Wine Awards 2013: Best of Show
January 2, 2013
Devil’s Lair Margaret River Chardonnay 2009
Australia $41.99 (Rich White) +543447
Great wines have a story to tell. The best reveal their story with multiple voices—those of the grape, the geography, the vineyard, the soil, the climate, the farmer, and the winemaker—all resolving in glorious harmony. Our Best of Show winner is a riveting Chardonnay that does all of this and more—and the “more” is the truly exciting part, because this is a New World wine that demonstrates that grape variety can be a point of departure rather than a destination. This is Chardonnay, certainly, but other aspects—the distinctiveness of vineyard site, soil, and weather—transport the wine to another level. This is a wine of place, and the awareness of place is where wine is going next.
Our winner comes from Margaret River, a cool, marine-influenced region in Western Australia. It’s a peaceful place with pristine beaches, legendary surf, and a slow, easy way of life. Devil’s Lair 2009 (named for an ancient cave where remains of a prehistoric Tasmanian tiger were found complete with a mysterious fifth leg) is pale gold with inviting aromas of citrus, white flowers, exotic oak, and mineral. The palate is concentrated with flavours of peach and lime, and charged with high-pitched acidity. Fermented and aged in cask, the oak melts into the wine adding structure, texture, and subtle richness. Elegant and refined, it’s a pure expression of the unique climate and terroir of its home. And it makes an important statement: that truly authentic wines speak eloquently of a recognizable place.