“These two wines from our certified-organic Isolation Ridge Vineyard continue to typify what we are about at Frankland Estate. “They encapsulate a journey of generational farming and a commitment to sustainability in every aspect of viticulture and winemaking.
“Riesling and Syrah have been a parallel focus and we hope the results speak for themselves. “We offer them as singular wines that reflect a thoughtful, passionate approach to the Isolation Ridge site.
“Our crusade for the last eight-odd years – and especially since our 2015 release – has been Riesling ripeness levels that give optimal texture and flavour. We continue to modestly push ahead with this, in step with what Isolation Ridge allows us.
“With Syrah, the combination of vine age with natural balance of soil, vine and wine allows the ferrous nature of Isolation Ridge to come more to the fore. We’re also thinking beyond straight Syrah to reveal how new clones, plus the region’s oldest planting of Mourvèdre, elevate this wine.” – Hunter Smith
The 2021 harvest will be remembered for the perfect spring conditions leading into the ripening period. With the return to a “normal” picking date (starting on 19th March), we harvested excellent white grapes – gratefully accepting generous cropping levels after two small vintages in 2019 and 2020. With bunch sizes and volumes back to normal levels we saw ripening slowly evolve and build some wonderful fruit flavour and concentration. Thus it’s a very exciting release.
With the vines now 33 years old and with our 13th certified-organic vintage under our belt, we continue to see the subtle evolution of Isolation Ridge Vineyard with ever-increasing clarity of site pushing to the foreground. This is helped no doubt by our confidence that doing the absolute minimum of intervention in the Isolation Ridge Vineyard will, while expressing any given vintage, reflect typicity of site.
In the winery we do small ferments (many are 1,000 litres or less) with an increasing focus on indigenous yeast and barrel ferment, combined with extended lees maturation on all parcels through to November. These numerous small ferments allow complexity in the resulting wine through the diversity of yeasts, ferments and maturation vessels. We bottled the wine in mid-December and allowed it time in bottle until release in May 2022. – Hunter Smith, Frankland Estate
Sandalwood, preserved citrus, black tea leaves and jasmine seamlessly merge into the more expected Frankland River Riesling characters of lemon zest, green apple skins and chalk. In the mouth, the acidity is like a coiled spring, cushioned by voluminous fruit padding on all sides. This is svelte and streamlined, but it has presence and viscosity, too. There is subtle structural integrity and a spool of lingering flavour through the finish … what a superb wine. This is generous, but it’s tense and taut too… disguised austerity. Slatey.97 points. Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion
Light straw-yellow colour. Pungent passionfruit and lychee aromas, cool-grown aromas, while the palate is concentrated, just off-dry and tangy with quite brisk acidity and again a lot of tropical, passionfruity flavours. There’s a lick of tannin, which brings a touch of bitterness that all lingers on the very long aftertaste. Very attractive and a little bottle-age might bring more fluency. It certainly has intensity and powerful fruit.94 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Flavour in the acidity. That’s what it’s all about here. The lines are very straight and ultra direct but they are more than that; they are conduits. Lime, talc, mandarin and florals with something almost jube in the centre of the palate there. A trail of gun smoke enters the aftertaste. This is excellent.94 points. Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
2020 was a very small cropping year due to the drier season. Some 600 dozen bottles were produced following rigorous selection. But once more we can be confident that our organic approach gives the vines greater strength and ability to perform in such years. Though dry, temperatures stayed modest through the growing season. The resulting wine has good natural vibrancy and balance.
A review of clonal material some years ago results in this wine being: 51.6% Houghton Selection Syrah; 42% clone 470 Syrah; 4.4% Viognier; and 2% Mourvèdre. The Houghton Selection hails from from Houghton’s Frankland River vineyard on the Roche family property. As we understand it, it was a considered selection of modest-cropping vines from the Houghton vineyard in the Swan Valley. Viognier is added into the ferments of our best Syrah parcels at about 5% total must weight. While grown separately it is co-fermented and harvested with the Syrah – so it’s usually pretty ripe. Mourvèdre is fermented separately and used for its tannin profile and additional earthy, ferrous notes. We feel this variety likes these ironstone soils, and it’s come into its own as the vines mature. Clone 174 also grows on Isolation Ridge but has not been included as yet for Isolation Ridge Syrah.
The wine is matured in large-format foudre (3,500 litres), which heightens the wine’s brightness and typicity. Small parcels of the fruit are picked and fermented as 100% whole bunches. These make up 6% of this wine. Shallow open-pot ferments are kept relatively cool to provide calculated extraction of tannin with gentle plunging through the fermentation period. We’re looking to compose Syrah that is aromatic, elegant and complex. – Hunter Smith
Very deep, bold red/purple colour, bright and youthful. The bouquet is fruit-sweet and deliciously appealing, sweetly jammy and there’s possibly some whole-bunch character as well, stylishly intertwined. The palate is again seductively fruit-sweet and perfumed, with floral notes as well as red and blue fruits, the tannins supple and well balanced with the other components. It’s already very approachable and supple, a delicious young, evidently cool-climate, Shiraz. Long finish and very elegant. A gorgeous wine.95 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Spicy, perfumed, white flower and Turkish apricot, blackberry and liquorice. Medium-bodied, supple and ripe, with fine plum skin tannin and flavour, a little meatiness and gentle chew, Christmas cake and fragrance, fine emery board tannin and sweet black berries on a long finish. Svelte, yet rich. Very good.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front