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-8-2 Pierro4 Leeuwin EstateThe winemakers shaping the future of Margaret River: Notes from a sta visitThe wine industry in Margaret River, Western Australian is very recent, with production only coming onstream in the 1980s. Though this history is very short when compared to wine regions in Europe, the quality and reputation of the region has grown steadily. Now very well-established, Margaret River is currently experiencing a generational change in the wine business. In March, Hiroyuki Nakano from VC’s Sales Department visited ve wineries in Margaret River and wrote this report on his conversations with winemakers.1 Moss WoodIn addition to meeting Keith and Claire Mugford, the founders (and good friends!) at Moss Wood, I met with their son Tristen who looks like Keith but taller. I can clearly see the characteristics that make Moss Wood special, including constant search for ways to enhance blend ratios, the use of yeast, barrel selection etc. have been securely handed over to the next generation. Even as Claire strongly urged me: “Hiro, we’ve made a nice Pinot Noir, please introduce it to everyone in Japan!”I tasted their new releases for 2016 and they are beautiful, soft and complex. Going into the cellar and seeing the line-up of old wines and barrels where the wine is quietly maturing made me salivate. Moss Wood has a reputation for European style wines, but I was very impressed by their Ribbon Vale series that are elegant, soft and a ordable! We tasted the newly-released 2015 Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and they are wonderful. I can’t wait for their release in Japan!Voyager is planning for all of its vineyards to be 100% organic by 2020. The captain of this new Voyager is viticultural specialist Steve James. Since 2009 Steve has been both viticultural and winemaking manager at Voyager, and under him they have made major progress in integrating the two more closely. Steve’s quiet looks hide a passionate intensity, that is revealed in his talk. “Growing healthy grapes is an important driver for us to tackle organic cultivation, but it is just as important for forging a strong team.”Though the viticulture and winemaking teams are working towards the same goal using the same metrics, it is a challenge to unravel the snags to create one strong rope. This sounds like a fairly standard story, but when I heard Steve tell it, I was very impressed. As part of forging the team they are working on a series of ‘Project Wines,’ taking up the challenge of growing new varietals and embracing new winemaking techniques. Examples including a Sparkling Blanc de Blancs from a single Chardonnay vineyard, a Sparkling Chenin Blanc, and experimenting with whole bunch fermentation. Each year the Project Series wines are di erent, so they only have one shot to make their best. With new plantings of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Sauvignon Gris coming on in the vineyards, these new styles will be gradually introduced to market. Keep an eye on this new Voyager!The landscape changes completely when you drive from Margaret River to Pemberton. The countryside in Pemberton has different kinds of eucalyptus and is very green, whereas Margaret River has a lot of eucalyptus but they are all the same variety. Pemberton is also the center of tru e production in Australia, producing 80% of Australia’s tru es.Bill and Sandra Pannell of Picardy set up Moss Wood, which they sold on to Keith. They then went and studied winemaking and business management in Burgundy before setting up Picardy. When I heard talk of them using different kinds of wood in their barrels with 5 stages of burn, several clones in the vineyard etc... I imagined a state-of-the-art winery. But in reality, the winery looks like it is taken from a picture book. The vines lined up like endless ranks of playing cards on a brown hill in a ‘mysterious country’ drawn with crayons. A brick winery stands on the lakefront, and between the trees you can see a pink house where Bill and Sandra live.It’s the same feeling with Bill’s management in the winery. While I was talking with Bill he was holding a piece of graph paper that made me feel nostalgic on which he charted changes, writing his notes by hand. Bill explained the paper: “To stabilize fermentation in wooden barrels, fermentation and clari cation are rst undertaken in stainless steel tanks, which is pretty standard. But fermentation is fast in stainless steel tanks, so checking every degree of Baume is important! The ideal is to move the juice into wooden barrels when it drops to 5 Baume!” All his years of experience and techniques are in his head and hands. As his son Dan says shyly “I've learned winemaking hands-on.”“Welcome” said Michael Peterkin greeting me with a perfect low bow, a sign of his practice of Tai Chi. I had been looking forward to the repartee with his son Nic, who visited Japan last year, but unfortunately Nic was busy harvesting fruit for his Los Vinos brand, so that was a shame. Instead, Michael told me a great story about a salesman for a barrel maker. Recently the staves on barrels are getting thinner, and the salesmen brought liquid extracted from sample staves and data with him to make his pitch. I was imagining the picture of a strong businessman carrying an oak barrel, but the pitch was way smarter than that. Michael, who is also a doctor, looked like he was enjoying telling his story.Everywhere in the winery there was an eclectic range of equipment that Nic was using. With his medical background Michael applies a scienti c approach to winemaking, but Nic who backpacked his way around the world picking up ideas as he went along, adds to that knowledge with a freedom to experiment. A gifted winemaker, he expresses his talent in his LAS “Luck Art Science” Vino wine range. The passion of both of the father and son resonates in their Pierro and LAS Vino wines. I look forward to the further evolution of this father-and-son combination and their wines.Tim Lovett has been Head Winemaker at Leeuwin Estate, a pioneer in Margaret River, since 2016. Having been a winemaker at Leeuwin since 2010, he enjoys a good relationship with Head Viticulturalist David Winstanley, and they work closely together. Tim has a friendly smile, his original commentary on his wines is easy to understand, and his beautiful wife reminds me of Nicole Kidman. Tim’s personal favourite among Leeuwin’s wines is Shiraz: “Although it tends to hide in the shadow of Cabernet, the cool dry Margaret River Shiraz is savoury, soft, and spicy. As the vines mature, I am looking forward to them improving even more.” Indeed, the recent Leeuwin Shirazes show a cohesiveness between the Siblings and Art Series wines, adding a gentleness and softness to the solid framework in a very complementary match. Personally, I think the 2014 Art Series Shiraz is wonderful. Also, did you know that the rst Riesling in Margaret River was planted at Leeuwin?Keith MugfordNic (left) & Michael Peterkin3 Voyager Estate5 PicardyTim Lovett (left), David Winstanley (right) (From left) Bill, Sandra & Dan Panel※P8ページ

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