It’s HERE! 97pt Frankland Estate Single Vineyard Release

At Frankland Estate, curiosity and dedication defines their approachJudi Cullam and Barrie Smith’s journey at Isolation Ridge sparked a question: what practices best suit this land? Their children, Hunter and Elizabeth (along with husband and winemaker Brian Kent), continue this exploration. This latest release of wines reflects that ongoing evolution.

Achieving organic certification 15 years ago marked a new beginning. Organics are just part of the puzzle, and it takes time for the whole picture- the ecological and oenological implications of every act to emerge. This is where Hunter, Elizabeth and Brian’s focus has sharpened in recent years. Regeneration year on year and looking deeply and at great detail at every facet of the growing and winemaking cycle all with one question in mind; can we do better? Transitioning to biodynamic principles further deepened their understanding of these natural cycles, with the resultant wines showing even more energy, texture and complete than ever before. This dedication and close observations is what gives the team behind Frankland Estate such confidence in their wines…

“Confidence to let the Riesling develop into a deeper, far-reaching flavour spectrum and take on a firm, juicy texture, knowing the natural acidity will be there to propel it through the palate and sustain it as it ages. Confidence that SmithCullam Riesling’s off-dry balance will carry the Isolation Ridge Vineyard signature as surely as its counterpart while possessing its own singular thrill. Confidence that Mourvèdre will honour the grape’s earthy, rustic hallmark and the site’s rusty, ferrous character while bearing Frankland River’s floral, blue-fruit refreshment. Confidence that Syrah as pretty, alluring and slow-to-unfurl as this cool ’22 rendition has the substance, quiet strength and subtle threads to draw you back to the glass. And confidence that the innocence and purity of well-grown Cabernet Franc—all floral freshness, iodine-flecked flesh and polished tannins—can lead a “serious” wine such as ’21 Olmo’s Reward. Confidence, in fact, that all these wines can be stimulating, surprising and enduring without heft or haughtiness.” – Frankland Estate

We are very much looking forward to this latest release, a coherent story from vine to glass, from nose to finish.

2023 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling $57 RRP 

Sourced from the original 1988 plantings on ironstone gravels over clay. Some guava and dried mango exoticism, makrut lime leaves and wet stones. It’s super precise and poised, a wine of balletic balance with a piercing acid line of jaw dropping intensity and drive. A masterclass in coiled tension, restrained power and the beauty of Frankland River riesling. 97 points. Nick Ryan, The Weekend Australian April 2024

Apple, lime, a sort of Chinese jasmine tea smell about it (don’t mind me, though it does make me fancy some yum cha!), maybe some aniseed too. It’s rich and powerful in flavour, apple, apricot, and ripe lime, fine chalky texture, and there’s some sweetness here too, though whether it’s residual sugar, or fruit power, I know not, but there is something of a barley sugar/honey thing happening here. The finish is long and firm, with a subtle parmesan rind savoury character. Very nice. 95 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2024

One of the very best Isolation Ridge rieslings produced. It’s from an exceptional vintage showing the pristine purity and minerally tension of great rieslings. Comes from a combination of clones planted in 1988. Now this is not your usual riesling. It was left on lees for nine months and about 10% was matured in oak. The result is a wine of tremendous texture, with an intricate weave of fine acid and intensely flavoured fruit. Has a crunchy vibrant minerality on the finish. Exceptional wine. 97 points. Ray Jordan, April 2024

By any measure – aroma, flavour, structure, length and complexity – this is a stunning Riesling. And that vibrant, pulsing acidity offers a winemaking Masterclass in itself. It is intricately woven throughout the wine, essential and complete but never intrusive, a fact that winemaker Hunter Smith puts down to picking fruit slightly riper than he once did. Super fragrant and lifted in the heady scent of spring flowers, citrus blossom, lime zest, lemongrass and spice. Elegant and poised from start to long finish, Isolation Ridge fills the mouth with an intensity of citrus – lime and lemon – exotic spice notes, hints of ginger, lemon skin and lemongrass all beautifully melded by the aforementioned acidity. Nine months on lees and time in oak (10%) brings greater depth and an engaging umami mouthfeel, just a little, that helps heighten the whole delightful tasting experience. 97 points. Jeni Port, April 2024

2022 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Syrah $57 RRP 

A wine that shows the evolution of both style and quality of this now well-established WA Syrah. It now has the addition of clone 470 in addition to the original Houghton clone from when it was planted in 1988. A small amount of viognier and Mourvèdre is also used. The wine was matured for 14 months in 3500-litre French Oak foudre and a few additional 500-litre puncheons. This is an exciting development. The wine has become more elegant and stylish while gaining complexity and better structural tannin profile. It’s medium bodied with beautifully expressive red fruits and a little spice and black pepper. Outstanding. 96 points. Ray Jordan, April 2024

This wine is 95% Syrah with 1.5% Viognier and 3.5% Mourvèdre. 5% whole bunches are included, carefully sourced from among two blocks where the stems turn yellow as ripeness is achieved. Aromatics and tannin complexity result from the whole bunch. 85% of the blend is from the original 1988-planted winery block. 10% is our younger 470 clone which brings more complexity and another dimension to the tannin profile. The 470 also reaches the ripeness we are happy with at slightly lower sugar levels (typically 1.0 Be less sugar), Mourvèdre and co fermented Viognier add complexity of flavour and texture while Syrah remains the hero. Our aim is delicacy with power. The wine was matured for 14 months in 3,500-litre French Oak foudre and a few additional 500-litre puncheons. – Frankland Estate

Cherry, blueberry, toasted peanuts, grilled meat and spice, sage leaf, floral too with some red apple juiciness. It’s medium-bodied, spicy and firm, again that red apple mingles with red and blue fruits, tannin is kind of dusty and dry, but carried well within the overall succulence and perfume of the wine, and the finish is long and dry, and lightly peppery. It’s an expressive and lively Shiraz, and very good it is too. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front March 2024

If the test of a good wine is whether you keep the bottle to drink after tasting and writing a review, then, I passed the test. That peppery freshness was just too hard to resist. It infiltrates, subtly but effectively, almost every aspect to the wine, a fresh, lively background note. Aromas rise in black pepper, blue fruits, black cherry, briar and red liquorice. The wine moves briskly leaving a trail of flavour in its wake in spice and chocolate, black cherry. plums and woodsy, spicy oak notes. Attracts extra points for its cool climate peppery swagger and confidence. 95 points. Jeni Port, April 2024

2022 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Mourvèdre $57 RRP 

Liquorice/aniseed, violet, cherry and raspberry, dried herbs, camphor, peanut shells, orange peel, smoked tea leaf – all the things! It’s medium-bodied, meaty and savoury, strewn with dried herb/flower perfume, grainy sooty tannin chew, shitake mushroom and other umami stuff, a pomegranate tang to lively acidity, with a dusty dry and ferrous finish of excellent length. Such character. Terrific. 95 points Gary Walsh, The Wine Front March 2024

This is just the second release of this varietal. It is a marvellous expression of Mourvèdre superimposed with the Frankland style. The earthy and slightly rustic tones are evident as they work into the grainy medium-bodied fruit. A distinctive iron filings ferrous character is part varietal and part regional. Super exciting development. 95 points. Ray Jordan,

2023 Frankland Estate SmithCullam Riesling $79 RRP 

If Isolation Ridge is a melt-in-your-mouth kind of Riesling, Smith Cullam is all racy, ceaseless energy in the glass. It offers quite the contrast, even though the fruit is also sourced from the Isolation Ridge vineyard. Speaks with an airy, floral aroma intensity, citrus and talc. Hunter Smith’s winemaking breaks the usual Aussie Riesling mould in its use of whole bunches and fermentation (40%) in seasoned 500L oak as well as in stainless steel, followed by nine months on lees. Delicate, lemony and spicy with a barley sugar-like sweet tingle on the middle palate. Texture is building and a distinctive flintiness combined with vibrant acidity completes one impressive Riesling. And, it might be added, it’s very much a young wine in building mode. 95 points. Jeni Port, WinePilot April 2024

This also comes off the Isolation Ridge vineyard. A combination of tank and oak fermentation is used to create its distinctive style. It’s made as an off-dry style after the fermentation is stopped and spends nine months in a combination of tank and old oak. A beautiful wine that reveals characters of spices and a beautiful chalky minerality. The off dry palate is exquisitely balanced with the fruit intensity and fine acidity. Excellent. 95 points. Ray Jordan, April 2024

2021 Frankland Estate Olmo’s Reward $90 RRP

A wine which honours the significant contribution of Dr Harold Olmo in the early stages of the new era of the WA wine industry. It’s a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and malbec. In this case it has the highest proportion of cabernet franc ever used in the blend. Has a beautiful lift of red fruit on the nose with leafy graphite nuances. Medium weight but with highly concentrated fruit. Rolls majestically across the palate with fine chalky tannins and the perfect tuned oak supporting through to a long finish. 97 points. Ray Jordan, April 2024

The reward is watching this morph, over the years and now in the glass, into such a special wine, one led by cabernet franc, one that speaks of place and one that delights in its youth but will promise more complexity in time. Today, it’s all red fruited and infused with smoky, earthy flavours, turmeric and licorice with a distinct ferrous/ironstone character. It’s ripe, fuller bodied yet not heavy, with tangy acidity and textural tannins spreading across the palate leaving a lasting imprint and a desire for another glass. 96 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion April 2024

This vintage of Olmo’s Reward is all about the power and the poetry of Cabernet Franc (90%). Indeed, it is the highest proportion of Cab Franc in the wine’s history joined by small additions of Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) and Malbec (2%). Slow to reveal – feel free to decant or swish – and definitely consider time in the cellar, Olmo’s Reward is all about endless potential as well as drink-now appeal, in other words, a mighty handy wine. Undergrowth, sweet earth, black cherry and plum with a touch of pepper and herbs lift from the glass. This is a wine of old school class, of the earth, the sun and ripe fruit, all beautifully framed in some fancy fine tannin work. Nuff said… 95 points. Jeni Port, WinePilot April 2024