On January 16, as part of the G’Day USA Australia Week marketing campaign, The Government of Western Australia presented a wine showcase in ROAR marketing firm’s Beverly Hills offices. The evening began with a presentation by noted sommelier/writer Bonnie Graves, who highlighted some Western Australia wines. She touted Watershed, a Margaret River winery producing “premium wine in bigger volume,” including a 2005 Cabernet. Graves also likes a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Cullen, a winery committed to growing grapes using biodynamic principles in a microclimate similar to Bordeaux. Graves is a proponent of biodynamic wines in general, saying, “It’s expensive, time consuming, old-fashioned, and it makes wines that rock the house.”
After Graves’ presentation, the assembled masses were unleashed on ROAR’s conference room down the hall, which doubled as a tasting room. Dozens of wines from Western Australia lined the conference room table. My favorites included the 2007 Ferngrove Cossack Riesling, which wasn’t nearly as sweet as lesser Rieslings; and a crisp 2007 Cullen Vineyard Ephraim Clarke (80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon). The 2007 Strait Jacket Sauvignon Blanc Semillon would have been more satisfying on another night, but not immediately after drinking the Cullen.
Other attendees raved about the 2006 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay from Margaret River, but that was my least favorite wine of the night, too mild, without much complexity.
Western Australia contains nine wine-producing regions: Margaret River, Great Southern, Pemberton, Manjimup, Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Peel, Perth Hills and Swan District. For more information about Western Australian wine regions, including Climate, Soil and Vital Statistics, visit the Australian Government website.