one is definitely for you. Classic Aussie Shiraz, deep, dark inky in colour with lots of rich ripe fruit and sweet vanilla both on the nose and palate.
The winery recommends having a slab of venison with this wine and I would concur. The tannins are fine but will cleanse your palate and there is a twist of mouthwatering acidity at the end. Thankfully, this is not a flabby wine
Willow Bridge wines are available from various online wine retailers. The Black Dog retails for around £36.