PLAN B ‘CV’ Chardonnay Viognier, Margaret River
Plan B’s winemaker is Bill Crappsley, who has racked up more than 50 vintages in a career spanning almost 50 years. He has made wines all over Australia, and some of them have won major trophies. The Chardonnay for this wine was sourced 37% from the Carbunup and 63% from the Wallcliffe sub-regions of Margaret River. The Viognier was grown on the north facing slopes of the Ferguson Valley in the Geographe wine region.
Only the free run juice was retained. The Carbunup juice was tank fermented, with subsequent regular lees stirring, and the juice from Wallcliffe was barrel fermented and matured on lees for nine months in used French barriques. An 11% addition of lees-worked, textural, barrel-matured Viognier was added prior to bottling. The final wine is bright and textural, with lifted floral and stonefuit aromatics ahead of a long and satisfying palate.
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.