Category Archives: Great Southern Wine Region

Apr 04 2015

Singlefile, Great Southern, WA: A Masterclass with CEO Patrick Corbett

Posted on April 04, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you haven’t yet heard of Singlefile wines, chances are you will soon! This Great Southern winery, based in Denmark, is now distributing its premium range of single vineyard wines nationally through Domaine Wine Shippers. Last week I had the good fortune to attend a master class with CEO Patrick Corbett at Double Bay’s Vintage Cellars.

Singlefile only released its first vintage in 2008, but it has already won a string of top awards. In 2013 James Halliday singled out Singlefile for the inaugural Top Dark Horse Winery of the Year award, remarking that “The choice of Phil and Viv Snowden’s winery was obvious. Singlefile has five wines ratings between 94 and 96 points, and another four earning the red value star. The wines are immaculately made.”

Singlefile tastingSinglefile certainly has all the attributes you would expect to find in a top Australian winery, including a desire to source the finest fruit from the best possible terroir.

Patrick Corbett, Singlefile’s CEO and the Snowden’s son-in-law, explained that the winery hired acclaimed Western Australian winemaker Larry Cherubino as a wine consultant not long after purchasing established Denmark vineyards in 2007.

Working with Singlefile’s Burgundy trained winemaker Coby Ladwig and the winery’s geologist trained owners, Cherubino went about benchmarking Singlefile’s wines against the best in the country.

From this exercise they determined that the Denmark vineyards’ existing plantings were only producing high quality chardonnay. Consequently, more suitable varieties were grafted onto existing rootstock or additional vineyards were secured in other regions. Today Singlefile owns or leases seven vineyards across the Great Southern, employing a full-time viticulturist to oversee their management.

Singlefile The Vivienne Chardonnay 2012 was recently the top pick in a Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine’s blind tasting that included chardonnay icons like the Vasse Felix Heytesbury 2013 and the … Read the rest

Jan 01 2014

Marchand & Burch Chardonnay: Burgundy comes to the Great Southern!

Posted on January 01, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

One of the most exciting developments in the Australian wine industry over the past 10 to 15 years has been the emergence of new regions and/or sub-regions making great wine. In a previous post, Great Southern, WA: The New Centre for Australian Riesling?, I discussed how the Great Southern region of Western Australia is displaying fantastic potential for riesling and perhaps even starting to close the gap in terms of quality with its better known Clare and Eden Valley peers in South Australia!

If reviews for the Marchand & Burch Chardonnay are any indication, the Great Southern is also making impressive inroads in creating fine chardonnays.

Marchand and BurchMarchand & Burch is a joint venture between Burgundian winemaker Pascal Marchand and Howard Park and MadFish Wines’s vigneron and owner Tony Burch. Howard Park is one of Western Australia’s oldest and largest family-owned wineries with vineyards in both the Margaret River and the Great Southern. The Howard Park Chardonnay, sourced from its Mount Barker, Porongurups, Denmark vineyards in the Great Southern, is generally regarded as one of Australia’s best chardonnays.

Pascal Marchand, ex-winemaker at Comte Armand and Domaine de la Vougeraie in Burgundy, personally overseas the winemaking process; deciding, for example, how many whole bunches to include in fermentation. The vineyard and the winery are biodynamic and organic, with an emphasis is on small batch processing to bring out the distinct character of the terroir.  The chardonnay is hand-picked and wild fermented in French barriques. (Australian, New Zealand and Burgundian Pinot Noir by Tom Cannavan, wine-pages, October 2009)

In addition to the chardonnay, which was first released in 2007, Marchand & Burch make two pinot noirs from Mount Barrow and Gibraltar Rock in the Great Southern, and a shiraz. An extensive collection of Burgundian wines (17 in total to date) … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Great Southern, WA: The New Centre for Australian Riesling?

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Tuesday I attended the Wine Industry of Western Australia’s Taste of Western Australia at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. Rieslings of the Great Southern wine region were the focus of one of the very insightful masterclasses with wine critic Peter Forrestal.

The majestically scenic and wildly remote Great Southern is the largest wine region in Australia.  So large, in fact, that the five already designated sub-regions of Frankland River, Mount Barker, Porongurup, Albany and Denmark only cover 50% of the land mass.

Last year James Halliday named Larry Cherubino Wines “Winery of the Year.” The Cherubino Porongurup Riesling 2009 was Halliday’s top-rated riesling (97 points), beating out some serious Clare and Eden Valley competition. (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2011)

The gloriously picturesque Porongurup mountain range, 30 km south east of Mount Barker, is also home to Castle Rock Estate. Robert Diletti of Castle Rock makes elegant yet intensely flavoured rieslings, admired for their complexity, great length and ageing potential. The 2010 vintage we sampled in the masterclass was excellent – clear, pure citrus fruit characters superbly balanced by a minerally acidity imparted from the rocky, infertile soil of the ideally situated hillside vineyard.

 

 

 

 

Dilletti also makes the wines at boutique winemaker 3Drops in nearby Mount Barker, another Great Southern sub-region that’s developed an exceptional reputation for its delicately floral, elegant rieslings. The beautifully balanced Gilberts Mount Barker Riesling 2010, which we also sampled, won Best Current Vintage at the prestigious Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

X by Xabregas Fig Tree Riesling 2010 was another stand-out wine from Mt Barker. Made by winemaker Martin Cooper for the Hogan family-owned winery, the winery specialises in single vineyard wines that very much speak of their place and are in an off-dry style that distinguishes them … Read the rest