Stay in touch with the latest news and happenings at Vasse Felix, in Margaret River and on tour around the world.
We were thrilled to finish the year with a number of Vasse Felix wines featuring in key wine critic's Top Wines of 2020.
Notably, the 2016 TOM CULLITY was featured in Tyson Stelzer's Top 12 Australian Wines of 2020 and in James Suckling's 2020 Top 100 Wines of Australia alongside the 2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay. The Heytesbury was also selected by Sarah Ahmed as one of her '24 Vinous Highlghts of the Year', published on her UK blog The Wine Detective. And from our contemporary, versatile Filius collection, the Filius Cabernet Sauvignon featured at #46 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines! An excellent way to round out the year.
For us, these awards reflect our commitment to expressing and exploring the very best of Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Peruse the reviews below or follow the links to see the full selections.
#4 | 2016 TOM CULLITY
"The fragrance of cabernet and the savoury detail of malbec unite to distinguished effect in this long-ripening season, giving birth to one of the greatest blends in the lauded history this legendary estate. Intricately scaffolded, with ethereal fruit, enduring, powder-fine tannins and sensitive oak interlocking seamlessly, this is a masterfully crafted creation. It is impeccably polished from the outset, yet possessing staggering longevity. Kudos, Virginia Willcock."
#44 | 2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay
"Deeply complex and so richly fruited, this is all wrapped in very tautly in a flavor-soaked and seamless chardonnay. Aromas of wet stones, yellow grapefruit, flint, green lemons, fresh oak and white peaches are all tightly arrayed. The palate has mouthwatering punch and crispness. Very assertive and driving with a sleek overall feel, but packed with powerful, pristine white-peach, lemon, apricot and green-mango flavors. So long. This is a modern benchmark. "
#66 | 2016 TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec
"This has a very complex, integrated array of red-plum, redcurrant and mulberry aromas with cedary nuances, as well as forest wood, fresh earth, graphite, pepper, leaves, shitake mushrooms and more. The palate is finely layered with grainy, powerful tannin and gives an overall impression of focused power with deeply rich dark berries, plums, berries and mulberries. Seamlessly composed.. This has a long life ahead."
2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay
"Finely drawn, long and beautifully composed, with insinuating mineral acidity and a savouriness which is not in the least overblown. It reveals waxy, nutty pink fir potato and nougat nuances to its jangly grapefruit, with lightly spun subtle lees influence and crystalline, mica minerality to the finish. Seamless, very classy."
#46 | 2017 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon
"Firm, showing off the region's signature fresh herbal notes, which give this aromatic lift and linger on the finish. Bay leaf, rosemary and cedar details are effortlessly infused into the cassis and plum flavors. A hint of black tea adds to the complexity, as does the seamlessness of the velvety tannins. Drink now through 2035."
We have recently been joined by Ross Potter in the Art Gallery, as part of an artist in residence program in association with 'Tracing the Swan,' the latest exhibition from the Janet Holmes à Court Collection.
Ross Potter is a Kamilaroi man, who was born and raised in Brisbane. Since making a move to Western Australia in 2007, Potter has become part of the Perth art scene working full time as a visual artist. He has been described as a “highly skilled draftsman” and with the use of graphite on paper, he dedicates his time to capturing the details in things that we connect with on a daily basis.
Ross will be working from the Vasse Felix Art Gallery from 29 November - 20 December. We welcome you to stop by for a chat or to peruse his stunning pieces.
The current exhibition - Tracing the Swan - will run until Sunday 7 February. More info here.
MORNING | Grab a fresh juice or smoothie from the Yallingup General Store (Andy’s) at the top of Yallingup Beach Road (open 6am daily). Their smashed avo or a piping hot ham and cheese croissant are excellent if you’re on the go. And if not, we recommend driving around the corner and parking up to watch the surf.
SWIM | Castle Rock Beach is the perfect spot for a relaxing dip. It tends not to be as crowded as some of the more popular locations nearby, but we still recommend getting down there early for a carpark.
SNORKEL | Surfers Point at Prevelly is often overlooked due to the waves, but the underwater canyons there are deeper than most realise and house all sorts of interesting sea life. This one is best before the onshore breeze blows in.
The Aquarium (Yallingup) is of course, a must, and suitable for most ages and abilities.
BREW | A new discovery by the team, the Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. in Busselton, comes highly recommended. Located in a refurbished 1930s home on Marine Terrace, the tap room has up to 25 beers at any one time and hosts food trucks Friday through Sunday from midday. This dog friendly venue has lovely lawns on which to sprawl.
KIDS | Tour with Koomal Dreaming and take a customised cultural journey through the country of the Wadandi people.
See over 30 different species of reptile and amphibian at Discover Deadly, the largest display of its kind in the south west.
The high ropes and zipline course at Next Level Monkey Business is a fun challenge for all ages.
BIKE | The Carter Road trails (creek trails) is a good spot for some mountain biking closer to the Margaret River town. The trails in Meelup Regional Park are great fun if you’re looking for something closer to Dunsborough (parking can be found adjacent to Endicott Loop).
HIKE | The Eagle Bay to Bunker Bay via Rocky Point trail is a reasonably flat walk which mostly follows the coast. Stop in at the Bunkers Beach House café to refuel before turning back for home.
There are a number of walking trails from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse around the stunning bays and beaches of the Cape. A favourite is the trail to Sugarloaf Rock. If lucky, you may be treated to some whale watching during the migratory period September - December.
EXPERIENCE | Experience the wonders of the Margaret River cape with local track specialists, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours on the Cape to Vine Tour. After working up an appetite exploring the wonders of the track, indulge the senses at Vasse Felix. A private tour takes you behind the scenes on winemaking, before a tasting of the wine collection. Then enjoy a five course tasting menu paired with wines at the Vasse Felix Restaurant. The experience completes with a walking journey through the original vineyards of Margaret River, learning about the unique geology and climate of the region that defines the wines of Vasse Felix.
Alternatively, Walk into Luxury’s signature four day Cape to Cape Walk combines four days guided walking on the best sections of the Cape to Cape Track with luxury accommodation and a celebratory four course lunch with matching wines at Vasse Felix on your last day. Guests will enjoy a tasting of the Vasse Felix wine collection, as well as some time to peruse the onsite Art Gallery after lunch. Return transfers from Perth are included.
SUNSET | Take a rug and a bottle of Classic Dry Rosé to the Canal Rocks for an epic sunset. Hot tip - pick up a pizza from Caves House Hotel on the way. We also highly recommend mosquito spray for when the sun goes down.
For the more adventurous, hike out to the Wilyabrup Sea Cliffs to catch the sunset, the shifting hues against the orange cliffs are spectacular.
We are thrilled to share that the 2018 Vasse Felix Chardonnay has again been awarded Best Wine in Ray Jordan's Top 100 Whites.
At 96 points "..the Vasse Felix [Chardonnay], from an outstanding vintage, shows the regional power of Margaret River chardonnay. It sells for under $40."
The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, 2019 Classic Dry White and 2020 Classic Dry Rosé were also selected in the Top 100, from a tasting of over 550 wines. Full reviews can be found below.
2018 Vasse Felix Chardonnay
96pts. Best Wine
"Another stunning chardonnay from Virginia Willcock. This is high-class stuff. Oatmeal and lemon curd on the nose, with traces of citrus. The palate is sublime. There is texture yet it is held close and controlled through to a very long finish. This was initially tasted late in 2019 and after six months, the deep complex flavours started to be released. Bewdiful."
2018 Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
"This is such a cracking-good wine. Absolutely nails the style with power, structure, balance, and poise. Sure, it's an SBS blend, but it's got so much going for it that says this is something special."
2019 Classic Dry White
"Sometimes the extra year improves this classic blend. In this case, it has taken it into another zone. Still has the tropical fruit and edgy gooseberry lemon zest but the dial has been turned down and it's less overt. It makes for terrific drinking right now."
2020 Classic Dry Rosé
"Beautifully fragrant and delightful drinking rosé made from 100 per cent shiraz matured in stainless steel. It's so bright with red fruits on the nose and a subtle spicy character. Perfect drinking anytime but especially when the weather's a little warmer."
More info on the Top 100 Whites here.
A discussion on delicious food and wine pairings to enjoy this festive season, featuring Head Chef Brendan Pratt & Estate Sommelier Evan Gill. Follow the video links below to view their favourite pairings or check out Chef Brendan Pratt's Kingfish, Fenugreek & Maesil Dressing recipe to add a little Summer freshness to your festive menu.
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 The Grocer
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."