When your wine is called Isolation Ridge, it’s a pretty sure bet that getting to where its made will probably include a lot of driving, and not necessarily on major roads. Of course, once one leaves the relatively few major cities on the world’s smallest Continent, that can be said for much of Australia.
That said, driving to Frankland Estate, situated in a remote region of Western Australia about 250 miles Southeast out of Perth, one gets the feeling that reaching it may never happen (helicopter, please!). But it’s the wines that keep you driving, as Frankland Estate, founded in 1988 on a sheep station situated about 25 miles north of the Southern Ocean, produces some of that country’s best.
For all the wine Australia makes, and it makes a lot, the wonderful wines of Western Australia, (the most notably recognizable region of which is Margaret River, further West and closer to Perth), often get overshadowed by their more Easterly counterparts from places like Hunter and Barossa Valleys, two of Australia’s most well-known winemaking areas. Which is surprising, since Western Australian winemaking accounts for over 25% of the country’s total production.
All that is starting to change however, and it’s thanks to people like the Smith family, owners of Frankland Estate, who are dedicated to not only making superb wines, but making sure that they do it the right way, through organic farming practices and identifying what grows well (i.e., not just planting what people seem to be drinking at the moment) and making that.
And what Frankland Estate is known for is Riesling and Shiraz, both of which adapt well to the cooler climate of the region and make wines of particularly exceptional and unique character. The Riesling is consistently rated among the country’s top wines in its category, and the Shiraz (and blends thereof) also produce wines that are internationally acclaimed and sought after due to their distinctly different characteristics (stronger tannins and aging potential) than the softer, fruit-forward, drink-it-now Shiraz coming out of the hotter growing regions of Eastern Australia.
Frankland Estate produces about 15,000 cases overall and has about 75 certified organic acres under vine. Wines include Isolation Ridge Riesling, Shiraz, and Chardonnay, and the same wines under the Rock Gully moniker, and ode to the geographic area and also street address of the winery. Other wines include Poison Hill Riesling and Netley Road Riesling, and also the Estate’s flagship red wine Olmo’s Reward Red, an award-winning traditonal Bordeaux blend using Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec.
The wines of Frankland Estate are worth a drive if you’re feeling adventurous, have a Roo Bar on your Land Cruiser, and happen to be in Perth. Or, thankfully, they’re also available in the U.S. which would probably be a bit more convenient, particularly once you run out and need to get more.
Hear from Frankland Estate Co-Owner and Co-Vintner Hunter Smith, whose parents Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam, founded Frankland Estate in 1988. Sheep farmers since the 1970s, Smith and Cullam were inspired by a trip to Bordeaux and working two vintages in that region of France. Hunter and sister Elizabeth joined the family business which was formally recognized as certified organic. And then there’s Gladys, the guinea hen, the winery’s mascot, who’s in charge of critter and pest control. Can we have a “G’Day Mate” shout out for this show? January 27th, 2pm EST on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY.com.
U.S. Importer: Quintessential Wines. www.quintessentialwines.com