Reviewed: 5th November 2014.
Watershed has an interesting background. With the first vineyards planted in 2001, a key part of the strategy was the sale of small vineyard parcels to investors. Over time, the structure has changed to a shareholder model. I was surprised to hear that the total vineyard holdings now exceed 175 hectares (almost 60% white grapes).
Construction of the winery facilities started in 2001, with the most recent work being a storage facility completed in 2009.
Winemaking is headed up by Severine Logan, with three distinct ranges being produced. The entry level is the Shades range, which typically offers good everyday drinking. The next step up is the Senses range which, from my perspective at least, is the sweet spot in the range. The premium range is released under the Awakening range.
The RRP for the Senses range is $30, though the likes of Dan Murphy and Cracker have them significantly cheaper!
Watershed – Sauvignon Blanc – Senses – 2013 (17.2). This wine has a component of fruit that saw barrel ferment/lees work, and this adds depth and complexity to the nose. The fruit tends towards the grassy end of the spectrum, with lovely lemony acidity providing a backbone to carry the fruit. Almond meal and tropical hints fill out the palate. Smart (RRP $30).
Watershed – Viognier – Senses – 2010 (17+). I was surprised to see a five year old white available at the cellar door. Plenty of life and interest here. The initial apricot characters give way to a textural feast on the palate. Drying and savoury, I would prefer a bit more length on the finish, but an interesting and worthwhile wine. (RRP $30).
Watershed – Sangiovese – Senses – 2011 (17.7). This had enough savoury notes up front to grab my attention. Tobacco, spice, dried herbs sit over dense, structured fruit. The drying tannins hark back to the grape’s country of origin. The length and persistence are commendable. This will go a treat with rich food. True to style and worth seeking out. (RRP $30).
Watershed – Shiraz – Senses – 2012 (17 – 17.5). Pepper and spice to the fore here. This is a savoury wine with herbal notes running through the palate, though the fruit is ripe and of decent quality. With air, attractive red fruits start to poke through. This has just been released and needs a little time to settle, as the oak sits a little apart from the fruit on the finish. Quite a serious effort and one that is well suited to food. (RRP $30).
Watershed – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Senses – 2011 (18). The contrast between this and the same blend in the Shades range is marked. Serious fruit and winemaking combine to make an excellent wine. Dense and structured, thought the tannins are fine and silky. The finish tightens up, with the drying tannins keeping the fruit in check. An excellent wine that is enjoyable now, but will also age very well. (RRP $30).
Watershed – Zinfandel – Senses – 2012 (18). Cherry fruit. Savoury, with licorice and earthy notes over plump, cherry-like fruit. Chocolate, dried plums and prunes on a palate that is chewy and textured. This is a big wine that demands attention. Excellent length and depth. Unapologetically a big wine that will have a lot of appeal to those looking for a big red. Delicious. (RRP $30).