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Windows Estate

Gripping, organically-grown Margaret River

While listening to Chris Davies’ story, we were reminded of a passage in The Wild Bunch, that great homage to artisanal grower wine by Patrick Matthews. “Wine growers,” wrote Matthews, “… do it [to] express their passion for a place and a perfectionism felt by few of the workers who make the stuff that ends up on supermarket shelves.” Davies’ ‘place’ is a cut of prime Margaret River sirloin on the border of the Yallingup and Wilyabrup sub-regions. At the tender age of 19, Davies single-handedly planted most of the 6.3 hectares of what was to become the Windows Estate Vineyard, carved from his parents’ Yallingup farm. He dug every pit and lodged every stick. Passion, you ask? Davies has this in spades.

Initially selling the grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Merlot—this trained viticulturist spent his first decade focused solely on the young vineyard. By 2006, the pull of a vigneron’s life—and the desire to accurately translate what he was achieving from vineyard to bottle—proved too hard to resist. To this day, the vineyard team remains a party of one, with self-confessed perfectionist Davies carrying out all the operations without aid. His wife Jo manages the business side of the operation, running the cellar door, hosting tastings and overseeing the administration.

"Every once in a while, you encounter an extraordinary patch of land”, explains Davies, “one that varies greatly from the surrounding landscape, one that is impossibly unique in so many ways. This is one such place."

Windows Estate sits on a unique layered soil composition resulting from two natural springs that rise on the farm. One is the headwater for the Gunyulgup Valley, and the other flows in the opposite direction to Quinninup Falls. Across the soils, there’s a high concentration of ironstone, quartz and clay alongside an ironstone/laterite ridge, which runs in a westerly direction from the property’s centre all the way to its back border. The soil in this ridge is particularly free-draining (and planted to the Bordeaux varieties). The farm is underpinned by granite bedrock.

Davies’ quarter-century of toil has not been in vain. Inspired by the work of the great growers of Europe, his fruit is a cut above the Margaret River norm. This much shines through in his wines, which are organically grown with a strong emphasis on sustainability and minimal intrusion in the shed. Many of Bibendum’s favourite ingredients are here: impeccably managed vineyards; low-cropped vines; a terrific little winery replete with a traditional hand-operated basket press; cement tanks and minimal new oak; small production; and a passionate winegrower who clearly understands the universal principles of high-quality wine. The wines are as pristine and authentic as they come.

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“Chris has dug every hole for each of the 12,000 vines on the property and hand prunes each one on his own. No one else is allowed in the vineyard except for a few trusted pickers (who are still closely watched) at harvest time. Feedback from the pickers is that the vineyard is so pristine, it’s a real pleasure to pick the fruit.” Gourmet Traveller Wine

“Chris Davies planted the Windows Estate Vineyard in 1996, at the age of 19, and has tended the vines ever since. Initially selling the grapes, Chris moved into winemaking in 2006 and has had considerable show success for the consistently outstanding wines.” ★★★★★ James Halliday

Country

Australia

Primary Region

Margaret River

People

Vigneron: Chris Davies

Availability

WA

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