Fogarty Wine Group reviewed by Erin Larkin for the Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Acclaimed Australian wine writer Erin Larkin (formerly of the Halliday Wine Companion) is now writing for the Robert Parker Wine Advocate. This is a universally renowned wine platform for education, news and tasting notes.
As part of Erin's new role, she will be reviewing wine regions of Australia.
So far, we have received the following reviews for Western Australia, which are also featured online and in the July and December 2022 Wine Advocate editions.
- 94 points
- The Dalwhinnie Shiraz wines have a devoted following here in Australia, and the intensity of the midnight fruit in this 2018 Shiraz Moonambel answers that question for me. This is savory and dense, but there is a line of minerality and austerity in here that holds it all in check. It is black like the night and dotted with stars of flavor and texture throughout. There are notes of Champion Ruby tobacco, aniseed and blackberry essence.
- 96 points
- If the Moonambel Shiraz is black like the night sky dotted with stars, then the 2018 The Eagle Shiraz is like staring full into the belly of the sun. It evokes sounds too—an eagle calling as it soars through an ancient rocky canyon. Initially, this wine is full-throttle in flavor, with blackberry fruit in tangles on the palate, shaped by a cage of savory, spicy tannins and drawn out over a long lead in the finish. Once you give yourself fully to this wine, and I mean fully, its mineral rachis is revealed. It has a rocky austerity that is most appealing and works to rein in the fruit, which is kind of as possible as taming a wild animal. But the attempt is always made. A wine for the cellar.
Group chief winemaker Julian Langworthy drives an infallibly high-quality charge for his wines, and although he makes a number of different styles and varieties, it is the Reserve Chardonnays and Cabernets that are at the very top of the quality tree. Keep in mind, these reserve wines retail at sort of $50AUD to $75AUD and availability often evaporates just weeks after release each year. They occupy the desirable nexus point between high quality + age-worthy + well-priced… The Chardonnay is textural, flinty, funky and salty in style each year, while the Cabernet is ripe and detailed at once, showing a more muscular and structured iteration of Margaret River. He leaves a trail of trophies and awards in his wake, including (but not limited to) the coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, James Halliday Winemaker of the Year and wine show trophies out the wazoo—including recently the Decanter Best Wine in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
- 96+ points
- The 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was just (one week ago at the time of writing) awarded "Best in Show" at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards. Not bad for a little winery in Western Australia's southwest. The wine is not little, though. It is birthed of a warm, low-yielding vintage that produced lushly fruited, abundantly tannic wines that are as powerful as they are attractive. Perhaps that extra swathe of tannins puts it in a different class, however the fruit remains pure and, although plentiful, is expertly wedged into every nook and cranny in the mouth. This is a superb wine. A brilliant example of Margaret River Cabernet in a great year.
Deep Woods Estate 2020 Reserve Chardonnay
- 95 points
- The 2020 Reserve Chardonnay is toasty, complex and downright delicious. There is funk and poise alongside each other—like wearing Chanel to a music festival. In the mouth, it is pulsating with juicy acidity that is a counterpoint to the rich and textural fruit. All in all, the 2020 Reserve Chardonnay is pretty thrilling to drink, especially when one considers the extremely reasonable price point ($50AUD).
- 96 points
- The fruit for this 2020 Single Vineyard Cabernet Malbec was sourced from the Deep Woods Home Block Vineyard, up in the Yallingup Hills, planted in 1985. It is inky, pure and concentrated and is framed by such succulent tannins that it becomes difficult (and immaterial) to attempt to define where the fruit ends and the tannins start. It is seamless. While this wine drinks beautifully in its youth (and it does... it is hard to see how any bottles will escape being scoffed in the short term), patience is recommended—it will surely evolve and blossom over the decades.
Evans & Tate is a brand in Margaret River with a long history, but its modern story starts with the purchase of the company by the Fogarty Wine Group. (This name will come up a number of times, as the Fogarty Group is surely the most quickly expanding wine company in Australia right now. Under the leadership of Fogarty, they have purchased premium wineries and vineyards across Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. Their story continues.) Winemaker Matt Byrne has produced consistently high-quality wines that have been consistently meritorious in the Australian wine show system. Perhaps predictability (and quite rightly in my opinion), the highest quality wines from Evans & Tate are Chardonnays and Cabernets, most specifically from the Redbrook Reserve range.
Evans & Tate 2018 Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
- 95 points
- The 2018 vintage was lush and excellent, and this 2018 Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is an accurate barometer of what we can expect from both the region and the season. It features abundant fruit wrapped in velvety tannins. This is age-worthy and slowly evolving and hasn't yet approached its first stage of development—it is still ascending.
- 93 points
- 2018 was an excellent vintage in Western Australia, more obvious nowhere than Margaret River. It produced a tranche of wines that boast exceptionally balanced ripeness, tannin and alcohols, and age-worthy wines across the board. This 2018 Redbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot is no exception. There are notes of cassis, mulberry, freshly turned earth, some licorice and bramble through the finish. The character that elevates this wine beyond its price point (circa $40AUD) is the bloody, inky, iodine, nori character woven though the finish. Very good.
- 93 points
- The 2018 Redbrook Chardonnay is concentrated, savory and powerful and is moving into its next phase of evolutio—from the initial "primary and taut" on release, to this phase that is more spicy, more relaxed and more open. It has a heady combination of charred brûlée top, grilled peach, brine, grapefruit and exotic market spice. The telltale sign of quality here is the length of flavor in the mouth—it goes and goes, reconfirming for us all the class and quality of the Redbrook range.
Evans & Tate 2019 Single Vineyard Chardonnay
- 94 points
- The Evans & Tate 2019 Single Vineyard Chardonnay is a deceptively epic wine—deceptive in that it is around $35AUD (cheap, for quality Chardonnay) and yet provides a drinking experience far beyond its price point. This is complex, textural and concentrated, with layers of exotic spice, grilled peach and preserved lemon, all of it laced together with briney acidity. It is awesome.
- 94 points
- The Millbrook Viognier is widely regarded as being the best Viognier in Western Australia, and very impressive in a national context, too. This 2021 Estate Viognier is weighty with summer apricots, lanolin and cheesecloth, white pepper, brine, red apple skins and fennel flower. The acidity keeps it honest and pert, proving that it is possible to have more than one glass of Viognier. A beautiful wine.
- 93+ points
- A little bit of Viognier goes a long way, and the 3% inclusion in this 2020 Estate Shiraz Viognier impacts heavily on the aromatics and indeed the color. It is a vibrant ruby in the glass, with a bouquet of rose petals, raspberry leaf tea and a hint of summer apricot. Beneath it all, there is a rumbling undercurrent of powerfully ferrous Shiraz fruit, shaped in the mouth by firm, structuring tannins. The Perth Hills is an underrated place, and this wine, in this warm and tannic vintage, shows what the little region is capable of. Impressive.
A huge congratulations to all of the winemaking and vineyard teams on these wonderful reviews.