While not the most ‘acclaimed’ wine from Woodlands, as that historically would fall to the ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Margaret’ is the wine that best captures the soul and spirit of Woodlands. The Cabernet Sauvignon portion comes from a slope on the south of Woodlands that wraps around a 90-degree radius from east to north. The fruit on this slope receives a great deal of direct sunlight from morning to mid-afternoon, leading to rich full-bodied wines. The Merlot and Malbec plots that make up the remainder of ‘Margaret’ come from our west-facing slope of deep loam soil. This slope receives the most direct afternoon sunlight at Woodlands, and produces more exotic fruit characters in the finished wine. The Watson’s believe 2016 may go down in history as Margaret River’s greatest vintage. A perfect warm summer was interrupted by 3-4 inches of rain in mid-January, after which the great conditions continued. The unirrigated vines loved the drink, and went on to produce wines of class and restrained power, balanced by great natural acidity – particularly so for Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Following harvest, the fruit was destemmed, hand sorted, crushed and fermented in small stainless steel fermenters. Following a native yeast fermentation, the Merlot and Malbec were pressed to French barriques, 25-33% new. The Cabernet Sauvignon remained on skins for a total an additional three weeks for added complexity and tannin integration. The Cabernet was then pressed into French barriques, 60% of which is new, for a long aging process. After one year of aging the barrels were lightly sulfured and laid to rest again for another six months. After a total of a 18 months the barrels were tasted and selected for the final blend. The wine was racked to tank, lightly sulfured, and settled naturally then bottled without fining or filtration.