We’re absolutely over the moon for Judi Cullam of Frankland Estate, who was last night awarded the Len Evans Award for Leadership at the annual Gourmet Traveller WINE awards.
Peter Forrestal wrote a lovely piece for the magazine, in which he explained the rationale behind bestowing this prestigious accolade on this bright, warm and generous woman.
“Drive, determination and charisma, these are the leadership qualities that make Cullam a deserved winner of the Len Evans Award,” he wrote. “They underpin her love affair with Riesling, which has had a profound impact on the way Australians see this noble grape variety.”
In his piece, Forrestal correctly asserts that CellarHand owes a great deal of gratitude to Judi and the Smith Cullam family. Founder Patrick Walsh was the inaugural winner of the Frankland Estate International Riesling Tasting Scholarship 20 years ago, allowing him to travel to the great Riesling regions of the world. It was that life-changing trip that planted the CellarHand seed – and, in turn, “dramatically increased the availability of Europe’s finest Rieslings in Australia”.
The CellarHand team warmly congratulates Judi, and entreats you to read Peter Forrestal’s piece in full; you’ll find it here.
And, if you’re not yet familiar with the outstanding wines this family grows, here’s a little more about them:
A wine of impeccable bloodlines and breeding, not a hair out of place. James Halliday on Estate Riesling
The array of fresh and mouthwatering citrus fruit is stunning, Nick Stock on Isolation Ridge Riesling
Imbued with the distinctive minerally personality of this estate’s Rieslings, and chock-full of classic varietal expression. James Halliday on Poison Hill Riesling
A masterclass in poise and balance. James Halliday on Smith Cullam Riesling
There’s a lovely clarity and precision to its palate, the nervy acidity driving the flavour through a long finish. Huon Hooke on Estate Chardonnay
Really lovely, is apt words. Mike Bennie on Estate Shiraz
This excellent Shiraz continues to be refined in the pursuit of a distinctively individual elegance and stylishness. Ray Jordan on Isolation Ridge Shiraz
This is an impressive wine that presents its 72% Cabernet Franc in a serious light, with some help from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Huon Hooke on Olmo’s Reward
2017 Frankland Estate Riesling RRP $29
This outstanding Riesling is reserved and taut. It promises to live long and reward those who cellar it. The lime/grapefruit bouquet is refined and subtly fragrant, bright and fresh. The balance is just slightly off-dry, which enhances its fruit and texture. 96 points. Huon Hooke, Gourmet Traveller WINE July, 2018
2017 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling RRP $43
All the hallmarks of this site are at play with camomile and blossom, the lightness of touch on the palate with its citrus notes, some concentration and texture yet the steely freshness and acidity so pure it creates an ultra-fine and long finish. 96 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2019
2017 Frankland Estate Poison Hill Riesling RRP $43
Terrific fragrant allure such as stony, flinty, spicy and rocky aromas here. This is exotic and stunning. The palate has elegance and finesse delivered with power. Long flavors of citrus, white nectarines and some green mangoes. A superb wine. Drink or hold. Screwcap. 96 points. Nick Stock jamessuckling.com August 2018
2017 Frankland Estate ‘Smith Cullam’ Riesling RRP $53
This is excitingly youthful. Yet, it has a very complex array of spices, white peaches, citrus and stony minerally accents. The palate is very powerful, and the fruit ripeness is right on. There is a strong and tart grapefruit-like thread that holds the long finish. Best from 2022. Screwcap. 96 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com August 2018
2016 Frankland Estate Chardonnay RRP $29
Gets off to a good start with a lovely glowing green-gold colour in the glass. A complex but understated style which will continue to build in the bottle no doubt. Fruit characters are mainly in the citrus vein with some spice and savoury input from the oak seamlessly meshed. Fine and long on the palate with a slinkiness of texture held in a taut, convincing framework. 94 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2019
2015 Frankland Estate Shiraz RRP $29
Bright, full crimson-purple; the variety and the terroir seek to impose each one’s stamp over the other, both failing in their attempt, the perfect win-win outcome. Blackberry fruit, spice and black pepper lead the way on the bouquet and medium-bodied palate alike, French oak (subtle) and tannins (ripe, but fine) completing a great portrait of cool-grown shiraz. 95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2018
2015 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz RRP $43
This will morph into something rather special – it’s too youthful now but already it has the hallmarks of a finely-tuned, expressive Frankland River shiraz. Heady aromatics of florals, dark fruit, licorice, pepper and wood spices with chiselled tannins and clearly defined oak. Some creaminess on the palate adds another layer of complexity. 95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion August, 2017
2017 Frankland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $29
Organically-grown 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit was sourced from mature vines in the Isolation Ridge vineyard at Frankland Estate. This wine was fermented as long and slowly as possible, at temperatures not exceeding 26°C in open-pot fermentation tanks that allowed the cap to be worked by plunging and an extended maceration period allowed optimal colour, flavour and tannin extraction. It was aged in 500-litre French oak puncheons.
2015 Frankland Estate Olmo’s Reward RRP $88
An elegantly structured and poised wine showing an increased amount of Cabernet Franc. It is a strongly Right Bank-influenced wine, showing a taut, controlled palate. Lifted notes of red berry and savoury earthy notes, with a little rich mocha character. Characteristic gravelly tannins support an extended finish. Has some ageing potential. 95 points. Ray Jordan, The West Australian June 2018