Woodlands is a winery with great potential. It has mature grapes in a prime spot near Cullen and Moss Wood in the Margaret River region. However, it has remained relatively unknown for a number of reasons. Woodlands produces a bewildering array of wines and the marketing has been inconsistent. Most importantly though, how good are the wines? This tasting of current releases is giving some clues.
Their premium Chardonnay is called Chloe. The 2007 Chloe Chardonnay has quite powerful fruit, but it is quite oaky at the same time, so that the citrus and peach flavours are covered to some extent. It will improve with time, but I am not convinced the integration will work.
The 2007 Cabernet/Merlot is their red entry wine. It is a straight forward wine with fleshy, quite vibrant fruit - a good quaffer from what will turn out to be an outstanding vintage. It could be kept for a few years.
What this might look like is demonstrated by the 2004 Margaret, a blend of Cabernet, Malbec and Merlot. It shows the typical contributions of these three grape varieties, quite well integrated. The wine is elegant and has fine tannins, but in the finish a bit one-dimensional.
Finally, the top level Cabernet Sauvignon, which is named after a different family member each year. I tried the 2005 Colin and the 2003 Fay Kathleen. The Colin has good blackcurrant concentration and a fair bit of vanilla from the oak treatment. Fruit and tannins appear to be a bit separate, but the wine will improve with time. The Fay Kathleen is not as big, but more elegant, finishing a bit harsh, however. These wines are expensive at over $100 per bottle.
It is clear that Woodlands has potential. It has received very good ratings elsewhere. I find, however, that the wine-making has not yet optimized what the site has to offer. The wines are not consistent and not as harmoneous as its neighbours, for example.