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News

2018: AN EXCELLENT CHARDONNAY VINTAGE!

The Winery has been a bustling hub of activity as we steadily progress through vintage of the white varieties.

In late February, we picked the last of the Home Vineyard Chardonnay, with some fruit still to come from our Gnarawary and Karridale vineyards. Although yields have been down, the quality of Chardonnay has been exceptional this year, with the combination of slightly higher sugar and strong acidity promising to deliver wines of power.

Harvest of the white varieties continues as we shift our focus to our southern Margaret River vineyards. It appears that we will have quite a traditional transition from white to red varieties this year (no cross-over), with harvest of our red varieties likely to commence in a few weeks and continue well into April given the mild summer we have experienced.

Behind-the-scenes of vintage at Vasse Felix by Estate Sommelier, Evan

It has certainly been an experience for me, moving from one end of the Vasse Felix wine spectrum to the other. A typical day as Estate Sommelier involves analyzing, deconstructing and discussing Vasse Felix wines with Estate guests. In the winery however, the 12 hour day can involve anything from receiving and crushing fruit, transferring juice and taking ferment samples, to driving forklifts, washing barrels and becoming very closely acquainted with lees!

Although the pressure to get things right in the winery feels a lot higher, our ‘less is more’ approach works wonders, and a lot of the time, tiny tweaks and finessing is all that’s required to allow the natural beauty of the fruit characters to shine through.

Working closely with our core winery crew, in particular Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock and Senior Winemaker Mick Langridge, has allowed me to better understand and appreciate the complex processes that contribute to the final quality and style of our wines.

Experiencing the feel of a Vintage one day a week (without the drawback of a 72hr work week!) has been fantastic - the atmosphere reminds me of the Gourmet Escape or Easter period as experienced in the Estate Building. The upbeat spirit of the entire crew (a mixture of Americans, Canadians, Germans and Australians), the coffee and the winery’s music selection make vintage life all the sweeter!

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History

1967 - Dr Thomas Cullity had been trial planting vines in the South-West since 1965. Upon learning of this report, he spent around a year searching for the perfect site of “red gravel in redgum country, with clay about 18 inches below the surface.” Finally locating the ideal site, he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Riesling to establish the Vasse Felix vineyard; Margaret River's first and oldest vines.

 

1972 - THE FIRST WINES 
The first Vasse Felix - and Margaret River - wines are made included Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.

"In 1972, off a small crop, we produced a Riesling wine that created quite a stir at the Perth Show [it won a gold medal]... It was this wine and the subsequent publicity that brought Margaret River wines to the attention of the Australian public. We had similar success with the Cabernet Sauvignon in 1973." Dr Thomas Cullity.

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Vineyards

Vasse Felix is located in the Wilyabrup ‘sub-region’ of Margaret River. Vasse Felix vineyards are also located to the north of the region in Carbunup, and to the south, in Karridale. The vineyard sites have been selected for their unique topography, micro-climates and natural irrigation. The best suited grape varieties have been matched to each vineyard, and specific rows and blocks have been planted to correspond with topography and soil type.

 

WILYABRUP


Soils: Deep gravel loam soil over clay.
Unique Site Influences: Wilyabrup fruit is typified by its superb balance.

 

KARRIDALE

 

Soils: Sandy loam with a deep top soil over high calcium clay.
Unique Site Influences: Experiences a slightly cooler climate due to sea breezes off the Southern Ocean and increased cloud cover. This provides an extended ripening period for whites, and the fruit is characterised by more elevated perfume and higher natural acidity.

 

CARBUNUP


Soils: Deep red to pale sandy loam with gravel and clay in isolated areas.
Unique Site Influences: Carbunup receives slightly warmer temperatures through the growing season. Fruit is characteristically riper and richer in flavour.

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9 different wines with 39 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 James Halliday, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Rubicon 2016, the deep garnet-purple colored Cabernet Sauvignon gives up bold notions of crushed red and black currants, wild blueberries and blackberry preserves with touches of violets, dark chocolate, cardamom and bay leaves plus a hint of unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals great elegance and depth, with a beautiful line of finely grained tannins and amazing freshness, finishing long and layered.

5m 1d ago

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  14 wines 

CHATEAU MARGAUX 2017 / 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 2% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot/ 100% new oak. Red currants, succulent and intense, also sweet… great harmony and choral resonance… I realise I’ve drifted off in my own thoughts with this wine… the flavour lingers so. This is BDX, it is the best wine we’ve had today (this week/month etc) and it is the reason why we seek to make and drink better wine. Holy crapola.

9m 12d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  33 wines 

2018 Ornellaia /Ruby. Blackberries, anise, spices, detailed, fruit driven nose, intense. Floral high notes. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, liquorice, detailed and intense, bit high alcohol, long finish. 94p

1y 2m ago

 Julia Harding MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Henschke Hill of Grace 2004 / 100% Shiraz grapes from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early settlers in the mid-1800s and grown in the Eden Valley wine region. Matured in 100% new French (50%) and American (50%) hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling.
Slightly greyish but deep garnet. Intensely sweet dark cassis fruit plus some cedary leafy notes. Rich and smooth and really plush, generous and silky but also very moreish and juicy. pH 3.6, TA 5.7 g/l,

2y 7m ago

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  9 wines 

2014 Vasse Felix Tom Cullity, Margaret River, 99 points / “The red fruits shine here.  This is incredible. Raspberry, pomegranate, red apple skins, pink peppercorns, hints of strawberry, blackcurrant, mulberry, seaweed/nori (an injection of iodine, beetroot).  The tannins are polished, like whipped egg white: chewy and sumptuous.  The flavours extend through the palate and into the length.  Very very long.  I can write long after it is gone.  Alive.  Energy.  Doesn’t want to finish, it doesn’t want to let go.  It lingers.  Great depth of flavour.  Effortlessly long.  In fact… it needs the extra linger time just to make sure its covered all of its flavours and textures.  Super fine, powerful, long, structured and delicate.  Perfect.”


If this represents where Margaret River has come to, then we are indeed in a magnificent place.


To put this into perspective: Margaret River vintage charts are pretty bland – the range is very good to exceptional.  There are ‘typical’ years, ‘plush’ years’, ‘leaner’ years, ‘warmer’ years… but they’re all good.  They all age prodigiously.  The 86’s are still alive and kicking: not bad for a wine region which at the time, was trailblazing towards a brave new wine world.  In 2017, Margaret River celebrated its 50th year, and along with it, Vasse Felix, it’s 50th vintage.  2018 sees the release of the 2014 Tom Cullity.  Perhaps one of the best cabernets to come out of Australia. Perfect.  99 points (or 19.5pts).


80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot


(Slightly more Cab than the 2013, less Malbec, the same PV)


100% basket pressed / 100% whole berry ferment / 100% wild yeast / 24 days on skins / French oak barriques 62% new, 38% 1-4 year old, 18 months / Unfined


 

3y 1m ago

 Jamie Goode, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Château Latour 1961 / 98 points / A great chance to try a legendary wine. This bottle came from Hugh Johnson’s cellar, and it’s the most expensive wine on sampling at £175 a pour. It is still amazingly youthful looking and has a taut, perfumed nose of herbs, blackcurrant and spice. The palate is actually youthful, with spicy mineral notes and good acidity under the blackcurranty fruit. Fine, elegant and structured, this wine has real precision and focus, and isn’t yet fully mature. A remarkable experience: if I’d tasted it blind I would have said with was from the 1980s or 1990s. 98/100

3y 7m ago

 Ron Li Leung, Sommelier (Hong Kong SAR China)  tasted  6 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity 2013 / 98 points / Deep maroon with a brick and purple tint. Savoury to start with meaty mushroom, nori, salty sea breeze, graphite and spicy cedar notes. Opens beautifully with cherry pip, cassis, Christmas cake, orange rind, pot pourri and Australian forest floor. A refined, soft, elegant and almost creamy Cabernet style with sublime tannin and mouthfeel. The flavour is full, yet elevated and carries cherry, cassis, hints of cinotto, cedar and chocolate. It finishes juicy, while fine and dry.
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot
Vasse Felix, Margaret River’s founding wine estate, was established by Dr Thomas Brendan Cullity in 1967. Among his first plantings were Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec vines, from which he produced the estate’s first red wine. The TOM CULLITY descends from these original vines and represents the pinnacle of Vasse Felix. The inaugural release was in May 2017, coinciding with Vasse Felix’s 50th Anniversary. All fruit was grown in Vasse Felix’s Home Vineyard. Fruit parcels were picked in small blocks and fermented with 100% wild yeasts. 52% was static fermented and macerated on skins for more than 20 days. 48% was open fermented and macerated for 10-15 days on skins. The wine was fined with egg whites and racked before minimal filtration to bottle.

3y 11m ago

 Vasse Felix Winery  has news

2018: AN EXCELLENT CHARDONNAY VINTAGE! The Winery has been a bustling hub of activity as we stead  more ...

3y 11m ago

 Tim Pearson, Wine Merchant (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  59 wines 

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2010 Astralis is still quite primary eliciting aromas of black plums, blueberry compote and blackcurrant liqueur with a savory and baking spice undercurrent plus a fragrant whiff of violets. Very structured, fine and complex in the medium to full-bodied mouth, this wine is revealing much more than when I first tasted it a year ago and is now showing layer upon layer of black fruit preserves, mocha, toast and spices before finishing with great length.

4y 1m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  31 wines 

2009 Shea Willamette Valley Shea Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir:
Ruby. Red berries, fruity, rich, intense, oaky notes, not easy to see the grape influence here. Freshish acidity, ripe tannins, rich and ripe and then very oaky, edgy oaky on the palate, good length. 89points

4y 3m ago

 Colin Gaetjens, Wine Merchant (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  23 wines 

The Best Australian wines from 21st Century tasting.

4y 5m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Vasse Felix Winery . In a tasting of  27 wines 

“Alkon syyskauden uutuuksien osalta valkoviinit jättivät rieslingien johdolla raikkaan eloisan jälkimaun. Punaviinien suhteen uutuuksia leimasi tiukkuus, kuivakka luonne ja sulkeutuneisuus. Ottaen huomioon viinien korkeahkon hintatason +10 euroa, olisi viineiltä odottanut enemmän. Jotta näistä uutuuspunaviineistä voi nauttia enemmän tulee niiden käsittelyyn kiinnittää huomiota. Punaviinien maku paranee pitkillä dekantointiajoilla (minimi 4 tuntia). Sen ohella viinit pääsevät oikeuksiinsa ruoan seurassa. Eli punaista lihaa ja juustoja pöytään niin viinien maut asettuvat paremmin suuhun. Positiivisena asiana uutuusviineistä todettakoon riesling-tarjonnan monipuolistuminen. Hienoja viinejä niin aperitiiviksi kuin seurusteluun ja kaloille sekä äyriäisille! ”

7y 8m ago

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