Wine: tastings from top Margaret River winery Xanadu
The region accounts for 5 per cent of Australian wine production but 20 per cent of its premium output. Xanadu consistently produces high-quality wines
Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator lists the Margaret River as one of the most overlooked wine regions. He enthuses: "The top rank of Margaret River chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon is, simply put, in the top rank in the world. And by that I'm including the likes of Burgundy [for the chardonnay] and Bordeaux and Napa Valley [for cabernet sauvignon]."
Margaret River is located in southwestern Australia, about three hours' drive from Perth. It is a relatively young wine region, with vines first planted by the winery Vasse Felix in 1967. The region has a maritime climate similar to that of Bordeaux. In terms of volume, Margaret River produces only about 5 per cent of the total of Australia's production. However, it overcompensates in quality as it represents more than 20 per cent of Australia's premium wine market. The most popular grape varieties are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, semillon, shiraz, merlot and verdelho.
The region is home to about 190 wineries. One name producing consistently good quality wine is Xanadu Winery. Xanadu evokes romantic images of Marco Polo and the emperor Kublai Khan. The winery is an homage to English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem, Kubla Khan. Coleridge was inspired to write the poem after an opium-influenced dream. In the poem he describes Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan.
Xanadu Exmoor Drive Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014
Bordeaux's famed white wines are based on a blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon. Transported across the world, this style is transformed into a medium weight, citrusy refreshing wine. The touch of semillon adds texture and complexity to the sauvignon blanc grape. Grassy, citrus, gooseberry, herbal notes. A refreshing wine for a hot summer's day. HK$132
Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2013
Kramer describes the region's chardonnay as "lean, precise creatures that clearly respond to and even require, barrel-fermentation and lees-stirring for their pure, high-acid fruitiness to blossom". The Xanadu chardonnay is a perfect example of this style. Zesty citrus, lime, peaches. Good ripe fruit intensity, coupled with crisp acidity. Creamy and nutty with some spicy oak tannins at the finish. Pairs well with scallops, white fish and white meats. HK$192
Xanadu Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Margaret River's cabernet sauvignon is often described as Bordeaux-like but Xanadu's cabernet is a riper, more opulent style with forward, primary fruit, and ripe velvety tannins. Full bodied with concentrated black fruit, and a long finish. Complements steak, roast goose and rich braised dishes. HK$699
Wines are available from winenthingshk.com