Wine Words: Dukes plunges in with own drop

BRUCE Dukes is a native Westralian who has crafted wine in Margaret River for lauded wineries like Clairault, Knee Deep and Pierro for more than 20 years. Gold medals and accolades adorn his trophy cabinet. Now he's taken the plunge with his own label, Domaine Naturaliste, named after the dominant landform in Margaret River: the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. Bruce has focused on what Margaret River does best, cabernet and chardonnay.

Domaine Naturaliste, Purus Chardonnay

Margaret River, 2013: Single vineyard. Aged in 40% new, lightly toasted oak. No malolactic fermentation (which gives that buttery, creamy note to chardonnay). Fruit-driven, ripe peachy stone fruit, rock melon and grapefruit citrus. The deft oak brings a touch of wheatgerm and nougat. Zipline tight and poised.

 Rating: 8.5/10

 RRP: $43

 Alc: 13%

Domaine Naturaliste, Artus Chardonnay

Margaret River, 2013: The cousin to Purus, this has had the winemaking works thrown at it. Barrel ferment with wild yeast, malolactic fermentation, 42% new medium toasted oak and aged for 12 months on its own lees. Complex, funky and nutty. Creme caramel, struck match, tzatziki yoghurt. Broad palate of baked lemon cake and cashew, yet acidity still buzzes through full barrel flavours, like an electric charge in a suit of armour.

 Rating: 8.5/10

 RRP: $43

 Alc: 13%

Domaine Naturaliste, Morus Cabernet Sauvignon

Margaret River, 2012: Named after the plant family of the mulberry tree. Sourced from a single vineyard, aged for 18 months in barrel and then 12 months in bottle . Deep, plush blackberry and, unsurprisingly, mulberry aromas balanced by a lick of briny soy. Elegant, but not opulent. Just full bodied with dark blackberry/mulberry flavours blanketed with gunsmoke ash. Tannins are super fine and plentiful.

 Rating: 9/10

 RRP: $85

 Alc: 13.5%. Find Domaine Naturaliste, for the moment, online at http://www.domainenaturaliste.com.au.


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