Margaret River's Hidden Red Secret

January 17, 2020

Honesty is best, so I’ll disclose. For many years, Jeremy Muller, the owner of Peccavi, has been a friend of mine. But for the first five years that we knew each other, I had no idea he owned a vineyard in Margaret River, and one of the very finest in the region.

One Sunday afternoon in Singapore Jeremy shoved a glass of red wine at me and asked what I thought of it. I told him that it was a very good Western Australian shiraz, but I had no idea whose it was. He thereupon told me that it was his wine, so of course I told him he was pulling my leg, or words to that effect. It took quite a while for him to convince me that he was indeed the actual owner of the vineyard and had directed the making of the wine, especially since we had at that time been to countless of the same wine dinners and tastings without it ever coming up in conversation. So I asked why, and his response tells you why we’re still friends. He told me he never wanted to put me under any pressure to write about his wine. Perfect, from my angle at least.

Many years have since slipped by, and I am now firmly of the belief that no vineyard in Margaret River is doing a better job across the regional mix of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, shiraz, merlot and sauvignon blanc (with a splash of semillon). Located near Yallingup, in the north of the region, it typically delivers depth of fruit and flavour, plus a structure that’s perhaps more typical of France than Australia today. Yet, because Peccavi has yet to be properly distributed in Australia, there’s barely an Australian native that knows of the brand and its second label, No Regrets.

To my mind, Peccavi’s Cabernet Sauvignon is consistently the finest and most classically presented of all Margaret River’s cabernet. It’s emphatically polished and regional but brings a gravelly structure and style that puts it into the big-time international league. Each year it’s usually knocking around my three top six Australian cabernets, and it’s been my preferred more than once.

The current release is from 2016, and it’s a stunner. Laced with scents of graphite and dried herbs, its deep, earthy aromas of cassis, Morello cherries, dark plums and blueberries are lifted by scents of violets and cigarboxy oak. Luxuriant and smooth, it’s profoundly ripened and deeply flavoured, with an emphatic depth of fruit that extends long and seamless over a drying, gravelly spine towards a firm, astringent finish of remarkable power and strength. It’s ready to go if you like your cabernet young, but will cellar for decades as well.


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