Frankland Estate Riesling 2015
Frankland Estate is located north of the small township of Rocky Gully in the Frankland River sub region of Great Southern, Western Australia. It’s about a four hour drive south-east of Perth and about a 2.5 hour drive east of the state’s famed Margaret River.
Frankland River is one of the coolest and most isolated wine-growing regions in Western Australia.
The region has ancient surface rocks and gravel-loam soils of moderate fertility. The river valley sucks cold air down to the Southern Ocean (about 40kms south) during winter nights creating air circulation between the land and sea minimising the danger of frosts. In the summer it funnels cool and humid air north from the ocean moderating the afternoon heat to provide a long and slow ripening period for the grapes.
Fruit is from their Isolation Ridge Vineyard, surrounding the winery. It's grown using organic growing principles. The vineyard is certified organic. Their single vineyard rieslings and “Rocky Gully” wines are sourced from partnering growers within the Frankland River region.
The Isolation Ridge vineyard sits high on an ironstone ridge with ancient duplex soils of gravel and loam over a clay sub-soil.
The vineyard was planted in 1988 by Judi Nullam and Barrie Smith. Since it has become one of Australia’s most important and consistent Riesling producers. They are now assisted by their daughter Elizabeth Smith and Son Hunter Smith. Hunter and brother in law Brian Kent share winemaking duties.
Frankland Estate Riesling
This wine was made from 100% Riesling grown on select blocks of estate vineyards at Frankland Estate. Riesling vines from two different clones were planted in 1988 with some further plantings in 2007. The vines are planted on undulating north and east-facing slopes with duplex soils of ironstone gravel over a clay sub-soil. A number of trellis systems are used through the vineyard. The cool nights and long, slow ripening periods typical of the Frankland region allow maximum flavour development while maintaining the distinctive vibrant acidity for which rieslings from this region are renowned.
Grapes are pressed immediately on arrival at the winery with the juice left to settle in tank overnight before being racked. The wine was then fermented in tanks at low temperatures (less than 14°C) over 12 weeks with minimal intervention from their winemakers in order to obtain the purest expression of the pristine, organically grown fruit from these estate vineyards. The wine is then left on its fermentation lees for five months prior to bottling.
"It has quite a bit of texture with its chalky mouthfeel, and also a fair amount of bathroom perfume and spicy peppery flavours. Lime, mouth perfume, slightly jagged, but shapely acidity, and a cranking savoury quinine laced finish. It has plenty of character. 91 points." -- Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Frankland Estate Chardonnay
Frankland Estate produces limited quantities of chardonnay, sourced from low-yielding Mendoza Clone vines in the Isolation Ridge vineyard. This clone of chardonnay is renowned for its millerandage or hen and chicken combination of large and small berries in the same bunch. This results in low yields, especially where the proportion of small berries is high and, typically, produces highly concentrated flavours. In recent vintages with the aim of making their chardonnay fresher and tighter focused they have carried out extensive trials of earlier picking dates, more careful fruit selection criteria and the use of larger barrels for oak treatment. The earlier picking dates are reflected in a more tightly focused, firmer-structured wine with higher natural acidity but no less intensity or complexity in fruit flavour. Their trials with larger barrels allowed the wine to obtain the textural benefits of oak treatment without too much oak flavour into the wine. The result is an elegant, complex wine with peach, nectarine and grapefruit flavours supported by refreshing natural acidity and subtle oak.
The fruit is lightly pressed into stainless steel tanks and allowed to settle for 24 hours. The juice is then racked off its heavy lees to 500litre French barrels for wild yeast fermentation. Some barrel stirring through fermentation and post fermentation occurred resulting in a wine with complexity and individuality. The wine was transferred out of barrel after 9 months on lees before being bottled.
Lifted cedar toastiness complements the grapefruit and lemon notes. Nutty hints underlying a restrained spice note. Lively citrus zest on the front palate. Lifted citrus, tangerine and stone fruit notes follow a complex mid palate with lovely creamy width. The acidity is racy and mouth coating giving the wine a lovely length and focus. A complex wine showing both restraint and finesse with balanced acidity keeping the wine focused achieving good length.
Frankland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Caberent Sauvignon (90%) Malbec (7%) and Cabernet Franc (3%).
Of the red wine varieties grown in the Isolation Ridge Vineyard the evidence suggests Isolation ridge Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the most sensitive to the vineyard environment. This is reflected in wines with distinctive earthy, mineral qualities and rich, supple textured flavours.
Fruit for this wine was sourced from mature vines in the Isolation Ridge vineyard at Frankland Estate. The vineyard sits on an undulating northern and eastern facing slope on ancient duplex soils of gravel and loam over a clay sub-soil. The vines are trained on a Scott Henry trellis system to enhance sunlight penetration of the canopy and optimize ripening conditions.
This wine was fermented as long and slowly as possible, at temperatures not exceeding 30°C in open pot fermentation tanks that allowed the cap to be worked by plunging and gently pumping over. An extended maceration period allowed optimal colour, flavour and tannin extraction. It was aged in 500 litre French oak puncheons, this contributing textural complexity without compromising the opulent natural fruit flavours of the wine.
It shows concentrated lifted aromas of blueberry, ripe plum and vanilla. Cedar from oak ageing, with an earthy savoury character flowing through. The palate shows intense flavours of red currants, plums and spice. These flavours are complemented by savoury black olive complexity. Palate shows balance with soft grain tannin finish. An elegant, stylish and tightly-knit wine that unfolds to reveal opulent fruit flavours with savoury undertones and the dusty, earthy character that distinguishes Frankland Estate wines.
“Good hue; an autocratic cabernet demanding that it should be taken on its own terms; black fruits, bramble and persistent tannins, all true varietal markers. 95 points.” — James Halliday. Australian Wine Companion