Matt Gant is an Australian winemaker known for his brand First Drop, which he made for 15 years before selling his half of the business in 2021. He’s also a partner in a Douro project, Quinta da Pedra Alta, which I’ve reviewed here. Now he has a new venture in Margaret River, Western Australia, called Gant & Co.
Matt’s wife Claudia’s father, Graham Lloyd, planted a vineyard in Karridale, in the south of the Margaret River region, back in 1998. It’s 25 hectares in all, and half is planted to six clones of Chardonnay (Gin Gin, 5, 95, 96, 76, 277), with smaller plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Arneis, and Albarino. There are also small plantings (5%) of reds: Cabernet Sauvignon (4 clones – 125, M191, M337, Houghton), Merlot, Malbec and Touriga Nacional.
Claudia worked here but then travelled to the Barossa, and while working at St Hallett she met Matt. They travelled widely, but then returned to Australia in 2011 to start a family, and although they were based in Margaret River, Matt split his time between here and the Barossa while he was still involved in First Drop. Now he’s making wines from the Karridale vineyard, and I was happy to have a look at them.
Gant & Co Sur Lie Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. 70% Semillon (Block 6), 30% Sauvignon Blanc (Block 13). 12 h skin contact. Barrel fermented and matured sur lie for 9 months. This is bright and textural with lovely lime, mandarin and cherry fruit, with a nice acid streak as well as pure fruit. Covers the whole flavour spectrum, with some richer notes, and a chalky, mineral edge to the bright, juicy fruit. Great balance here. 91/100
Gant & Co Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. Block 13. Barrel fermented and matured sur lie for 9 months. There’s just a hint of oak here, which meshes well with the fruit, as so often happens with oaked Sauvignon. Slightly smoky, grapefruit notes with a hint of acacia and sandalwood, and lots of ripe pear and lime as well as some carraway seed. Bright like a margarita on the finish, but there’s some breadth and depth on the mid-palate. Such a stylish take on a classic style. 93/100
Gant & Co Chardonnay 2021 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. This is really focused and lively with intense pear and pineapple fruit, as well as a touch of green apple. There’s some oak in the mix adding some spiciness, but the core here is crisp lime and pineapple, with lots of acidity keeping the richer flavours in good focus. 93/100
Gant & Co Chardonnay 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. 56% Clone 95/96 (Blk 12); 44% Gin Gin (Blk 1 and 3). Barrel fermented and matured sur lie for 9 months. Great balance to this wine which shows bright pear, citrus and white peach fruit with some nut and spice from subtle oak. Shows nice restraint with a slight savouriness adding a counterpart to the vivid fruit. Restraint and balance are the keywords here. 91/100
Gant & Co 467 Twenty Four Rd Blk 12 Chardonnay 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. Blk 12 was planted with Clone 95 in 2003 with an E/W orientation. Barrel fermented in French oak puncheons (50% new) and barriques and matured sur lie for 9 months. Understated, fine and quite elegant with a touch of vanilla and peat smoke, as well as a core of sweet pear and white peach fruit. Complex and layered, but not overly concentrated, with space in the mix for everything to have its place. Fine nuts and even a touch of honey, too. 92/100
Gant & Co 467 Twenty Four Rd Blk 3 Chardonnay 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. Blk 3 was planted with Gin Gin Clone in 1998 with a N/S orientation. Barrel fermented in French oak barriques (33% new) and matured sur lie for 9 months. Juicy, bright and vivid with some lime notes as well as a bit of apple and pear richness. There’s some oak influence, too, with cashew and cedar spice framing the bright fruit. Fresh, quite taut and slightly mineral with a crystalline edge to the finely spiced fruit. Could develop in interesting ways. 93/100
Gant & Co Nouveau 2022 Margaret River, Australia
11% alcohol. An unusual blend of Semillon, Merlot and Muscat: Matt’s version of a palhete. 58% Semillon (Block 6), 38% Merlot (Block 3B), 4% Muscat (Block 14). 100% whole bunch co-ferment. 4 months sur lie in demi-muid. Rose and hibiscus floral notes with some crunchy pomegranate and cherry fruit, rather biting on the finish, and even some notes of turmeric. So interesting and vital with red fruits and juicy acidity. A hybrid red and white with an oriental-style spicy twist. 92/100
Gant & Co Jeune 2022 Margaret River, Australia
12.5% alcohol. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. “Dry grown ‘Loire inspired’ red blend meets ‘luncheon claret’”. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon (Block 8) 38% Malbec (Block 9) 12% Merlot (Block 3B). 10 months sur lie in demi-muid and barriques. Sweetly aromatic with some strawberry, raspberry jam and a hint of cinnamon. The palate is juicy and ripe with sweet strawberry character. Very approachable with a nice spicy edge and a touch of bitter orange peel. 90/100
UK importer 266 Wines https://266wines.co.uk/about/