New Release and Pre-release Plantagenet Wine Tasting

On Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to attend the New Release and Pre-release Wine Tasting of Plantagenet Wines at the famous Lionel Samson Cellar in Fremantle. On a cold winter evening, tasting wine and eating delicious canapé among other like-minded individuals, I could think of no better well spent mid-week soirée!

The story of the wines from Plantagenet dates from 1968, when Tony Smith, an English migrant bought land in the Plantagenet Shire in Mount Barker. He then started planting Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and later other varieties. Fast forward to just over 30 years later, in 1999 and the winery, Plantagenet was purchased by Lionel Samson & Son. This company remains Western Australia’s oldest family-owned business that dates back to 1829 and it established the first liquor license in WA in 1835. Having specialised in a merchant liquor and general import-export business, today Lionel Samson & Son is involved in a range of businesses including industrial packaging and wine and beer wholesale distribution.


The cellar under the offices is pretty spectacular considering its heritage and the fact that it’s still privately owned. The red brick walls hugged by old wines covered in a thin layer of dust along with old photos of Fremantle, low ceilings filled with a group of wine lovers was the perfect setting. Leah Clearwater, the Direct Sales and Marketing Manager of Plantagenet led the tasting alongside Matt and Chris Murtha (head winemaker).

There was a wonderful range of cold meats, cheese, crackers and bread at each table. Each table had a head pourer for the wines and we all got to know each other quite well over the evening. We were lucky to be able to taste fifteen wines that night starting just after 6pm.

  1. Plantagenet 2014 Riesling, RRP $25: On arrival we were given a sample of the Riesling which was so lovely and fresh on the nose. Aromas of lime cordial and citrus peel followed through on the palate with a noticeable texture to the wine.
  2. Omrah 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, RRP $19: Chris described this as a ‘fruit forward’ wine which I agree with along with a freshness on the palate coupled with passionfruit and pineapple.
  3. Juxtapose 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, RRP $24: This was barrel fermented so offered a different style than the previous wine. I found there was a creaminess to it with texture and less fruit than the Omrah.
  4. Omrah 2013 Chardonnay, RRP $19: Chris explained that the 2013 was warmer so the wines exhibit more nectarines, melon and guava. He went on to say that this is an unoaked style but they do a lot of lees work in order to build texture and interest. I picked up on the tropical fruits, hint of banana and the lees work they’ve done to the wine. I really enjoyed the depth and breadth of this Chardonnay.
  5. Omrah 2014 Chardonnay: Chris told us the 2014 was a cooler year and this wine reflects a style made in these climatic conditions. With a cooler year, the wine offers more stone fruits as well as a linear style to the wine with tighter acid. As I was tasting the wines, I often like to think what I can detect in the glass before I hear what the winemaker or others discussing the wine have to say – that way my judgement or thoughts are not influenced. I agree with what Chris says, I do find the stone fruits and notes of mandarin in the wine with a tighter acid structure – refreshing and different style which is wonderful to drink now but it would age well over time. I enjoy trying different vintages back to back – different climates, different effects on the wine along with the winemaker explaining what was done to each wine in each year, so you can start to put together the work and effort that goes into the wine and appreciate it for all that goes into a glass.
  6. Plantagenet 2013 Chardonnay, RRP $30: Lovely buttery aromas on the nose with hints of spice, citrus peel and fig which opens up more on the palate coupled with a refreshing acidity and a richness there. Hints of melon and creaminess follow. Chris explained that 2013 was a warmer year and therefore in the Chardonnay you will find there’s richness in the fruit and more full body character.
  7. Plantagenet 2014 Chardonnay: This wine is still 4-5 months away from release to the general public over which time, I am sure it will open up more. I like the slightly herbal notes and stone fruit characters on the nose followed by lemon curd on the palate and the hint of herbal flavours with a richness there with a great length.
  8. Omrah 2012 Shiraz, RRP $19: The nose has aromas of blackcurrant, brambles, red fruit and a hint of savoury aromas – the older vintage is noticeable in the glass, with its slightly brick red hue. Similar flavours follow through on the palate with a refreshing acidity yet lovely depth and savoury notes.
  9. Omrah 2013 Shiraz: Chris told us that 2013 was a cooler year compared to the 2012. I find this wine has lots of peppers, some spice, hint of toast and vanilla while the palate has slight herbaceous notes, cranberry. I’m picking up more spice in the 2013 than the 2012 which is an indication of the cooler year.
  10. Omrah 2012 Cabernet Merlot, RRP $19: pencil lead and typical Cabernet characteristics fill the glass with noticeable and soft tannins with hints of pencil lead, cherries and cranberry.
  11. Omrah 2013 Cabernet Merlot: Blackcurrant and blueberry exude from the glass with high acidity, crunchy tannins, cranberry notes on the palate.
  12. Plantagenet 2013 Shiraz: mulberry and spice with a hint of liquorice with a note of cloves. On the palate plenty of peppercorns and blackcurrant and bluberry combine together with a refreshing acidity.
  13. Plantagenet 2005 Shiraz: There’s a definite savoury character to the nose of this wine which is reflected in the brick red hue colour in the glass. However I would struggle to say it was a 2005 in a blind tasting as it still smelt and tasted so fresh with balanced acidity and fruit structure. Notes of cloves and peppercorns, notes of menthol with lovely fresh fruit of black cherry yet a touch of savoury aromas were obvious.
  14. Plantagenet 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: Brambles and blueberries on the nose with notes of spice which then dances on the palate with crunchy tannings, blackcurrant, hints of coffee and dark chocolate.
  15. Plantagenet 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: There’s a savouriness on the nose with notes of leather and there’s a brick red hue in the glass but again, I wouldn’t have said it was 2005, more like 2008. There’s high acidity with upfront blackcurrant and plum fruit with the age noticeable on the back palate. The aged characters combine effortlessly with the fruit flavours which all dances on the palate.

Thanks for a wonderful evening, at the end of which you could order the wines at a discount price. If you ever have the chance to go to a tasting here, I’d highly recommend it and even more so if it’s with Leah, Matt and Chris. Like Plantagenet on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news and tastings and sign up to the company newsletter on the site..