Voyager Estate
19 June 2024 | Voyager Estate


To celebrate the release of our new vintages, Voyager Estate Sommelier, Claire Tonon, shares a few thoughts on what makes a glass of MJW so special.

In what ways do the MJW wines embody the ultimate expression of our land?

Our MJW wines, named after Voyager Estate’s Founder Michael J. Wright, reflect his love of the land and passion for farming.

Michael meticulously profiled the land, digging deep to understand the soil types, layers, and nutrients. He planted the most suitable varieties in carefully selected patches, sometimes creating irregular-shaped blocks that followed the lay of the land. Quirky, but functional, just like the man himself.

This careful matching of vines to their soils and micro-climates ensured consistency and distinct varietal expressions from each site. The subtle differences in the grapes become more pronounced as the wines ferment, mature in barrel, and age in bottle, capturing the ultimate expression of the land in every sip.

How does each bottle reflect Michael’s dedication to excellence?

Just as each vineyard planting involved meticulous soil profiling and clonal selection, Michael ensured every part of grape-growing and winemaking focused on excellence, a dedication he instilled throughout the business. Though Michael is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in these wines.

Organic farming, building soil diversity, hand-tending vines, selectively harvesting grapes, delicately handling fruit, and maturing in the finest oak are all part of our careful process. Each step in crafting MJW wines is deliberate and meticulous, showcasing purity of fruit, texture, complexity, and fine structure, which contribute to their quality and cellaring potential.

How does the terroir of our Stevens Valley site influence the sensory experience of our MJW wines?

The 2022 MJW Chardonnay is sourced entirely from Broadvale Block 5, which has very gravelly, nutrient-poor soil that ensures lower yields of more concentrated fruit. The shallow soil with a stony/clay base provides necessary water during dry summers. Planted on a gentle northwest slope and exposed to cooling breezes from the Indian Ocean, the vineyard's early growth is slowed. Established in 2003 with the Gingin clone, the vineyard balances fruit concentration with great acidity.

The 2020 MJW Cabernet Sauvignon benefits from vine age and blending. It is sourced from the Old Block (planted in 1978) and North Block (planted in 1995), both using the Houghton clone. The Old Block, with its orange clay and dark organic topsoil, produces rich fruit, sweetness, and fine tannins. In contrast, the North Block's gravelly slope and rocky ridge result in a more prominent tannin structure and vibrant dark fruit. The blend from these sites creates a wine with a balance of power, structure, elegance, sweet fruit, and savoury complexities.

What gives the MJW wines their ability to age so gracefully?

Structural balance in the wine is key. This comes from every aspect of the wine's life—from vineyard soils and pruning to ripening conditions, harvest characteristics, and winemaking techniques, including fermentation temperatures and barrel aging.

The MJW Chardonnay is at its best between 8 to 10 years, with softened acidity and well-integrated fruit and oak. It can hold strong past 10 years, developing honeyed, nutty notes with a softer mouthfeel into the late teens. The MJW Cabernet Sauvignon can age for over 20 to 30 years. At 10 years, it shows little evolution, with more noticeable changes in fruit character and minor sediment around 12-14 years.

How does a glass of MJW transform an ordinary moment into something really special?

Whether Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, there’s something deeply reverent about opening a bottle of MJW, and at the same time something delightfully convivial. Most think twice (or even thrice!) about opening one of these special wines. They’re an investment, after all, and everyone wants to capitalise on their investments. What makes this investment different from a piece of land or a few stocks and shares is that you can share it with your important people, enjoy it with your favourite foods, and take it along to your special occasions, to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Visit our online shop to purchase the 2020 MJW Cabernet Sauvignon. To add the very limited 2022 MJW Chardonnay to your collection, sign up to The Fold.

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