Lifestyle Food & Wine Cape Grace Wines
Cape Grace Wines
Written by Dr Craig Drummond MW
Monday, 23 May 2016


Cape Grace – Small is Beautiful201606-Cape-Grace-Logo

Since planting in 1996, Cape Grace Wines have made a real mark with their excellent Single Vineyard Wines. Production is small as there is just over 6ha of vines, and with low yields and fruit selection for quality production (resulting in just 2000 cases annually) these wines sell predominantly through cellar door and mail order ( Owners Robert and Karen Karri-Davies selected a site in the Wilyabrup Valley, Margaret River, and planted Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller plantings of other popular varieties including Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Merlot. There is a lot of history behind this label as Robert is the great grandson of timber baron M.C. Davies who built the Leeuwin Lighthouse and founded the township of Margaret River. Robert is a self-taught viticulturist and has learned winemaking from consultant Mark Messenger. Karen has significant experience in sales and marketing. Interestingly, this property was the first choice of Dr Tom Cullity when planting the first vines in the region but in 1967 the land was not for sale so he then chose a nearby site for his Vasse Felix vineyard.

201606-cape-grace-Rob-KarenRob and Karen Karri-DaviesThe Wines

Cape Grace 2015 Chenin Blanc
Nice aromas of fresh fruit with apple, tropical notes and a ‘skinsy’ character. The palate is round and ripe showing soft, ripe green apple flavours with hints of 'tooty fruity' confectionary. Easy to drink now, alone or with chicken or seafood. Has the Chenin acid backbone which will give it several more years. (Production: 260 dozen)

Cape Grace 2015 Chardonnay
Enticing nose of complex, round, plush fruit with peach and fig. The flavours are again complex, slightly unctuous with ripe peach and pear. Oak is nicely integral for the wine’s youth. There is good length to this wine with great after-favours. It’s another good example of this variety from this region. Will drink well for 5-7 years. (Production: 168 dozen)

Cape Grace 2014 Limited Release Malbec
It’s great to see a varietal Malbec. My impressions of this Bordeaux variety when grown in the South West of Australia are very high as evidenced in my previous exposures to it in the West Australian Wine Shows. We should see more of it! This example has violets and blackberry on the nose, going on to a sweet-fruited palate with blackberry, mulberry and dark plum. It displays the grippy, fine-grained malbec tannins. It’s beautifully earthy. I like this wine! (Production: only 70 dozen [bugger!])

201606-Cape-Grace-CabSavCape Grace 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
The wine of the tasting, for me. This is a cab sav in the true Margaret River mould. A vibrant youthful purple-red colour. The aromas are rich yet subtle cassis and quality oak leading into wonderful blackcurrant and black olive flavours. Typically linear/gravelly tannins, great integration and a sweet fruited finish. When I tasted again some hours later another character emerged – an 'inky' flavour that I particularly liked. This wine has another 10 years in it. (Production: 560 dozen)

Cape Grace 2014 Shiraz
This wine differs to other MR Shiraz that I’ve tasted. The nose displays camphor and menthol, bucolic and slightly gamey. Flavours of blackcurrant with some unusual characters coming through – a touch of soy and wild mushroom. I may be completely wrong but it suggests some wild [spoilage] yeast ferment characters. I enjoy the flavours produced if, like this wine, they are at low levels. Many of the great wines of Bordeaux and Tuscany, for example, show them. The wine has nice weight and length and will go for another 6-8 years. (Production: 275 dozen)

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Does red wine cause headache? I have heard a lot of people say that it does. I have also heard many say that it is bunkum. It’s the amount of alcohol you drink that causes the vasodilatation and headache they would say. Some put it down to histamines in wine. Others point to the sulphite content as the culprit.

Personally, I have become aware over recent years that certain types of wine, mainly red, will predictably bring on a headache within an hour or so of consumption. And I am talking here about no more than two standard drinks as the trigger.

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