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."
We look forward to it every year. And it seems many others do to.
In fact, this year we increased the number of diners to 140 and filled every space we have available on our Cellar Door verandah.
The annual 'Flowering of the Vine' event has become a tradition among many and it seems others are starting to hear more about why.
We even managed to do a quick pre-event renovation to expand the space and views from the Cellar Door - a welcome change to accommodate the extra numbers.
In 2017, we started out with a lovely 32 degree, sunny day and four museum SmithCullam Rieslings stretching across 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015 plus a sneak preview of the 2017 SmithCullam Riesling.
The food was prepared and curated by North Fremantle restaurant Habitué and Fin's Seafood shucked more than 30 dozen Smokey Bay Oysters to accompany our 2017 Frankland Estate Riesling and 2010 Isolation Ridge Vineyard Riesling.
You can view the full menu below.
To make the day a little more than just incredible food and delicious wine, we had the Shaky Reed Trio entertain the crowd with ragtime, blues and rockabilly music.
And many found it fun to play boules and finska on the lawn and the short, torrential shower did not dampen the day but brought some relief and a cool change.
It was a great day for all and we were sad to farewell so many who had travelled far and wide to be at Frankland Estate.
Next year we will be celebrating our 30 year anniversary so it will definitely be a 'Flowering of the Vine' lunch you won't want to miss.
Flowering of the Vine
11 November 2017
Menu by Habituè
Freshly Shucked Oysters with Mignonette Dressing
Fremantle Sardines with Basil Pesto & Yallingup Woodfired Bread
Farmhouse Chorizo with Roast Red Pepper & Potato Crisp
2017 Frankland Estate Riesling & 2010 Isolation Ridge Riesling
Crispy Shark Bay Prawn Pancake with Coriander, Vietnamese Mint & Bean Sprouts
2015 Frankland Estate Chardonnay
South West Ribeye with Wattle Seed Crust & Bush Tomato Chutney
Burnside Organic Farm Leafy Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and French Dressing
Phil's Sweet Potato with Macadamia Cream, Warrigal Greens, Samphire & Baby Spinach
2008 Olmo's Reward
Cheese Culture Cheese Selection
Affidelice Washed Rind / Ford Farm Cave Aged Cheddar / Colston Bassett Stilton
with Gourmandise Fig Bread
2015 Isolation Ridge Shiraz
Passionfruit Bavarois with Fresh Passion & Riesling Melons
Flowering is one of the most significant growth stages in the vineyard each season and we like to celebrate what we mark as the start of a new vintage, with our annual Flowering of the Vine event.
We'll be celebrating this milestone on the verandah of Frankland Estate this Saturday, 11 November 2017.
There are 140 people joining us this year, one of our biggest Flowering of the Vine events yet!
This long table lunch is the highlight of our spring season and features current release and museum wines paired with a custom-designed menu.
And we are excited to be offering attendees the chance to buy a fresh harvest of Frankland Estate honey from our own beehives.
We can't wait to share the day with so many of our loyal customers and neighbours.
Be sure to check Facebook for a gallery of images from the day.
It only happens once every three years and the wait is almost over. The event all riesling lovers dream about is back.
Celebrate your love for riesling with Frankland Estate as we bring the best of the world’s rieslings to Melbourne from Friday to Tuesday, 2 to 6 February 2018, and in Sydney on Wednesday, 7 February 2018.
Here's where you need to be:
2 to 6 February — Pop Up Bar A pop-up Riesling Bar at the Arts Centre
Sunday, 4 February — Riesling Riot The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest riesling party
Monday and Tuesday, 5 and 6 February — Tastings & Masterclasses
Wednesday, 7 February — Riesling Riot The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest riesling party
To be a part of this fun and engaging riesling celebration, secure your tickets online at the Riesling Downunder website – www.rieslingdownunder.com.au