Xanadu is located in the Wallcliffe sub-region of Margaret River which includes two key vineyards, Lagan Estate and Stevens Road.
Lagan Estate is located on the Xanadu property and was first planted in 1977 by Dr John Lagan, an Irishman that arrived in Margaret River nearly a decade earlier. The original varieties planted includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon, closely followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Lagan Estate is a relatively flat site, with the vines rooted in a deep clay/sandy loam soil over deep gravel. The vines use vertical shoot positioning trellising and has a total of 17 hectares under vine.
Our most revered variety from Lagan Estate is the Chardonnay which has produced Xanadu’s Reserve wine each year. From original 1981 plantings, the low yielding Chardonnay produces a powerful and robust style of wine, with all the hallmarks of Margaret River fruit intensity.
The Boodjidup Estate is our newest addition to Xanadu and is located next to the Lagan Estate, expanding out onto Boodjidup and Exmoor Drives. This vineyard was planted in 1999, where the standout varietal is 23 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon. Our Cabernet Sauvignon performs on our north / south and east / west orientated rows and these make up the back bone of our premium Cabernet Sauvignon. We utilise a variety of canopy management techniques to achieve these fine wines. Other notable varieties in the Boodjidup plantings are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Shiraz. The total size of the Boodjidup plantings is 47 hectares.
The Stevens Road vineyard was first planted in 1989. Being only 3km from Xanadu winery, the vineyard is also located within the Wallcliffe sub region. With 24 hectares under vine the block is a gracious host to many varieties such as Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz Muscadelle, Graciano and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Boodjidup Brook weaves it way through the undulating property which gives rise to multiple aspects throughout the vineyard.
The soils on the Stevens road vineyard are shallow sandy loams over deep well drained gravel. These soils are conducive to the well balanced vines which are in the Boodjidup Brook catchment on Stevens Road.
The two stellar varietals to come off this vineyard include both the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay from Block 2 offers a wonderful minerality, and tightly coiled style. This block is planted with an easterly aspect, and is just 10 metres from the Stevens roadside. The vines are well balanced, with very low vigour and there is also an underground stream meandering through the block. This mystical site produces the grapes that nearly always make up our single vineyard Stevens Road Chardonnay.
The Cabernet Sauvignon comes from 21 rows of Houghton clone Cabernet and the block has an easterly aspect with north-south row orientation, and is situated on free draining gravelly-loam soils. The vines are cane pruned, have a naturally low-moderate vigour and yields have tended to settle at around 5 – 6 tonnes per hectare in recent years. It’s a block that just always seems to know its own balance. In 2010, we took cuttings of this Cabernet block and in 2011 we planted another 4 hectares. This time on the South side of the Boodjidup creek, on an exceptionally hilly site, with north / south rows, over beautifully orange gravels, with granite influences. This block is now online and although young at this point in time, it is already producing an amazing wine.
The wines to come out of the Stevens Road blocks are a true testament to the statement ‘quality not quantity’ as production remains quite limited for the wines under the Stevens Road label. James Halliday recently named the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Wine of the Year, awarding it 99 points.
Suzie began her work with Xanadu 6 years ago as the Vineyard Supervisor. It was here where Suzie discovered her passion for growing Wine Grapes.
A country girl, growing up in the small town of Corrigan, Suzie could regularly be found outdoors indulging her natural curiosity for ‘growing things’. A long with a taste for good food and wine it was no surprise when Suzie decided to study Agricultural Science at the University of Western Australia, majoring in plant and soil science.
Like so many in the wine industry, Suzie’s passion for her work took her abroad, where she gained invaluable experience in Ontario, Canada and Kauai, Hawaii to name a few. However, Suzie missed her Australian roots, friends and family and decided to move to Margaret River to pursue a career in viticulture and the wine industry.
Her career in the south west of Western Australia has seen her be an Agronomist for Biofusion Farming, the Technical Officer for 11 vineyards across the SW and Great Southern. Living in the Margaret River Region and having a keen interest in visiting the local vineyards and wineries, and enrolling herself into Wine Evaluation courses then led her into working as a Cellar Hand for nearly a year. After getting a taste of Winemaking so to speak, it was at this point that Suzie decided to apply for the Vineyard Supervisor position at Xanadu Wines.
After 6 years Suzie has proven herself as an enthusiastic team player and has recently taken on the role as Viticlurist. Darren Rathbone jokes that Suzie is the only person he knows that sat in her first interview for Xanadu Wines and told her current boss that she saw herself taking his job in the future!