Since its creation in 1991, Voyager Estate has gone on to become one of Australia’s leading wineries. Set just a few kilometres from the Margaret River coastline, in Western Australia, the winery has gone onto win an incredible amount of awards over the years, both here and abroad, and has cemented its place in most cellars by gaining a Langton’s “Excellent” classification, the yardstick by which wineries in Australia are measured.
The estate was created by Michael Wright, who wanted to deliver a wine experience not previously seen in WA. He pursued several areas of business, but his fascination with agriculture and produce, combined with the family’s 150 years of farming and mining experience, eventually called him back to a life on the land, and into a life in the wine industry, despite being a tea-totaller.
That background in agriculture and mining had given him a vast knowledge of soils types and climate, he searched all over WA for a site that would produce wines that were not only great drinking, but would also show character and variety. Eventually his search led him to the Freycinet vineyard in Stevens Valley sub-region of the Margaret River. Freycinet had been planted out by a leading viticulturist in 1978, and Michael quickly went about expanding the vineyard, acquiring several of the neighbouring properties. Michael renamed the vineyards Voyager Estate, and set about creating a team that would help him achieve his desire.
That team that have taken Michael’s vision and brought it to life, from the vast rose garden, the exquisite restaurant and the vineyards, growing grape varieties that were best suited to the area, making elegant and sophisticated wines that tell a site-specific story. It wasn’t an overnight achievement either, through years of long hard, hot and dirty work, the team has achieved a reputation for excellence. Michael passed away in 2012 but left a legacy of commitment to quality that has spread through every corner of the estate. And in a time when there is strong foreign investment in WA wineries, it’s exciting to see that the ownership of Voyager still remains in family hands, with Michael leaving the estate to his daughters Leonie and Alexandra.
His choice of site has shown to be near perfect over the years. The gravel, the soils, the maritime climate and aspect have all laid the foundations of the Voyager Estate style, the geology on the estate is actually among some of the oldest in Australia. The long serving team that Michael built around him, his winemaking team and the viticulture team have worked hand in glove to create wines that are distinctive and display elegance with complexity and balance. When you look at what they achieved, what sheer hard graft, patience (and an almost unlimited budget) can do, it reminds you how dedicated you need to be to create world class wines.
Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2014 – Voyager have taken their outstanding chardy to another level over the last few years. Handpicked from seven blocks, from four chard clones, whole bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast, shows pithy lemon and grapefruit with some interesting faint white peach and nectarine notes, with a long minerally finish.
Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Cabernet Merlot 2014 – Voyager’s entry level range, not quite as interesting as prior vintages but its still well put together. Bay leaf, mulberry and black currant, black olive tapenade and some light toasty notes in there too. A soft, savoury finish with a lick of tobacco.
Voyager Estate Shiraz 2014 – The Estate Shiraz can be a bit hit and miss, but this 2014 vintage is a cracker, grab it now before the 2015 rolls out onto the shelves. Its classy and complex, red and black fruits, cedar and a touch of vanilla from the oak contact. Light notes of dried flowers and spice in the long finish.
Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 – probably my favourite in the Voyager range, and has the ability to age so incredibly well, we still have twenty year old bottles in our cellar. This is a pretty stylish vintage for the Estate, more than being a big block buster wine, bright cherry, tobacco and dark chocolate, spice in the long finish that carries just a touch of bonox/Bovril in there too.