Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2008
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Voyager Estate is a small, second-generation, family-owned estate in Stevens Valley, Margaret River, Western Australia. Currently undergoing full organic conversion, their Estate is one of Australia’s most ambitious and innovative producers of world-class Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. All wines are 100% estate-grown, made and bottled, and reflect the unique qualities of Stevens Valley, with its undulating slopes, warm summers and cooling maritime breezes. Their aim is to shine a light on what makes their unique place in Margaret River so special. Both through how they grow and make their wine, and how they share and experience it. In doing so, they hope to help lead the way in establishing this very special place as one of the world’s great wine regions and experiences. Lead by Head of Winemaking and Viticulture Steve James, Steve is the custodian of a rich winemaking tradition, fostered by close collaboration between the winemaking and viticulture teams. Steve’s winemaking philosophy starts in the vineyards. From the outset, Steve has focused on sustainable farming, vine balance, clonal selection, and vineyard management in close collaboration with the winery team. This focus has allowed the vines to shine and become more adept at expressing the purity and character of the individual vineyard blocks.
Home to some of Australia’s most elegant and long-lived red and white wines, Margaret River is situated in the farthest reaches of Western Australia. Relatively warm and dry, the region is cooled by breezes from the Indian Ocean. Margaret River takes some inspiration from Bordeaux, producing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon with firm structure, mouthwatering acidity, balanced alcohol and notes of herbs and spice. Complex, age-worthy Chardonnays are another regional specialty. Also common here are refreshing blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, as well as earthy, aromatic Bordeaux Red Blends.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.