The Duke Who Would be King

The Duke Who Would be King

Barry Weinman: 12th June 2021

Porongorup producer Duke’s has developed a reputation in recent years for making some of Australia’s best rieslings. The combination of high quality fruit and sympathetic winemaking by the talented Rob Diletti has proved a winner.

So I was delighted, but not surprised at the quality of the current release reds under the Magpie Hill Reserve Label. Both the Shiraz and Cabernet are superb, but what makes the wines stand out is the value that is on offer.

Priced around $40, the 2019 Cabernet in particular may be the best value Western Australian Cabernet on the market right now. The vineyard was planted in 1999 and is producing great quality fruit.

Following great reviews from Brendan Jansen MW, I tried the Skigh Shiraz for the first time. Very impressive depth and power.

Aldi has another great value wine with the A.C Byrne and Co Chardonnay. A very drinkable wine for $13.


Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Oh wow. The purity of the ripe fruit is quite breathtaking. Yet the fruit is very muted, cocooned in a blanket of fine fine tannins. With time and patience, this will transform into something beautiful, but you need to be patient to see it at its best. 96pts – $42

Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve – Shiraz – 2018. Strikingly vibrant colour. This is intense, powerful and quite beautiful. It is full of coffee and chocolate notes, with a hint of caramel, pepper and mint. But the dense ripe fruit is the main feature. Fine, elegant and even a touch reserved. Brilliant and age worthy. 18.5pts

SkighAbacus – Shiraz – 2019. Dense, powerful, cooler climate Shiraz that is taut and restrained. The ripe fruit has darker plum notes, supported by silky oak. But this needs a decade to really open up. 94pts – $45

Mount Langi GhiranLangi – Shiraz – 2018. Pretty berry fruit, fine structure and silky mouthfeel. Really complex, with liquorice, menthol, spice and pepper building on the palate. After a day in the bottle, this really blossomed. An outstanding wine 96pts+

Mount Langi Ghiran Langi – Shiraz – 2017. A bit of wow-factor going on here. Pretty berry and cherry fruit up front, but then this gets quite dark and savoury in the mouth with tobacco leaf and cedary notes. The quality is palpable. In this elegant, cooler climate wine that offers great drinking pleasure now, but is also good for medium term aging. Improved greatly with air. 94-95pts.

Bowen Estate – Shiraz – 2018. Classic Coonawarra Shiraz. Mint and eucalyptus over fragrant cherry and plum fruit. The finish is long and fine, defined by the graphite-like tannins, and savoury notes. The texture is a highlight having a lot in common with fine Pinot Noir. 94pts