SmithCullam Riesling 2015


This kabinett style riesling (containing 30 grams of residual sugar) is made from select low yielding vines within the Isolation Ridge vineyard. The conditions to make this wine do not occur every year. Elevated levels of acidity leading up to harvest allow the fruit to be harvested in clean optimal condition. a very cold fermentation is undertaken in 1000 litre French oak foudre. A long fermentation period is finished early leaving some residual sugar to give optimal balance. This allows the wine to show its true generosity and intensity of flavour.


The SmithCullam Riesling 2015, a kabinett style Riesling (containing 30 grams of residual sugar) is produced from low yielding vines within the Isolation Ridge vineyard, and forms a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  Conditions to produce this Riesling do not occur every year, as elevated levels of acidity leading up to harvest allow for the fruit to be harvested in clean, optimal conditions. The very long and cold fermentation process is undertaken in 1000 litre French Oak foudre, and is completed early to allow for some residual sugar to balance out the palate. The process truly allows the wine to shine, showcasing its abundance of intense flavours.

Tasting Notes

Download 2015 tasting notes

Additional information




2015 – A wet spring provided good vine growth and vigour in the early part of the season followed by dry conditions from December through to harvest in March.


Pale straw/golden with green highlights.


Lifted aromas of exotic spice with delicate fresh lime, guava and herb characters underpinned by a wet ironstone chalky flintiness.


Delicate and light on the front palate with a mouth-watering texture that flows the length of the palate. The wine opens up with a zesty lime mandarin rind character with a fine acid tang. There is a mix of ironstone flint and spice running the length of the palate, finishing with a hit of racy acidity and an off dry tension. Impeccable balance of sweetness and acidity leading to a pristine finish.


A complex, beautifully balanced combination of fruit intensity, sweetness, acidity and alcohol resulting in a wine of exceptional charm and poise. The 12 grams per litre of residual sugar is counterbalanced by the refreshing varietal acidity of the Geisenheim clone; resulting in an ‘off-dry’ elegant wine that is fragrant, delicate yet achieving presence.


Riesling 100%


The Isolation Ridge vineyard at Frankland Estate is now farmed using organic viticultural practices resulting in greater depth and concentration to our wines. The vineyard sits on an undulating northern and eastern facing slope on ancient duplex soils of gravel and loam over a clay sub-soil. Fruit for this wine was sourced from Geisenheim clone Riesling vines planted in 1988. This clone is renowned for retaining high levels of acidity throughout the vintage, this providing a natural counterbalance to the residual sweetness in this wine.


Handpicked when ripe in the early morning and whole-bunch pressed for fermentation in 1000 litre French oak ‘foudre’ over 4 weeks. Towards the end of fermentation, when the ideal balance of sugar, fruit weight and acidity had been achieved, the wine was chilled to arrest fermentation.

1 review for SmithCullam Riesling 2015

  1. 96 pts

    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion

    2017 Edition

    Vintage: 2015

    “Has well and truly established itself in the wine community; the finish is a magical blend of flint and fruit, the residual sugar perfectly balanced by titratable acidity; great length.”

    95 pts

    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion

    2015 Edition

    Vintage: 2013

    “A very highly regarded off-dry riesling, this year more in the Rheingau style than that of the Mosel Valley, the amount of residual sugar largely shaded by the acidity; that said, both the length and balance are very good, and it would be a sacrilege to drink any more than a bottle until 3 or 4 years down the track, and preferably far longer than that. The points are for the wine as it is today, not as it will be once it has learned to walk.”

    91+ pts

    Lisa Perrotti-Brown

    August 2014

    Vintage: 2013

    “The 2013 Smith Cullam Riesling reveals a gorgeous perfume of frangipani, exotic spices and lime blossoms amid suggestions of mandarin peel and chopped herbs. Light-bodied and off-dry, it packs the citrus and spice flavors into an elegant package before finishing with great persistence. Drink it now to 2023+.”

    96 pts

    James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2014


    Vintage: 2012

    “Only 9g/L of residual sugar, yet the wine has remarkable length and balance, acidity more obvious than that touch of sweetness. The result is a wine unique to Frankland Estate, which has adopted European philosophy but used its (Frankland Estate’s) own model.”


    John Lewis – Newcastle Herald

    March 2 2013

    Vintage: 2012

    “From Western Australia’s Frankland River area, this fine riesling is named in honour of Frankland’s founders Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam, the parents of managing director Hunter Smith. Vibrant kiwifruit flavour shows on the front palate and the middle palate adds lime zest, sherbet and subtle leatherwood honey characters.”

    94 pts

    Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Age – Uncorked

    March 26 2013

    Vintage: 2012

    “The estate’s top wine toys with sweetness, yet it has flinty, savoury appeal, enhanced via old oak. Lime-sherbet characters have a steely backbone, peachy depth, vibrant flavour and a long finish.”

    95 pts

    Wine Review Online (USA) – Michael Franz

    August 6 2013

    Vintage: 2012

    “This rare wine (only 600 bottles made) is striking for its quality and also a departure from the general stylistic profile of the producer’s rieslings. It is quite notably sweeter than the others, but that fact could be terribly misleading if taken out of context, for two reasons: The other rieslings are among the driest-seeming in the world, and this wine will barely taste sweet at all to most who try it. With only 9 grams per litre of residual sugar, this would pass muster as a dry wine under German wine law, and with a very high 8.9 grams per litre of total acidity, the sugar comes across entirely as fruit flavour, and very fresh flavour at that. Complex aromas are very appealing, but it is the flavours and finish of the wine that really make it a standout, with stone fruit and citrus flavours and terrific tension between subtle sweetness and energetic acidity keeping everything in perfect balance through the 30 second-long finish. Expensive, one must admit, but undeniably superb.”

    91 pts

    Wine Enthusiast – Joe Czerwinski

    September 2013

    Vintage: 2012

    “The SmithCullam riesling is made in a large French oak cask in the off-dry style. The 2012 is higher in alcohol than the 2011, yet also seems sweeter…”


    The West Weekend Ray Jordan

    February 18-19 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “This hand-picked wine made from a block of 20-year-old Geisenheim clone riesling is an off-dry style with a small amount of balanced residual sugar. The fruit intensity and the fine acid retain the focus and never allow it to be considered too sweet. It has a lovely mouth feel and persistence, with a clean purity that is most appealing. Perfect with chilli crab.”


    Gary Walsh – The Wine Front –

    March 1 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “Has a dab of residual sugar (from memory around 15g/L) to soften that Great Southern blow. Works to great effect. Fresh cut Granny Smith apple, lime, gentle spice and talc and zingy, almost electric, citrus acidity and pulpy pith texture and flavour. Theres mineral and subtle petrol notes and an interesting savoury dimension thats not found so often in local Riesling. Bright and long squeezed lemon finish. Quite tart but so zing zingy and energetic. Different and extremely good.”


    The Weekend Australian Magazine – James Halliday

    March 4 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “Light, positive straw green; made it off-dry mode, with 19g/l of residual sugar. Just when you think this is merely another Mosel copycat, the astonishing drive and intensity of the palate makes the half-formed words describing the bouquet completely irrelevant. It has perfect line, length and balance. A worthy flagship for Frankland Estate.”

    Jane Faulkner – The Age

    March 12 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “DRY riesling goes well with roast pork, but those with residual sugar – as in a German kabinett-style – are better. Trust me. Frankland Estates flagship riesling – SmithCullam – is a case in point. On its own, a really beautiful drink, a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity that turns it into a more complex and textural wine. It’s quite savoury, although there are citrus notes, a chalky, wet-pebble complexity, then a long finish. Extraordinary, with at least another decade ahead of it. Drink with rolled pork loin stuffed with prunes.”

    Mike Bennie The Wine Front

    May 25 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “Smoky aromas overlaid on lemon/lime cordial. Lots of detail here. Sandalwood spice, touch of bathroom talc, lavender. Pretty. Soft in texture, pillowy almost, great natural flavour of fruit with citrus and apples, but then a orange zest acidity to freshen things up and a fine, steely finish. A lot of individuality here.”

    97 pts

    James Halliday – Australian Wine Companion 2013

    Vintage: 2011

    “Light, positive straw-green; made in off-dry mode, with 19 g/l of residual sugar. Just when you think this is merely another Mosel copycat, the astonishing drive and intensity of the palate makes the half-formed words describing the bouquet completely irrelevant. It demonstrates how great riesling (more than any other variety with the possible exception of semillion) is made in the vineyard.”

    92 pts – Lisa Perrotti-Brown

    August 2012

    Vintage: 2011

    “The 2011 Riesling is a more earthy, savoury style of riesling giving herbal and crushed stone notes over hints of apple, fresh pears and bread. Light-bodied and crisp in the mouth, it has a great core of apple and pear flavours with a detectable touch of residual sugar and a very long finish. Approachable now, it should cellar to 2020+.”

    92 pts

    Wine Enthusiast – Jor Czerwinski

    September 2013

    Vintage: 2011

    “This is a cask-reared, slightly off-dry Riesling fermented with indigenous yeasts that’s like no other Aussie Riesling. Some funky mushroom-y, unami-like notes accent ripe apple and nectarine flavors, and then a squirt of lime follows on the bright, lengthy finish. Despite its relatively low alcohol, the wine is richly-textured and possesses ample weight on the palate”

    95 pts

    Gary Walsh – The Wine Front

    Jan 31 2011

    Vintage: 2010

    “Rarely do I find Australian off-dry styles (this has around 27g/L) successful, but heres one that hits the nail on the head. Its Germanic in style, but Australian too. I had a couple of glasses with Alaskan king crab dressed with lime mayonnaise and phwwwoooarr it was good, not that I am one to make too much of a fuss of food and wine matching.

    Hint of sulphide, flint, juicy lime and green mango, crunchy green apple and the barest suggestion of petrol (as a positive mineral element). Offers a gently textured mouth-feel where a strong spine of minerally acid is neatly offset and calmed by a perfectly measured dose of residual sugar. Theres a little bit of spice in the mix too, for added charm and interest. It flows along beautifully and feels clean and refreshing, especially so on the finish. Delicious. All that.”

    Louise Radman The Adelaide Magazine

    March 2011

    Vintage: 2010

    “An exotic beauty in classic kabinett style. Heady rose-petal and patchouli perfume, a sensual palate of sweet lime, cassia and lemon drops. Splendid opulence, acid balance and mouth-watering minerality from Isolation Ridge vineyard.”

    97 pts

    Nick Stock Sydney Morning Herald/The Melbourne Age Good Wiine Guide


    Vintage: 2010

    “It is an unexpected surprise, but given Frankland Estate is behind this, it should not be too great of an awakening. What we have here is Australias shining beacon of off-dry Riesling – This is a triumph. Fresh and lively on the nose, there are sparkling minerals and citrus, pith, peel and juice, lime and fresh peeled apples, a complex fragrance. The palate is seamlessly stretched along a playful acid/sugar exchange: it is full of pure and lively lime and apple flavour, with some hints of white peach and a meticulously shaped fade. Very long and stays bright. Really superb.”


    Australian Wine Companion – James Halliday


    Vintage: 2010

    “Tightly wound and pure lemon pith and lime bouquet, with accents of coriander and ginger; the palate reveals fresh-cut green apples, and the delicate touch of sweetness plays a perfect foil to the rapier-like acidity coiled beneath; long, supple and most definitely age worthy.”

    96/100; 10/10

    Australian Financial Review

    April 5 2012

    Vintage: 2010

    “Pure and piercing lime peel in here, but also something more primal: wet slate. And a sort of pure pork fat character that is found in much top-quality sweeter riesling. The palate is fabulous, full of crisp sweet pear and apple textures and flavours. This is delicate and sweet sapid, while the acid interleaves with the gentle sugar beautifully. This Frankland Estate Smith Cullam riesling is the finest example of the style I have tasted from Australia.”

    96 pts

    James Halliday – Australian Wine Companion


    Vintage: 2010

    “Tightly wound and pure lemon pith and lime bouquet, with accents of coriander and ginger; the palate reveals fresh-cut green apples, and the delicate touch of sweetness plays a perfect foil to the rapier-like acidity coiled beneath; long, supple and most definitely age worthy.”

    17 pts

    Jancis Robinson –

    March 13 2012

    Vintage: 2010

    “Very pale straw. Florally aromatic. Smelssa as though it is very light bodied. Just a sprinkle of sugar and very juicy/salivatory. Still very youthful and I think it would probably be a shame to drink it now. Delicate, feather light. As though it still has a considerable tertiary development to do. RS 19.8g/l.”

    95 pts

    Gourmet Traveller Wine – Australian Whites


    Vintage: 2008

    “The fragrance is captivating: elusive and subtle, with a mineral delicacy. The palate is on the sweeter side but it is softer and less mouth-watering than some. It has soft but refreshing acidity. Lovely wine.”

    90 pts

    Josh Raynolds/Steve Tanzer – International Wine Cellar

    September/October 2009

    Vintage: 2008

    “(27 grams of residual sugar) Pale green-gold. Highly aromatic bouquet of lime, lemon custard, melon and musky mango skin. Sappy and energetic, offering lively citrus and exotic fruit flavors and a subtle underpinning of minerality. Round and supple on the finish, leaving behind tangy, refreshingly bitter citrus zest notes. This would go well with Thai seafood dishes.”


    Tyson Stelzer – Clear About Wine

    May 2010

    Vintage: 2008

    “Frankland Estate is the home of Western Australias finest Riesling. Inspired by the great Rieslings of Germany and Austria featured at the Estates Biannual International Riesling Tasting, this is a completely new take on Frankland Riesling. An off-dry style, wild-yeast fermented in large, old oak vats prior to ageing on lees. The result is richly flavoured with mandarin, ginger and baked apple fruit which finds impeccable balance between its sweetness and its finely structured acidity.”

    Angus Hughson The Australian Wish Magazine

    November 2010

    Vintage: 2008

    “Part of the growing trend towards a more Germanic style of riesling with balanced sweetness, this is a complex multi-layered wine with floral fruit given some attractive palate richness by ferment in old French oak. Subtle sweetness is matched by bracing acidity, making for a refreshing and more-ish package.”

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