Highlights: Two from Vasse Felix in Margaret River, Australia

I was really impressed by this pair of wines. Australia’s Margaret River is an important wine region, and its specialities are two varieties that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be found together: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I quite like this.

Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2019 Margaret River, Australia
13% alcohol. This is Vasse Felix’s Premier Chardonnay, made every year since 1990. Predominantly GinGin clone, from vineyards located in Wilyabrup and Wallcliffe. Mostly hand harvest, whole bunch pressed and straight to small French oak without settling for wild ferment. It has a really aromatic nose with some mealy, spicy lemony fruit with lovely tension and some mineral notes. The palate has texture, restraint and some wonderful spicy citrus fruit with lovely tension, as well as a hint of pear and peach richness, and a touch of pineapple. Such a complete, well-balanced Chardonnay with layers of flavour and potential for development. Just beautiful. 94/100 (£25 Harvey Nichols, Fareham Wine Cellar, Specialist Cellars, Vinvm, Latitude Wines, Soho Wine Supply, Frazier’s, Fortnum & Mason)

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Margaret River, Australia
14.5% alcohol. Vasse Felix made their first Cabernet Sauvignon in Margaret River in 1972, from the vines regional pioneer Tom Cullity planted in 1967. This is a mass selection from the Houghton Vineyard in Swan Valley, and the vines are planted in Vasse Felix’s Home Vineyard in Wilyabrup. Soils are gravel-loam over clay. Wild ferment with extended maceration, then basket pressed. Wonderful aromatics of blackcurrant bud, blackberries and some spicy, savoury twist with notes of gravel and crushed rocks. The palate shows a lovely tension between the sweet blackcurrant and berry fruits, and the savoury gravelly characters with some grippy tannins. There’s a subtle hint of mint, too, with really restrained yet concentrated blackcurrant fruit at the core. Really fine, structured and with potential for development. 94/100 (£30 Direct Wine, Harvey Nichols, Australian Wines Online, Bonafide Wines, Vinvm. Ltd, Wine Direct, Connolly’s Wine Merchant, Averys, Laithwaites, The Secret Cellar)

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