Gourmet Traveller Wine is the Australian Wine Industry's leading journal of analysis and review. In the December/January edition, wine writer Mike Bennie writes about Frankland Estate in his article, 'Constant Evolution'.
Here's the article in full:
"Often my gaze is drawn to the new and shiny when researching Wines To Watch. That being said, it's also great to look at those producers who seem to tirelessly finetune, evolve and improve their established wine styles, elevating an existing offering.
Frankland Estate has been front of mind for their continuing quest to raise their already high bar. Visits to Great Southern and time spent with winemakers Hunter Smith and Brian Kent and viticulturist Elizabeth Smith have cemented my opinion that Frankland Estate is one of Australia's greatest wine producers with a thirst for excellence. That the wine offering is underpinned by the pioneering work and vision of founders Judi Cullam and Barrie Smith only enhances the potency of Frankland Estate's wines.
The focus on riesling is, of course, at the forefront of any conversation about Frankland Estate. Established vineyards and considered single-site offerings have contributed to Frankland Estate's fame. They continue to craft wines that not only reflect their unique patches of Great Southern, but show that Australia produces wines to match the best of any riesling-producing nation.
Not often talked about is the shift to organic farming that started in 2005, leading to certification in 2010. The vineyards have never been healthier or producing higher quality fruit.
The 2016 harvest was challenging but resulting wines reflect judicious work in vineyard and a steady, experienced hand in the winery. The 2016 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling is at its scintillating, tense best. The single-vineyard offering from 2016 is a pure, driven white of citrus and green apple perfume and flavours. It's a long, fine and energetic riesling. There's argument that the wine might not cellar as long as previous releases, a touch of extra juiciness appears here, but you'll be fine for the medium term.
It's always a treat to taste riesling from the Isolation Ridge vineyard alongside Poison Hill's single-vineyard expression. 2016 Frankland Estate Poison Hill Riesling, like the Isolation Ridge, shows some extra width and juiciness, but not without delivering the bustling, flint and talc-like mineral characters that are typically found in the wine. It's heady in frangipani floral notes, green apple and exotic citrus character. The palate is set to green melon and white flesh stone-fruit flavours, but they are leaner rather than ripe. It finishes with a pleasing, squeaky-textured pucker.
For an estate-wide expression, 2017 Frankland Estate Riesling offers quality and value hand-in-hand. It's a limey, bright riesling of zingy acidity and crunchy texture. The perfume is voluminous in Thai spice, mixed citrus character and dried apple scents. The palate is bracing with its citrus tang, but finishes with a pool of gently sweet, mouth-filling fruitiness. It's one of those summery whites that is best suited to a deep chill and consumed while your legs are dangling in a swimming pool.
The 2017 Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Riesling is typically seen in supermarket retailers rather than on the shelves of independent bottle shops and fine dining restaurants, but it is an utter bargain. It's a wine built around a more loose-knit, juicy profile, rather than the inward concentration and sleek lines of the single-vineyard and estate releases. It's pretty with its floral, sweet citrus and lemon barley water scents. On the palate there is lemon barley water with tangy green apple acidity underlying. Such easy drinking.
Frankland Estate is to be revered and celebrated in equal measure. Quietly going about its work, it continues to delight and surprise with these latest releases."