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2012 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Chardonnay, Frankland River
Frankland Estate was established by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam in 1988. It is located in the Frankland River district, a cool climate region about 200km inland from the South West Coast of Western Australia. The Isolation Ridge vineyard was developed on part of a 3000 acre property in the Frankland River region on which the family has run a wool growing enterprise since 1974.
The vineyard follows organic production techniques, being one of the most isolated regions of viticulture in Western Australia with typical seasons of long dry summers and cold wet winters, disease pressure is very low. The vines are dry farmed, which enables the regional expression and variation due to seasons to be outwardly expressed in the wine, making them individual to Frankland Estate. Furthermore low yields enable the flavours of the grapes to develop fully.
The accolades are telling: James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2011 rated Frankland Estate as a 5-star winery and in top 3% of Australian wine producers, with four of its wines being rated 95 points and higher and three wines being listed in the “best of the best” by variety.
Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam remain closely involved in every aspect of the vineyard and winery operations. They share ultimate responsibility for winemaking as well as for the company's overall management and direction.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
The Frankland River wine district, a cool-climate region about 200km inland from the South West Coast of Western Australia. The wines from Frankland are considered some of the best in Australia, not least because of the pristine grape-growing conditions unique to the area.
This marvellous environment is particularly conducive to producing top-quality Shiraz (or Syrah), some of which are touted as rivals to the great wines of the Rhône in France, while the unusual, cool climate allows for elegant, crisp white wines – often a rarity in such a hot continent.
Recommended Producers: Frankland Estate, Larry Cherubino.
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