Woodlands Wines teams up with Berkmann Wine Cellars
Berkmann Wine Cellars is proud to announce new agency, Woodlands Wine of Margaret River, has joined the team. When David and Heather Watson first established Woodlands in 1973, they were amongst the first six pioneers to plant vineyards in Margaret River and can certainly claim to have helped establish the region’s reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon.
With the addition of a second vineyard site purchased in 1998, the Watson family now have twenty-five hectares of vineyard in the Wilyabrup valley, which is maintained by hand using traditional and organic methods and without irrigation – a rarity in this arid corner of Australia.
A true family affair, son Stuart is the winemaker and Andrew is in charge of operations. Five red stars from Halliday and an ‘Outstanding’ rating for the Cabernet Sauvignon from Langton’s identify Woodlands as one of the very best producers in the region.
The goal at Woodlands is to maintain as much purity in the fruit as possible – to express the vineyard in the glass. This achieved through rigorous attention to detail, from the vineyard through to the winery.
The Watson’s forty-five years of experience in growing grapes in Margaret River has given them an innate understanding of their vineyards, which benefit from several natural factors to produce high quality grapes. The soils have a high clay content which helps to preserve the natural acidity in the grapes and the old vines on their original rootstock go deep into the soil, avoiding the need for irrigation. The unique microclimate, influenced by the Wilyabrup Brook, helps to maintain consistent soil temperatures and a beneficial southerly breeze helps to reduce the risk of rot after rainfall as well as eradicating frost.
These pristine vineyards are diligently managed and much of the work there is carried out by hand. During the growing season there are frequent passes through the vineyard to thin and position the shoots, with leaf plucking to help avoid green characters in the Cabernet and prior to harvest, imperfect grapes are removed by hand. The grapes are then hand-picked and hand sorted in the vineyard.
Once the fruit reaches the winery, there is a similarly obsessive attention to detail. The grapes are only moved by hand or gravity and a vibrating hopper is used to bring the grapes to the destemmer. This minimises any damage to the grapes and reduces the risk of oxidation. Before going to the press, the grapes are again hand sorted over a vibrating sorting table, to ensure that only the very best fruit is used to produce these high-quality wines.
Berkmann Wine Cellars imports four Woodlands Wines, one white and three reds. The Wilyabrup Valley Chardonnay is fermented entirely in French barrels using only wild yeast. The perfect combination of power and finesse, the nose displays an array or orchard fruits combined with toasty French oak notes. The palate mirrors the nose, finishing with lingering fruit, appealing savoury notes and perfectly balanced acidity.
Woodlands Cabernet specialism is displayed in the addition of a three-tiered Cabernet range. The starting point is the Wilyabrup Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, which is produced solely from the Wilyabrup Valley subregion of Margaret River, from vineyard plots planted on sandy loam over clay soils. The nose shows dark cherry, blackberry, and plum combined with toasty French oak (14 months) while the palate reveals layers of red berry fruits and fine tannins, making it immediately accessible.
Woodlands’ ‘Margaret’ Cabernet Merlot Malbec comes from plots planted on sandy clay soils at the original Woodlands Vineyard in the Wilyabrup Valley. With four months more in oak and estate sourced material, this is a more serious offering. Notes of red and blue fruits, violet, and French oak arise from the glass. The palate is tense and mineral – revealing layers of blue fruits, cola bean, cherry, anise, aniseed and dark chocolate contributing to a complex whole.
Finally, Woodlands’ quintessential wine, the ‘Benjamin’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Each vintage the wine is named after a different family member and this wine comes from the 2013 vintage. The grapes are sourced from the original Woodlands Vineyard planted in 1973 in the Wilyabrup Valley. The soil profile of this vineyard is generally sandy loam over gravel and clay, from plots which receive the greatest number of sunlight hours in the vineyard, whilst the east-west orientation of the vines ensures a slow fruit maturation. One of Margaret River’s icons, this is a Cabernet of real density, power and finesse. Mulberries and blackberries overlaid with anise, vanilla and clove, a fine tannic structure and an elegant, lengthy finish.