The gates to paradise are red

Margaret River, an easy three-hour drive south of Perth, is a chardonnay lover’s paradise. Where can you find the best one? Redgate Wines.

My first taste of the 2007 Redgate chardonnay was placed in front of me in a glass smelling slightly of dishwashing liquid and poured from a room-temperature bottle. Uh oh, I thought, considering turning down the taste – I was the “skipper” after all. My apprehension quickly dissolved, however, as I realised that this was the best chardonnay I’d ever tasted. Hands down.

Now, there were a few factors that may have influenced my reaction: my hair was still damp from the gorgeous post-hike swim at Redgate Beach, the sun had just broken through the clouds after an overcast morning, I had good friends on either side and we had scored a taste of a wine that wasn’t on the tasting list. I was feeling good.

While I’m by no means a discerning wine critic, I have built up years of wine tasting experience. My wine-loving – if inarticulate – gut told me this was good. Turns out I’m not the only one who likes it, either. The vintage has won a slew of awards: Top Gold at the Winewise Small Vignerons Wine Awards 2009, Gold at the 2008 Boutique Wine Awards and Silver at the 2008 Australian Small Winemakers Show as well as the 2008 Macquarie Margaret River Wine Show. Not bad.

In its tasting notes, Redgate describes the chardonnay’s flavour:

Gentle citrus and stone fruit are evident on the bouquet and are an alluring introduction to this rich Margaret River style Chardonnay. Fermentation in French oak has added further complexity to the palate which is followed by a lovely clean acid finish. A wonderful food wine and could be cellared for further complexity.

The lovely woman behind the counter told us that the chardonnay tasted best at room temperature because the acid finish is weaker and the complexity of flavours stronger. For comparison’s sake, we tasted it chilled. She smiled knowingly as we agreed with her – the tepid chardonnay, though perhaps less refreshing, was much tastier. We left the tasting with 6 bottles of chardonnay amongst the four of us, and loopy, just-fallen-in-love smiles plastered on our faces. We hadn’t even blinked at the $35/bottle price tag.

The scene that followed could have been stolen from a Margaret River tourism advert: a picnic on the Redgate lawn starring our beloved chardonnay and accompanied by the locally sourced Margaret River Venison chorizo, fresh bread (ok, that was from Coles) and brie from the Margaret River Dairy Company. Only regret? That I’d agreed to be the designated driver!

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2 Comments on “The gates to paradise are red”

  1. February 1, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Howdy! Glad you’re enjoying your Margs cellar door experiences. While making judgment calls based solely on vintage can be dangerous, a lot of people (myself included) reckon the 06 Margaret River chardonnays have it above the 07 as the growing season was longer and cooler; the resultant wines being finer and more elegant than the more fruity, punchy 2007. Anyhow, glad you’re enjoying the local drops!

    • reneespeak
      February 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi Max,

      Sorry for the late response – WordPress decided your comment was spam :( so I only just now noticed it.
      Yes, I’ve noticed that I prefer the 2006 chardonnays from Margs better than the 2007. Apparently Redgate’s 2007 is much stronger than the 2006 too (can’t decide if that’s a good or bad quality!).
      It’s been fun following you on Twitter – keep tweeting about your favourite MR finds!

      Renee

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