Stay in touch with the latest news and happenings at Vasse Felix, in Margaret River and on tour around the world.
A discussion on delicious food and wine pairings to enjoy this festive season, with Head Chef Brendan Pratt & Estate Sommelier Evan Gill. Follow the links below to view their favourite pairings!
Margaret River Chardonnay is renowned for its powerful fruit flavours, bright acidity and immense complexity.
As a general rule, Chardonnay vines prefer heavier soils with high clay content and good moisture retention, their weaker root system requiring the support of these dense and fertile soil sections. Chardonnay also tends to thrive in a slightly cooler climate, something we are blessed with in Margaret River, with the extreme maritime influence.
The Boodjidup Vineyard, in particular our J Block, sits in Margaret River’s sweet spot for Chardonnay, an area with the highest rainfall and cooler temperatures which create the perfect environment for growing elegant and powerful Chardonnay.
These conditions enable our fruit to retain its incredible fresh acidity and unique al dente tension, whilst also encouraging the prolific growth of wild yeast (essential to our wild fermentation program).
The quality coming out of the Boodjidup Vineyard is very exciting to see and will continue to develop our premium Chardonnay offering here at Vasse Felix.
First Planted 1997
Soils Gravel and sandy loam Altitude Range 75 - 95m
Vine Area 115ha
Icon & Premier Wines
J Block Micro-climate Located in a valley of sorts on a south facing slope, it is quite protected and sees reduced sunlight, creating the cool micro climate our Chardonnay thrives on. Its location between the Boodjidup Brook (our vineyard’s namesake) on one side and the vineyard dam on the other ensures the vines have plentiful access to water, with just enough clay in the soils to support the delicate Chardonnay root systems.
An Evolution of our Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Style
By Estate Sommelier Evan Gill
Our Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon have been in constant evolution for ten years, ever since the inaugural release of a ‘project’ wine back in 2010. It was made from small parcels of exceptional fruit, utilising the winemaking techniques traditionally associated with Cabernet Sauvignon (interestingly, the progeny of Sauvignon Blanc). The result was a savoury, powerful and age-worthy white wine, infused with exotic grape skin perfumes and a drying tannin finish.
Since the release of this first project wine, our Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock has crafted a further nine examples and evolutions under the guise of our ‘Black Label’ range. Though these wines are incredible in their own right, the real raison d’être has been to constantly evolve and improve the Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Something I believe they have truly accomplished, and now taken to a new height with this latest release.
The new release 2019 Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc personifies Virginia and her team’s trials on, and subsequent evolution of, our best Sauvignon Blanc parcels. This wine includes the smallest percentage of Semillon to date and represents a direct link to the Black Label ‘Blanc’ wines of 2017, 2018 and 2019 which were all 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed, it is through these wines that the winemakers discovered how best to express the personality of our beautiful Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc parcels, teasing out more of the nuanced complexities unique to this region.
The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc includes the highest portion of full skins fermentation to date (10%). This is coupled with the largest portion of oak maturation thus far (over 60% of the total wine) which has been expertly and delicately managed by the use of larger format 300L Puncheons and 3000L Foudres, a popular vessel in Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley.
In short; the wine is delicious with crystalline acidity and a soft texture supporting citrus peel, orange zest, coastal herb and river stone nuances. Officially, the release has a recommended ideal cellaring window of six years but, like many of its predecessors I feel it may well continue beyond that.
So what are you looking for in an aged Sauvignon Blanc?
The crisp, linear acidity of our young Sauvignon Blanc wines relaxes over time (though still retaining its presence) and the wine becomes softer and rounder. The primary flavours so evident in our Sauvignon Blanc (orange zest, citrus peel, lemon tang, jasmine) only slowly fade and will still be present in 5-6 years time. Meanwhile, the more delicate and subdued background notes become more discernible, encased in a silky smooth and seemingly denser body.
Discover the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Kingfish, Fenugreek & Maesil Dressing
“An incredibly versatile and delicious dressing that can enliven a salad, bring a fresh summer finish to a barbequed steak or beautifully complement your favourite seafood this festive season.”
Singing with summer freshness, the attractive floral elements and lovely fruit sweetness are tempered by a hint of sour plum, and rounded out with rich, smoky umami flavours. Feeds four to six as a shared entrée.
500g grape seed oil
100g fenugreek seeds
400g fresh kingfish loin
or any quality, firm white fish
200ml of fenugreek oil
100ml of tuna soy
*Available at most Grocers
70ml maesil vinegar
Blend 500g of grape seed oil with 100g of fenugreek seeds for two minutes or until the oil reaches roughly 70 degrees.
Pass the oil through a fine cloth to remove any grainy or bitter remnants. A blue chux cloth or coffee filter lined into a strainer will work well.
Add the oil to the maesil vinegar and tuna soy. Whisk well and set aside.
Rub the kingfish loin with a 50/50 mixture of salt and sugar and cure for 45 minutes.
Slice the cured kingfish into fine slices, lay it on your plate and apply the dressing liberally.
Serve with the Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc.
We were thrilled to have four Vasse Felix wines recognised amongst the best in the world at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards, announced last week.⠀
Selected from over 16,000 wines from 56 countries, both Icon wines, the 2018 Hetesbury Chardonnay and 2016 TOM CULLITY were awarded a Gold medal, while our Vasse Felix Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon each received a Silver medal.
Now in its 17th year, the Decanter World Wine Awards are judged by 118 expert wine judges, including 37 Masters of Wine and nine Master Sommeliers over a mammoth 28 days of tasting. Explore the full awards here.
2016 TOM CULLITY | Gold Medal
"Perfumed with exotic spice, incense, blackcurrant flower and plush plum, while the palate is textured with lush, rich fruit and a neat acidity."
2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay | Gold Medal
"Beautifully opulent with hints of flinty smoke, lemon oil, caramel and apricot on the nose, stone fruit, lemon sherbet and a red apple acidity on the palate."⠀
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon | Silver Medal
"Perfumed and inviting spice and orange chocolate lead onto a palate of plum, savoury blackberry and dried herb."
2018 Chardonnay | Silver Medal
"Rich and plush, with tropical fruit and nutty oak aromatics, yellow apple, melon and spiced nutmeg on the palate."
We are thrilled with the stellar reviews of the Vasse Felix Wine Collection in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion, released today.
Particularly excited to see the 2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay once again included in Halliday's Best of the Best by Variety, along with the 2016 TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec and 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
The Margaret River Wine Region also performed exceptionally well as a whole in the 2021 Best of the Best by Variety accolades.
Of the 46 Australian Cabernet and Cabernet Blends which scored more the 97 points, a staggering 23 (exactly half) were produced in Margaret River. While the Chardonnay Best of the Best (54 total) included no less then 21 Margaret River Chardonnays. An incredible testament to the quality of this region's core varieties, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Keep reading to see Halliday's reviews of the Vasse Felix Wine Collection.
2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay | 98 Points (Best of the Best by Variety)
"Heytesbury has always been a yin and yang wine. It has power, structure and depth yet can appear reticent in its youth. The fruit is fabulous. Wafts of lemon balm, ginger cream and spicy oak too but it is all about the palate - linear, long, super fine, a tight acid line, it has a crushed rock character with moreish flinty sulphides - the list goes on. Everything in sync. It’s one heck of a classy chardonnay."
2016 TOM CULLITY | 97 Points (Best of the Best by Variety)
"It’s a pleasure to spend time with Tom Cullity. This is all about refinement. It has a presence and a whole lot of detail. The fruit savoury and sweet, the iodine and graphite character of the malbec infused into the DNA. There are also finely chiselled tannins, lively acidity and a length like no tomorrow. Sure there’s a power and energy, but the wine’s defining feature is elegance."
2018 Chardonnay | 96 Points (Special Value Rating)
"This is a bit of rock ‘n’ roll that performs brilliantly in Vasse Felix’s chardonnay hierarchy. Perfect balance of flavours from grapefruit, lemon pith and delicate leesy-nutty characters with plenty of flint and saline. It’s linear, long and pure, with a riff of acidity that keeps the band together."
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon | 95 Points
"Sure it has the exuberance of youth, but this will age gracefully. Full of raspberries and currants with a cranberry tang alongside menthol and oak playing a part, but not a lead role. Fine and poised tannins, although acidity is very much a driver this vintage, it’s refreshing and lively. And like seasoning in cooking, the glug of malbec and petit verdot adds another dimension."
2018 Filius Chardonnay | 92 Points
"The entry point into the Vasse Felix range of Chardonnays, one that less well endowed producers would happily present as their icon. Balance is the key, all the components in the right place at the right time. White peach, rock melon, apple and grapefruit all in harmonious balance, oak incidental."
2017 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon | 96 Points (Special Value Rating)
"Bright crimson-purple; this has provenance written large across its visage, likewise purity. Restructuring of the Vasse Felix offers to the market has lifted, not compromised, this dark, fruit-filled cabernet."
2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon | 95 Points (Best of the Best by Variety)
"Sauvignon blanc leads this duet at 82% with almost half the blend spending time in a mix of French oak for 6 or so months. It’s a classy outcome. Superb balance of flavours, it has precision, length and line. A crisp, dry finish quite savoury with a phenolic edge adding another layer of complexity."
2018 Shiraz | 95 Points
"Cabernet sauvignon might be the regional red darling, but sometimes shiraz stands proudly. Still in a restrained style with excellent fruit at its heart, a dusting of woodsy spices, black pepper with an iodine/ferrous note. Sandpaper tannins and poppy acidity go hand-in-hand."
2019 Classic Dry White | 92 points (Special Value Rating)
"..bright and as cheery as a summer's day"
2019 Classic Dry Rosé | 90 points (Special Value Rating)
"Gently sweet red berry fruits.."
2018 Classic Dry Red | 91 Points (Special Value Rating)
"..invitingly fresh, perfectly poised with lots to offer."
Our Estate hospitality team have been thrilled to host Alumni and guests alike at our recent Winter events; a Terroir & Truffles degustation with WA Good Food Guide and most recently, Heart & Soul a fireside dinner for the 2020 Cabin Fever Winter Festival.
Early in July, we welcomed a handful of guests for an exploration of the shared importance of place or 'terroir' in growing exceptional, site expressive wine and truffles. This incredible degustation celebrated the joys of pairing Margaret River Cabernet and Chardonnay with the beautifully pungent truffles of Manjimup, and included some special wine highlights - the Icon 2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay and a museum selection, the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Following on from the success of this Terroir & Truffles event, we stoked the fire and prepped our heartiest winter dishes for the Cabin Fever Heart & Soul dinner. Hosted by Estate Sommelier Evan Gill, guests enjoyed a four course menu designed to highlight the 'Heart and Soul' of Vasse Felix, our Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines from the 'Premier' collection.
A favourite of the night was Head Chef Brendan Pratt's Gnocchi, mushroom XO, yolk dish paired with the 2018 Vasse Felix Chardonnay, which one guest described as "the single best thing I’ve ever eaten". Glowing praise indeed!
We were thrilled to see two Vasse Felix wines included in the Ray Jordan's recently announced 2020 Top 100 Reds.
Selected from over 550 wines, the 2018 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon featured in the Top $25 to $40 category at 93 points, while the much loved 2018 Classic Dry Red was selected within the Top $15 to $20 wines and awarded 92 points.
2018 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon
"Gosh these Filius wines are something else. Remarkable that a wine of this quality can be turned out at this price. It is classic Margaret River cabernet with all that black olive and blackcurrant fruit presented with controlled elegance and style." 93 points, Ray Jordan
2018 Classic Dry Red
"Bright and high energy on the nose and the palate. This is such a well-made shiraz based on some mighty good fruit. It's medium bodied but with a powerful lingering palate. Love it." 92 points, Ray Jordan
More info on the Top 100 Reds here.
By Head Chef Brendan Pratt
A Vasse Felix twist on a luxurious condiment that can double as an umami boost to many dishes, and lift your favourite roast lamb and Cabernet duo to new heights.
"When coming up with a food match for the current vintage of Cabernet, we wanted a classic combination. Roast lamb and Bordeaux is the classic choice, and with lamb anchoiade (lamb and anchovy) being a famous dish of France, I figured why not put a Vasse Felix twist into the pairing? And so the Tomato and Anchovy XO was born. Anchovies are there to replace the dried scallops and prawns of the more traditional XO recipes, while the roasted tomato adds sweetness and umami in place of the usual chilli and dried seafood components. This recipe will make 500ml of our specialty Vasse Felix XO."
20g Gochujang paste (found at supermarkets or Asian grocers)
75g Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
75g brown onion, peeled and chopped
20g ginger, peeled and chopped
150g anchovy fillets, soaked in 1 litre of water for 30 minutes
125g caster sugar
80ml fish sauce
150g fresh tomato, cut in half 1tsp ground white pepper 300g grapeseed oil
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Slice the tomatoes in half, place onto a roasting tray. Coat tomatoes with a generous amount of oil. Place into oven for 20 minutes or until coloured and roasted, set aside to cool.
Add 100ml of oil to a heavy based pan.
First add the diced onion and sweat gently on a low heat.
Once translucent, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes.
Once aromatic, add the Gochujang paste followed by the sugar, fish sauce and roasted tomatoes.
Drain the water from the anchovies and add.
Add the pepper and remainder of oil, simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Leave to cool for 20 minutes before blending until semi smooth. A little chunky is perfect. Serve with your favourite roast lamb and Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon.
Interesting Fact. XO sauce first appeared in Cantonese cuisine in the 1980s, made from a collection of the most prized ingredients from around China. It was named after XO Cognac (XO standing for extra old), the epitome of sophistication in Hong Kong at the time.
9 June 2020
Vasse Felix to Reopen Cellar Door & Restaurant ‐ Thursday 25 June
Please click here to read the full message.
We are very pleased to announce that the Vasse Felix Estate will reopen from Thursday 25 June.
The Cellar Door will offer seated wine tastings daily, between 10am and 5pm. The Restaurant will open from Thursday to Monday each week, offering the usual à la carte and tasting menu options.
Cellar Door and Restaurant bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment and can be made online via www.vassefelix.com.au/Visit or by phone on 9756 5000.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you and your guests back to Vasse Felix.
Paul Holmes à Court and the Vasse Felix Team
Vasse Felix Restaurant
• Open for lunch service, 12pm - 3pm, Thursday - Monday
• Bookings visit www.vassefelix.com.au/Visit/Restaurant or phone 9756 5000
Vasse Felix Cellar Door
• Open for seated tastings 10am - 5pm, daily
• Bookings visit www.vassefelix.com.au/Visit/Wine-Experiences or phone 9756 5000
Vasse Felix Tours
• Unavailable until further notice
Vasse Felix Wine Sales
• Wine sales by phone, email and online (customer service team available 9am - 5pm, daily)