There tends to be an endless fascination with all things new and the wine industry is no exception to this trend.
However, I find that the wines that most often impress me have history behind them, either in the age of the vineyard or the expertise of the winemaking team.
Frankland Estate, located in the Frankland River sub-region of the Great Southern in Western Australia, have years of experience under their belt, making wine from established cool-climate vineyards. Their wines are expressive, captivating and well-deserving of attention.
Established by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam in 1988, Frankland Estate is a family owned family operation that now involves their children Hunter, Elizabeth and winemaker son-in-law Brian Kent.
Sustainable viticulture is central to their wine producing philosophy, and they have had organic certification since 2009.
Vineyard expression, fruit purity and sense-of-place are hallmarks of their style. They are true cool-climate wines with intense flavours, executed with reserve and care.
There are four wines within the Frankland Estate range: riesling, chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. Then there’s the Single Vineyard range which includes a riesling and shiraz from the Isolation Ridge vineyard and a riesling from the Poison Hill vineyard. Their premium selection includes Olmo’s Reward, a blend of traditional Bordeaux varieties, and SmithCullam, which includes a shiraz and off-dry riesling. Rocky Gully is their entry level brand.
Listed below are tasting notes on a selection of their wines, all of which have charmed me.
2015 Frankland Estate Poison Hill Riesling
Sourced from the 3ha Poison Hill plot, a vineyard that has white clay and weathered quartz soils. The wine has an extraordinary aroma – dainty, aromatic, pure and perfect. Fresh sweet-lemon characters and subtle blossom notes. Intensely flavoured and long. Completely and utterly divine. Limited quantities are available. (AUD $40 – 93 points)
2015 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling
Tight and reserved; minerally and dry with intense lime characters. The defined high acidity, coiled with the intense flavours, gives the wine great drive. The longer the wine is open, the better it gets. An extremely appealing wine. (AUD $40 – 93 points)
2015 Frankland Estate SmithCullam Riesling
Sourced from select parcels from the Isolation Ridge vineyard. Certified organic viticulture and winemaking. Hand-picked fruit, whole-bunch pressed and slow fermentation in 1000L French foudre. Alcohol of 11.5%. Pure aromatics with an intense limey palate plus integrated sweetness. The drive and intensity make it rather sensational. Consider the residual sugar when choosing a food match – prawns with a Vietnamese green papaya salad would be sublime. (AUD $50 – 95 points)
2016 Frankland Estate Riesling
This wine is the epitome of purity. Fragrant and ethereal, it has pitch-perfect floral and citrus notes. The palate has great harmony, and I adore the mid-palate sweet lime flavours. Post fermentation lees ageing has added gentle texture and weight. Simply stunning. (AUD $28 – 93 points)
2015 Frankland Estate Shiraz
Light, spicy and fragrant. Crushed green peppercorns, red rose petals and raspberries. The palate is red fruited and concentrated, though is packaged into a medium-bodied palate. Beautiful energy and expression. Youthful and bright. Lovely. (AUD $28 – 90 points)
2014 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz
Simple gorgeous purity. Wafting strawberry aromatics mingled with a little vanilla and spice. The palate is ripe and supple, firmly in the red fruit domain, with homemade strawberry jam and poached cherry flavours. Open, soft and agreeable. (AUD $40 – 89 points)