In 1968, Englishman Tony Smith used a small inheritance to buy a farm named ‘Bouverie’ in Mount Barker, in the Plantagenet Shire in Western Australia. The name derives from the shire in which it is located, however, the shire itself gets its name from a descendant of the Plantagenet royal line (ruling in England from 1154 to 1399) who founded the region in 1871. The names of the wines all have some relation to the Plantagenet royal family. Tony planted the vineyard with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the first vintage produced in 1974. More vines were planted over the years: ‘Wyjup’ in 1971; ‘Rocky Horror I’ and ‘Crystal Brook’ in 1988; ‘Rocky Horror II’ in 1997; and ‘Rosetta’ in 1999. Other varieties planted include Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which all thrive in the cool climate of the Great Southern region, with a total of 126ha now under vine. In 1999, the winery was purchased by Lionel Samson & Son, one of the oldest businesses in Western Australia. The current winemaker is Luke Eckersley, born in the Great Southern region, who has completed vintages throughout Europe and the United States, before returning to Western Australia to pursue his winemaking career.
Plantagenet offer wines under two labels: ‘Plantagenet’, and more budget-priced ‘Three Lions’ (after the coat of arms for the Plantagenet family). The ‘Plantagenet Angevin Riesling’ features flavours of oyster shell and lemon rind notes over refreshing acidity, helping the wine show ‘youthful poise’, this wine can also be held in the cellar for up to eight years. Apart from their ‘Aged Release’ wines (released to the public after aging for a number of years), the ‘Plantagenet Lancaster Shiraz’ is one of their more premium bottles, with dark chocolate and red berries on the nose and palate, and a firm, structured finish, that can help it age for up to a decade.
For more information on Plantagenet and their wines, head to their website.