Bruce Dukes is the gifted winemaker behind Margaret River’s Domaine Naturaliste, and the Rachis is his compelling Syrah. It is so named for the Latin term ‘rachis’, referring to a stalk to which berries cluster. In this particular cuvée, Dukes includes 1/3 whole bunch to make for surprisingly intense aromatics.
Thanks to its perfume of spice and red cherry, this is a Syrah that will drink just as well in its early years as in its dotage. It is matured for a year ‘sur lie’ in one-third new French Oak (contributing that gentle spice). A quintessential Margaret River Syrah that will live up to a decade.
"The sheer power and intensity of this wine are utterly exceptional - it's as if two 750ml bottles had been compressed by some arcane process into a single bottle. Neither the modest alcohol nor the Margaret River provenance give a clue about the clash of cymbals on the palate, black fruits shutting all else back into the cellar for a minimum of 5 years maturation."
95 points, Wine Companion (September 2019)
"Blue fruit and dark cherry, liquorice, black pepper and choc-hazelnut, green tea and cold roast beef. It’s medium-bodied, peppery and nutty, wheat and spice of whole bunch character, twigs and twiggy tannin, volume of fruit but set to savoury. Finish is meaty and spicy, with purple fruit sweetness trailing. Top end bunchy Margaret River Shiraz; some will like it more, some will like it less."
93 points, The Wine Front (February 2020)
"Deep red/purple colour with a sweaty, smoky, sulfidic, bunchy bouquet with youthful raw fruit aromas beneath. Mixed spices, pepper, and red cherries as well. An elegantly-structured wine, with style and refinement. (The name suggests there is a proportion of whole-bunch, which accords with the taste)"
92 points, The Real Review (March 2020)
"This has quite an attractive, chocolate and pepper edge to the ripe darker berries. Plenty of woody spices here, too. The palate has a very elegant, fresh feel with dark spices and neatly cut tannin."
92 points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2020)
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.