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2011 Frankland Estate, Isolation Ridge Shiraz, Frankland River (stelvin)
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.
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.
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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