Chris Davies must have had Dutch masters in mind painting angels on pinheads when he planted the first vines of Windows Estate at Yallingup, Margaret River, in 1996. He was only 19, but made the decision from the outset that he, and he alone, would be responsible for the location of every vine within each block, its variety and clone, pruning method, the management of the canopy, and the decision to obtain Southern Cross [Organic] Certification in 1999.
He continued to plant vines in 1999, lifting the total to 7ha, making a little wine along the way. The majority of the grapes were sold until 2003, thereafter they vinified the entire crop in the estate winery 10 metres away from the nearest vine rows. He knew the adoption of organics required attention to detail on a scale that only a few self-taught aspiring vignerons understand, his winemaking sophisticated and skilled.
One such was Peter Stark (and wife Therese) who established Boireann in Queensland’s Granite Belt, a 1.6ha vineyard planted to 11 varieties. Stark was entirely self-taught, taking on the challenging climate of the Granite Belt with a scintillating array of wines that were rewarded with a 5 red star rating year in, year out, in the Halliday Wine Companion. It was conceived as a retirement project that spanned 1998-2017, and all such ventures have to come to an end unless family members are waiting in the wings.
Windows Estate has the retirement business far off. Chris and wife Jo (Joanne) have two children, Lucas (age 14) and Violette (age 6). What is more, the organic farm they have established has fruit and nut trees, areas for cows, ducks, geese, chooks and a vegetable garden, and preparation for another 2ha of vineyard underway. Just over half has been retained as natural bushland home to a wide variety of insects and native wildlife.
Then there is the magic Margaret River coastline, and thirsty tourists visiting Windows Estate at 4 Quininup Road, Yallingup.
2021 Windows Estate Petit Lot Margaret River Chardonnay
Dry grown blocks with varying soils and clonal selections of gin gin, 95, 277 and 76. Hand-picked, barrel and clay egg ferment, matured for 11 months in French oak (50% new). Its impact is immediate and intense, yet there’s also precision to a gloriously complex wine.
97 points, drink to 2036, 12% alc, Screwcap, $64
2019 Windows Estate Petit Lot Margaret River Basket Pressed Syrah
Low yielding shiraz plus 80 vines of viognier on the same block; a small percentage of whole bunch, matured in French oak (25% new) for 18 months. Brilliantly fresh in colour, aroma and flavour: juicy light- to medium-bodied palate with red fruit to the fore, super fine tannins bringing up the rear.
97 points, drink to 2039, 13.5% alc, Screwcap, $42
2021 Windows Estate Petit Lot La Terre
Hand-picked sauvignon blanc fermented in clay eggs and barrel, a small portion on skins; 70% matured in used French barriques, 30% in clay eggs. A wine of tremendous complexity and intensity reaching a high point on the finish of the palate with lemon zest and electrifying acidity.
96 points, drink to 2030, 12% alc, Screwcap, $39