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: Willow Bridge

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Willow Bridge

www.willowbridge.com.au

Gardin Court Drive, Dardanup, Ferguson Valley, 6236

Cellar Door: Daily (11-5)

Ph: (08) 9728 0055

 

 label

This rapidly growing winery was established in 1997 by the Dewar family, which unlike most of the other wineries in the region, has wide distribution both interstate and in several overseas markets.

The vineyard is sited high on the western watershed (280m) of the Ferguson River, with spectacular views over the coastal plains, to the city of Bunbury and the Indian Ocean. The vines are planted on quite steep slopes in gravely red clay, where they can avoid the worst of of the spring frosts.

The vineyard plantings include Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Tempranillo and Merlot. The signature wine is the Black Dog Shiraz. The budget range is Dragonfly. A newish wine is a Fume Blanc (50% barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc) from Pemberton.

The Dewar family initially brought in Robert Bowen from Capel Vale to be the main winemaker and to manage the rapid expansion of the Willow Bridge brand. There is now a 1,200 tonne wine-making facility with the current winemakers being Simon Burnell and Jane Dunkley.

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View of the Ferguson Valley from Willow Bridge down to Indian ocean (photo: genxywines)
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Willow Bridge Estate winery. The small cellar door is tucked away upstairs (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Willow Bridge Estate Gravel Pit Shiraz 2015

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2028

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2016, Trophy for Wine of the Show at Geographe Wine Show 2016, powerful, juicy and penetrating blueberry and dark plums with anise and white pepper notes, some iris florals, full bodied and underpinned with ironstone minerality and grainy tannins, rich and toasty hazelnut/vanilla oak (****1/2)

Willow Bridge Estate Tempranillo 2014

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2016, Gold Medal at Geographe Wine Show 2016,  juicy black cherry,mulberry and plumcake with smoked meat complexity, anise and a touch of cola, medium-full bodied and earthy with rich coffee/nutty oak and firm chalky tannins (****)

Willow Bridge Dragonfly Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, oaky and glycerolly and medium bodied blood plum, black cherry and cranberry with anise and white pepper notes, plenty of roast coffee/chocolate/clove from the French oak, fine grained tannins, entry level wine that punches above its price point (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Gravel Pit Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2022

(GXY) Tasting: June 2014, Gold Medal at Perth Royal Wine Show 2013, more powerful and extracted than the last time I tried this, firmish but fleshy mulberry and dark plums with white pepper, iris and cardmon notes, medium-full bodied (although alcohol is modest 13.6%) and minerally, ample toasted vanilla/ hazelnut/cinnamon French oak with grainy, savoury tannins (****1/2)

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Rose 2013

Purchased: Cellarbrations, St. Kilda ($17)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2013, Gold Medal at Qantas Wine Show of WA, derived from 55% Sangiovese, 25% Tempranillo and 20% Merlot, bright pink colour, seems to have some fruit sweetness but is bone-dry, interesting fuller, perfumed style with sour cherry and red berries with turkish delight and lavender notes, some leesy texture and savoury underpinnings alongside the fresh citrussy acid, some brown spices on the finish, fine phenolics (****)

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($17)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2013, not particularly deep set but has good complexity for the price point, smooth, medium bodied and savoury/earthy blackcurrant, mulberry and plum with anise and modest white pepper spiciness, some loose knit chalky tannin grip and nutty/mocha-chocolate French oak on the finish, needs food (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Solana Tempranillo 2011

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, Silver Medal at Perth Royal Wine Show 2012, fruit seems a little fresher and purer this vintage, red cherries and dark plums with smoked charcuterie and cola notes, medium-full bodied with creamy roast coffee-vanilla-nutty oak and dusty tannins, fresh citrussy acidity (****1/2)

Willow Bridge Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012

Purchased: Not ($17)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, Silver Medal at 2012 Geographe Wine Show, small barrel ferment brings some creamy texture to the mid-palate, brightly flavoured and balanced kiwifruit, lime and lemon grass with snow pea notes, tangy and focussed finish (****)

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: July 2011, blend of 58% Sauvignon Blanc and 42% Semillon, 5% barrel ferment brings some slight creaminess to the mid-palate, nicely balanced kiwifruit, passionfruit and lemon grass with snow pea notes, crisp and focussed with enough interesting synergies between the two varieties (****)

Willow Bridge Estate Solana Tempranillo 2009

Purchased: Cellar Door ($25)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: July 2011, there is a 14% Malbec input, juicy black cherry and dark plum with olive, smoked meat and other savoury nuances, medium bodied with silky tannins and creamy roast coffee-chocolate oak, a step up in varietal expression from the 2008 but still an early drinking proposition (****)

Willow Bridge Estate Black Dog Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: July 2011, silky red cherry and plum with white pepper and cinnamon notes, earthy and medium bodied with persistent chalky tannins, creamy mocha-nutmeg­cedar oak from the mainly French and US barriques (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Gravel Pit Shiraz Viognier 2008

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: July 2011, perfumed and silky mulberry and raspberry with violet, cardamon, apricot blossom and white pepper notes, medium bodied with a streak of regional minerals, creamy oak finish, its only about a 5% Viognier co-ferment but I reckon the delicate red fruits needed a lighter caress from the Viognier, I note that in the new 2009 release the winemakers have headed in this direction and dropped the Viognier to 3% (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Solana Tempranillo 2008

Purchased: Cellarbrations, St. Kilda ($22)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2011, fresh and medium bodied cherry and raspberry with a glycerolly palate and a light dusting of warm spice, finishes with tangy citric acid and cedar-vanilla-chocolate oak inputs, drink now style (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Shiraz 2006

Purchased: IGA, St. Kilda Junction, Vic ($15)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, a lighter bodied Shiraz from the Fergusson Valley but an interesting wine, dark plum, blueberry, redcurrant with black olive notes, the savoury mid-palate is viscous and glycerolly and there seems to be a touch of apricot but there is no Viognier input, cedar, mocha and tobacco French oak features are infused through the whole palate (***1/2)

Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007

Purchased: Queensberry Hotel, Melb ($16)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2008, more austere than the 2007 with elegant passionfruit, lemon sherbert and hints of pineapple and pea pods, impeccably dry and clean minerally palate, crisp citric finish, good line and length (****)

Willow Bridge Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, vibrant nose showing passionfruit, lemon sherbert and hints of gooseberry and pea pods, clean minerally palate with good length and blending balance, crisp citric finish, immaculate line and length, a touch too extractive for very top score but is excellent value (****)