‘Immune to hyperbole, this is an estate to watch (and buy, and drink). Hearty congratulations are due’, says Erin Larkin for the Halliday Wine Companion. In a sea of fierce competition, Deep Woods Estate is continuing a non-stop run of awards with an ever-growing count of sensational reviews, gold medals and trophies – most recently included in James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines of 2022 with the 2020 Deep Woods Reserve Chardonnay.
Deep Woods Estate was originally established in 1987 and since that time has gradually forged a steady path to being regarded as amongst the very best of Margaret River, and has certainly enjoyed countless accolades over recent years to back that up. We got to know head winemaker Julian Langworthy very well over the last half-decade or more through his own Nocturne project, so when the stars aligned to take on his ‘day job’ wines as well it was a no-brainer. Julian, aside from being fabulous company and an all-round fun guy, is quite rightly regarded as one of the most talented winemakers in Australia with awards such as James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year and a Jimmy Watson Trophy to his name, and a wine-show circuit diary that is, to use one his own favourite words, truly epic!
Jules has done stints in France and Canada as well as senior winemaking roles in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, and Coonawarra. Passionate about producing regionally distinctive wines, Julian joined the Deep Woods team in 2011, and it’s fair to say hasn’t looked back. The line-up of Deep Woods wines is impressive; from pourable treats to single-vineyard wines and reserve bottlings, the common denominator is a sense of balance, regionality and purity. The fact is that the wines offer terrific value – so much so that Deep Woods was awarded ‘Best Value Winery’ in this year’s Wine Companion awards is just a bonus!
2022 Deep Woods Estate Sauvignon Blanc RRP $27
Sourced from the Bridgeland Vineyard in the Karridale area of Margaret River, this wine was largely tank fermented to highlight pure fruit aromatics. A small proportion of this wine was also barrel fermented for extra complexity and texture while maintaining aromatic freshness and length.
Pale straw in colour and bursting with aromas of zesty line, tropical fruit and freshly cut grass. The palate has expressive flavours of lime curd, grapefruit and passionfruit with a herbaceous finish. Pristine acidity provides freshness and the barrel-ferment proportion adds texture and refinement. – Julian Langworthy
Partial barrel fermentation adds another dimension to the citrus/snow pea and passionfruit of the wine, the rich bouquet marking a multi-layered palate that takes a split second to fill every part of the long, lingering palate with its grapefruit and nectarine palate. 95 points. James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines of 2022
2022 Deep Woods Estate Chardonnay RRP $27
2022 was a truly exceptional vintage in Margaret River. The season started beautifully with a wet spring and late flowering, followed by a warm and dry season, producing refined flavour, great elegance and real personality. A very sophisticated vintage for this wine.
Fruit was sourced from across the Margaret River region for this delightfully complex yet eminently drinkable wine. Fermentation was carried out using wild yeast and the wine was left to mature on lees for six months in new and seasoned French oak imparting great texture and length. – Julian Langworthy
2021 Deep Woods Estate Rosé RRP $38
A mild spring at the start of the growing season, lead into a dry early summer providing ideal growing conditions. The challenge of several summer rainfall events later in the season was managed with great care by the viticultural team, where attention to detail resulted in fruit that produced expressive, flavourful wines.
The 2021 Deep Woods Estate Rosé is produced solely from Margaret River fruit and made to sit alongside the very best wines from Deep Woods Estate. The aim was to make a contemporary style of rosé; nuanced and delicate, yet full-flavoured. Tempranillo and Shiraz were sourced from vineyards in the Yallingup Hills and slow, carefully managed ferments allowed for a rosé of great character and expression.
Pale salmon pink in colour with intensely floral aromas, perfumed with vibrant ripe strawberries. On the palate, wild strawberries are matched by a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a savoury edge. The wine builds through the mid-palate with vibrant acidity and a dry finish. – Julian Langworthy
Expansive, full of flavour and textural, this is yet another exciting release of the estate rosé. Red apples, raspberry, lemony acidity and oodles of exotic market spices. Finer and more precise than the 2020 release, in line with the cool year that birthed it. 94 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
2020 Deep Woods Shiraz et al RRP $27
The 2020 vintage was a brilliant season in Margaret River. A warm and dry season with below average crop yield allowed for perfect tannin development and an incredible intensity of flavour. The resulting 2020 wines show amazing brightness and clarity, intense and charming fruit character and a youthful exuberance, which ensure enjoyment as both young and older wines.
Shiraz and Malbec parcels were crushed and pumpovers and delestage were used to extract fine tannin and colour. After 12-14 days, when fruit flavour and tannin extraction were optimised, the separate fermentations were pressed and primary fermentation was completed to dryness. The wines were then racked into French oak barrels for 12-15 months of maturation, before blending.
Deepest crimson colour with purple hues. Aromas of intense, juicy blackberry and dark plum combine with a herbaceous savoury tomato leaf. The palate bursts with juicy plums and dark berries providing freshness and vibrant acidity to the wine. Black pepper and subtle cinnamon spices enhance complexity and texture. The tannins are delightfully soft and persistent, creating a long finish. – Julian Langworthy
Vivid colour, it beggars belief this has an RRP so low. It’s the real deal – a wine with layer upon layer of red and black fruits and serious tannins, and then given that time in French oak. 94 points. James Halliday, Halliday Top 100 Wines
2020 Deep Woods Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot RRP $45
Fruit was crushed into separate fermenters and pump-overs and délestage were used to extract tannin and colour. After 12–16 days, the ferments were pressed before completing primary fermentation to dryness in tank. The wine was then racked into tight grain, thin stave Bordelaise French oak barriques, 25% of which were new and matured for 18 months before blending. This is one of the best wines that Deep Woods Estate makes. It’s the one that I cellar for special occasions and also drink on a Tuesday with pizza.
Deep crimson in colour with purple hues. Brimming with aromas of violets, blackberry bramble and bay leaf. Full and rich palate with notes of dark chocolate, bramble and cassis. Soft, ripe tannin abounds the palate and provides structure and length. – Julian Langworthy
2020 was a glorious vintage and it’s here for all to see. Structural, dense, concentrated and broody, the length of flavour tails out through the long finish – in fact, far longer than any $35 wine has any business being. 94 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
SINGLE VINEYARD RANGE
2021 Deep Woods Single Vineyard Chardonnay RRP $55
The 2021 vintage was a very good Chardonnay season, with a warm summer and timely rainfall to provide excellent conditions for flavour ripeness whilst retaining natural acidity.Fruit was hand-picked from a small vineyard site in Karridale and left overnight in a cool room. The following day the fruit was whole bunch pressed on a long, gentle cycle to avoid unwanted phenolics. The juice was then racked straight to oak hogshead and puncheons for wild fermentation. The oak regime used was 30% new. This wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation and bâttonage was only used when necessary.
Pale gold in colour with a light green rim. This wine brims with delicious, nutty pastry crust aromas which mingle with lifted white peach and orange blossom perfume. This is a textural wine with a vibrant, linear acidity. Juicy lemon and lime citrus fruit, fennel frond and savoury oak-driven complexities create an elegant, yet energetic wine with a long, tangy finish. – Julian Langworthy
Fruit from Karridale. Hand picked, whole-bunch pressed, wild ferment, very minimal bâttonage, matured on lees for 9 months in a combination of new and seasoned French oak. A cool vintage, coupled with the southern growing area of Karridale, has imbued this wine with laser acidity and precise drive in the mouth. With citrus, red apples, white peach, creamy cashews and loads of brine (with some apricot squares through the finish) this provides a startlingly clear view of the ‘other’ style of chardonnay that Margaret River does so well. Harnessed volume is converted into superfine layers of taut fruit. It’s concentrated, but it’s also glass-like, with shards of acidity and chalky phenolics. Very cool. 95 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
Fantastic aromas of sliced cooked lemons and apple with flint, crushed stone, nutmeg and spiced pear. Medium to full body. Crisp acidity. Razor sharp. Oyster shells. Steely undertones. Tangy acidity. Drink or hold. 96 points. James Suckling, October 2022
2020 Deep Woods Single Vineyard Cabernet Malbec RRP $55
Sourced from the Deep Woods home blocks on Commonage Road in the Yallingup Hills, this wine highlights the elegance and pure quality of mature Cabernet in the Yallingup Hills, lifted and nuanced by a block of younger, precocious and delicious Malbec.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was fermented solely in static fermenters where pump-overs and délestage were used to extract fine tannin and colour. Malbec was destemmed and transferred to an open-top fermenter where pump-overs and hand plunging were used. Primary fermentation occurred solely in tank before the wine was racked to 30% new oak French barriques for malolactic fermentation and aged for 18–20 months.
This wine is 93% Cabernet, 7% Malbec and shows typically intense and charming perfume as well as the effortless structure and beauty that the site offers. A unique wine that showcases the influence and power of Malbec even in the smallest amounts. Delicious young, yet will age gracefully. Inky red in colour with purple hues. The nose brims with joyous blackberry and mulberry perfume, interwoven with subtle layers of star anise and cocoa powder. The palate is finely textured and generous, with intense cassis and dark berry flavours enlivened by a hint of salted liquorice and black olive complexity. Silken, perfectly ripe tannins intertwine with an intense array of complex fruit and spice creating a wine of seemingly effortless beauty and length. – Julian Langworthy
Cabernet with 10% malbec. “We go to-getherr like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong”(Grease, in case you were wondering)… like an earworm I can’t eradicate (and actually, nor do I want to), these 2 have spent a long time trying to get together; unlikely bedfellows perhaps, blocked by the reliable and often uneventful merlot, but they finally find their way back. For all the hyperbole, this is a sensational wine, impossibly intense and saturated with flavour, and the volume is boosted in 2020. Decant it, because the frisky malbec needs the oxygen to calm it down. It’ll live an age, though. 95 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
2020 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Chardonnay RRP $70
2020 was a tricky vintage for life in general with lock downs, split work forces and all manner of challenges but it did make for some very lovely wines in Margaret River.
A steady, relatively warm season was punctuated by a couple of solid rainfall events but the vineyards largely loved the natural moisture, resulting in Chardonnay fruit with balanced natural acidity and exciting phenolic structure. This wine is an assemblage of largely two central Wilyabrup vineyards, with additional fruit coming from an excellent mature vineyard in Wallcliffe and a small amount of fruit from Karridale.
The fruit was hand-picked and then chilled to maintain pristine condition. A minimalist approach in the winery included whole-bunch pressing, wild fermentation and sparing lees stirring in a mixture of new and seasoned French oak. The individual parcels were kept separate and aged on lees for nine months until the final wine was blended for bottling. – Julian Langworthy
Margaret River chardonnay at its rich, piercing and powerful best here. This has such breathtaking fruit intensity with yellow-citrus, peach and green-mango fruit all intertwined and laced up with toasty oak, gun flint and spiced cream. Ripe citrus fruit and peaches explode in the mouth and wash waves of creamy, ripe fruit flesh deep through the finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap. 98 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com January 2022
2020 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Shiraz RRP $70
A steady, relatively warm season, punctuated by a couple of solid rainfall events, resulted in one of the very best Shiraz seasons I can remember in our amazing region. The Shiraz vineyards largely loved the natural moisture along with the warm temperatures and the resulting fruit has great flavour with perfectly ripe tannin structure.
This wine is almost entirely from our old vine central Wilyabrup vineyard planted in 1972. The fruit was hand-picked and varying amounts of whole bunches were employed in small open top fermenters. A minimalist approach in the winery included only twice daily plunging and pressing after 12 days on skins to a mixture of new and seasoned French oak. The individual parcels were kept separate and aged on lees for twelve months until the final selections of the parcels were made. The final blend incorporates a combination of 30% and 100% whole bunch fermented batches allowing for a wine of both great depth and complexity. – Julian Langworthy
2019 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $95
The 2019 growing season was not without challenge, but our mature vineyards in the Yallingup Hills, as always, excelled. A mild and very steady vintage allowed for slow, measured flavour and tannin development.
The result is medium-bodied wines with lovely perfume and wonderful fine-boned tannin structures. Elegance personified if you will. Representing the pinnacle of the Deep Woods house style, this Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from the ultra-low yielding, original vines on the estate, along with fruit from the Abbey Vale vineyard, also in the Yallingup Hills.
The ferments were assessed daily and pump-overs performed as required to gently extract colour, flavour and tannin. The wine was gently passed directly to a combination of new and seasoned French barriques, where it matured in oak for approximately 18 months. – Julian Langworthy
A poised and elegantly structured cabernet reflecting the vintage, with the powdery tannin and leafy cabernet fruit strong characteristics. Bay leaf with an olive tapenade and dark chocolate combination. The palate has a smooth feel, with those chalky tannins working neatly through. It’s very tight now and needs cellaring time to achieve its potential. Ray Jordan, The West Australian Wine Guide 2022