This week I’m going to bang on about another great producer from the mighty Margaret River region: Devil’s Lair.
I’ve wanted to talk about these wines for some time as I’ve really been impressed with their purity, regional expression and amazing elegance and complexity.
Over recent years, there’s been much insight and development happening at Devil’s Lair in regard to site and fruit selection as they’re finding that the Cabernets do better coming from the north, and the Chardonnays from the south.
In respect to the Cabernets, a significant proportion of outstanding fruit is sourced from the Wilyabrup up in the north, where the warmer influence from the Indian Ocean consistently produces elegant and beautifully ripe Cabernet with silky-fine tannins.
Highly regarded for their Chardonnay for some time now, their Cabernet is really starting to come of age too and garnering much support. As with most things, it’s all about attention to detail, and with the veritable embarrassment of riches in the west, alongside an amazing run of vintages, long may they continue.
DEVIL’S LAIR ‘9TH CHAMBER’ MARGARET RIVER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 ($120) They only produce this wine in exceptional vintages, as it represents the absolute ultimate expression of Devil’s Lair Cabernet Sauvignon utilising the most outstanding parcels of fruit from the best vineyards and vintage. With such a cornucopia of elements at their disposal, this demands to be outstanding, and it is. The 2011 harvest in Margaret River was excellent to say the least, thus the fruit produced was ripe, plush and svelte with velvety smooth tannins, and sourced from a small parcel of Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon glowing with intensity, great tannin structure and regional expression. No little wonder then that the inaugural 2011 9th Chamber Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year in the 2016 James Halliday Wine Companion. DEVIL’S LAIR MARGARET RIVER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 ($50) You know exactly what you’re drinking and where it comes from when tasting this, as it’s so expressive and regional on the nose, with fantastic richness of fruit and great structure to the palate. There’s some really detailed fruit on show here with the obvious blackcurrant and plum dominant but also there’s complex briar, spice and cigar box nuance in there too, with good length of flavour and grippy tannins on the finish. DEVIL’S LAIR ‘THE HIDDEN CAVE’ MARGARET RIVER CABERNET/SHIRAZ 2013 ($25)
Not many producers in Margaret River make this classic Australian blend, a mix of 60 per cent Cabernet and 40 per cent Shiraz sourced from selected growers in the cape. Totally ripe and fruit forward, this will please those looking for fleshy soft tannins and dark fruits.
DEVIL’S LAIR ‘THE HIDDEN CAVE’ MARGARET RIVER CHARDONNAY 2013 ($25) Everything about this wine said it would tick the boxes – great producer, great region, and a great vintage. I’ve tried the upper echelon Chardonnays from this producer – which are all excellent by the way – and this “entry level” Chardonnay certainly echoes some of their impressive attributes like the lovely rich texture, full-flavoured stone fruits and mineral elements, finishing with great length and finesse. Simple and stylish, this is a generous Margaret River Chardonnay.