Bruce Dukes from Domaine Naturaliste believes that truly great wine is created from the ground up, approaching winemaking with a deep understanding of soils and sustainable farming practices and the belief that a holistic approach reaps the greatest rewards, both for the wine and the environment. Domaine Naturaliste is located in the heart of the highly acclaimed Wilyabrup sub-region of Margaret River, 7 km inland from the surf breaks of the Indian Ocean. This location, with its geologically ancient, decomposed granite soils and favourable maritime climate, combined with Domaine Naturaliste’s own-rooted stock and Bruce’s commitment to healthy soils, is the ideal place to grow grapes for world-class wines.
These stunning new release chardonnays from Domaine Naturaliste – all from the exceptional 2020 vintage – are testament to Bruce Duke’s passion, knowledge and commitment. These are delicious wines, and this is surely a label to watch. Bravo Bruce!
Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Chardonnay 2020 RRP $25
Produced from the famous Gin Gin clone of chardonnay grapes particular to Margaret River from vineyards in the northern and slightly warmer subregions of Wilyabrup and Carbunup, this wine invites with classic, lovely aromas of candied grapefruit peel, stone fruit and mineral. The palate starts off with ripe tropical fruit flavours and a juicy richness from lees-ageing, but then transforms into something quite serious: it’s taught and savoury, dry and delicious and finishes off with a superb lemon sherbet twang. It’s modern-day Margaret River – fruit-driven, balanced and pure – and an absolute steal at the price. Wonderful with freshly shucked Wapengo oysters and a vinaigrette made with a few drops from your glass.
Domaine Naturaliste Floris Chardonnay 2020 RRP $33
Named for the white jasmine aromas it displays, the grapes for the Floris Chardonnay are from the Gin Gin clone, known for making complex and elegant wines, and the most widely planted in Margaret River. This wine is richer and has more of an oak profile than the Discovery, with layered and complex notes of jasmine (of course) and white peach, and oak featuring as cashew nut, aromatic spice and clove, and hints of a reductive smokiness. In the mouth there is tropical fruit and citrus notes, and richness of texture from lees ageing and stirring, but the wine is savoury, dry and intense and has a spicy prickle of acidity with a certain steeliness. Some chalky acidity and a little tannin to finish, and super length. It’s long, and long, and long, and delicious at room temperature. Quite remarkable for the price and perfect for when all you want is a glass of chardonnay – with perhaps a fillet of just-poached salmon and some buttery new potatoes to go with it.
Domaine Naturaliste Purus Chardonnay 2020 RRP $53
The Purus is the only chardonnay at Domaine Naturaliste made with Dijon clones that are able to achieve ripeness at lower sugar levels than the Gin Gin, and are known for producing full-bodied and intensely flavoured wines. The grapes for Purus were grown in the cooler southern end of Margaret River, and the resulting wine is a lesson in intensity and savouriness: aromas of flint, mineral, wet stones and smoky reduction, but lifted with the bouquet of gardenia and star jasmine, yellow peaches and citrussy grapefruit zest. On the palate there is richness and flavours of grapefruit and lemon peel, and almond, cashew and toasty bacon frazzle notes from 40% new French oak, but the structure is all about power and energy: textural, chalky, mineral and steely. The wine is delicious and stamped with that Domaine Naturaliste savoury hallmark, with a finish minutes long: a creamy, toasty aide-memoire to pour yourself another glass. Purus is excellent value for such an exceptional wine and a chardonnay to compete with Burgundy at a much higher price. Drink now – or hide away for five to ten years – and for goodness’ sake drink it with blanquette de veau!
Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay 2020 RRP $53
The flip side of the Purus coin is Artus, made from Gin Gin chardonnay grapes grown at the cooler southern end of Margaret River and harvested at first light to preserve the freshness of the fruit. The wine goes through unrestricted malo to soften its natural acidity and sees 40% new French oak, evidenced by a powerful nose of complex and concentrated citrus and tropical fruit flavours layered over notes of bacon fat, buttered toast and creme brulée. The palate is initially all about the richness and creamy texture and its layered flavours of stone fruit, citrus pith and vanilla custard, but, like the iron fist in a velvet glove, underlining it all is power, structure and energy, with acidity in great balance and a smoky finish of amaro savouriness versus chalky tannin. This is serious Aussie chardonnay: a wine of contemplation and meditation and, like the Purus, is incredible value for money. It’s in top form to drink right now but will repay as much time in your cellar as you can afford. All you need is glass of Artus, a comfy chair by the fire and a good book in your lap… and perhaps a chicken roasting in the oven stuffed with a whole lemon and cloves of garlic. Perfection.