Stay in touch with the latest news and happenings at Vasse Felix, in Margaret River and on tour around the world.
We are thrilled to be named in The Real Review's 2021 Top Wineries of Australia at #18, out of more than 400 Australian wineries.
Now in its fourth year, the ranking is based on the top scoring wines of each winery tasted by the Real Review team. We are humbled to see that our wines are so highly regarded by this team of respected wine critics.
On Vasse Felix's ranking at #18, Huon Hooke of the Real Review said the Estate is best known for "Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay at several levels, all of them exemplary. The flagship Cabernet Malbec Tom Cullity 2017 is the best yet, while the Heytesbury Chardonnay 2019 is a masterpiece of age-worthy refinement and charm."
Explore the full list here.
Compost production has kicked off in our vineyards for Spring 2021 application!
This season's mix consists of Vintage 2021 grape marc, woodchip, hay and cow manure. The pungent mix will help to build good soil structure and feed microbial life in the soil, enabling healthy vine growth.
The composting process will take around three months before being applied to weaker vines this coming Spring.
The 2016 TOM CULLITY has been awarded Judges' Selection Medal in the recently announced TEXSOM 2021 International Wine Awards. In addition, the 2019 Heytesbury Chardonnay was awarded a Platinum Medal, while both the 2018 Vasse Felix Chardonnay and 2017 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon were awarded Silver Medals in their respective varietal categories.
These wines were selected from over 3,400+ entries from around the world, and blind-tasted and judged by over 70 TEXSOM judges. Explore the judges' comments on the 2016 TOM CULLITY below.
2016 TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec | Judges' Selection Award Country - Australia Red
"A vivid and complex interplay of black fruits, crushed herbs, star anise and violets. Full bodied and foursquare, structured around firm tannins with a lengthy, impressive finish." TEXSOM Retreat Mentor Editor, Sarah Jane Evans MW
"From Margaret River’s founding estate, the 2016 Tom Cullity is one of those wines that makes you say “Damn, that’s good!” Sourced from the original vines planted by Dr. Cullity, this blend of Cabernet (78%) and Malbec (20%) with a dash of Petit Verdot (2%) is deeply perfumed with ripe wild berries, violets, bay leaf, and fine cedar. The palate is supremely elegant – powerful without being weighty, with lush fruit balanced by fine ripe tannins and superbly integrated oak. The finish is exceptionally long with a saline note. A wine that is gorgeous at the moment and will only get better with time. Buy a case, enjoy some now, and then savor the evolution." TEXSOM Retreat Writer, Kaysie Rogers
The TEXSOM International Wine Awards bring the industry together to identify and champion beverages of quality and distinction from around the world. Find the full list of results for the TEXSOM 2021 International Wine Awards here.
With the bustle of Vintage 2021 behind us, late Autumn found our team out on another maintenance visit at our 'adopted' section of the Cape to Cape Track, the 123 km coastal hiking trail which runs along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge.
As part of the 'Friends of the Cape to Cape Track' initiative, we are responsible for caring for a particularly spectacular and rugged section of the track from North Point to Miamup Brook. Throughout the year, our team regularly perform maintenance on this 'adopted' section of the track, including light pruning, minor erosion control, bush rehabilitation and litter collection, doing our part to preserve this incredible Wine Paradise.
Big thank you to our team for braving the elements, and to Cellar Manager, Tim Fearon who coordinates these track visits.
For those interested in exploring the the Cape to Cape Track, we recommend local track specialists, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours with whom we offer a Cape to Vine Tour. More info here.
On Friday 7 May, we explored the world of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, tasting unfinished Cabernet barrel samples from the 2020 vintage.
Over 40 Margaret River producers generously shared Cabernet barrel samples for the annual tasting, providing a wealth of invaluable insight into the incredible 2020 vintage.
Rob Mann of Corymbia led the discussion on the vintage samples, with input from our own Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock.
A significantly warmer vintage compared to previous, producers benefited from investment in the vineyards, including labour intensive practices (such as leaf plucking and netting) and sustainable farming practices.
Broadly in this warmer year, Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is showing incredible drinkability, with dense fruit, medium body and strong tannins. While it was an impressive showing across the region, particular standouts included Cabernets grown in the South, as well as those grown in close proximity to the ocean.
Rob left the attendees with one of his favourite insights; "People drink wine for enjoyment, and drink cabernet for enlightenment." Cheers!
Follow @vassefelixwines for more snaps of this colloborative Regional event.
Excitement is building for the new 2017 TOM CULLITY as the first of the critic reviews are released.
Ray Jordan who reviewed the new release recently said; "Vasse Felix delivers a masterclass in understated elegance."
"..it [2017 TOM CULLITY] delivers with an understatement and tightness that takes a little time to get your head around."
While Huon Hooke of the Real Review named the 2017 release "the best Tom Cullity to date."
Most recently, the new release was tasted alongside two previous vintages by Langton’s Auction Specialist Michael Anderson and Master of Wine Ned Goodwin who pronounced the 2017 TOM CULLITY "quintessential Margaret River." You can catch their virtual tasting here.
Explore the full reviews below. Offically available May 1, we'll be sharing more details on this restrained and ethereal vintage soon, including a very special TOM CULLITY takeover at the Estate. In the meantime, explore the story of the TOM CULLITY here.
Huon Hooke, The Real Review
"Deep red/purple colour with a very fresh, nuanced, aromatic bouquet loaded with blue and red fruits, cedar and high-toned flowers, violets to the fore. A totally gorgeous bouquet, very fresh and primary but also complex and detailed. Very fine tannins; extremely long carry. A supremely elegant, sublime wine that finishes right out with impressive extension. Clearly, the best Tom Cullity to date."
Ray Jordan, The West Australian
"This is an 82 per cent cabernet-dominant blend, making it the highest percentage of cabernet of any of the release to date. Immediately strikes as the most restrained, elegant and medium bodied of any of the vintages. A deal of tannin astringency is evident on the palate, but it sits snuggly within. Fine, silky tannins and what appears to be about an average amount of new French oak consistent with the rest of the wines, with 2016 being an exception. To me, this is a wine you will drink earlier before the others are ready, but it is still a very good wine."
Tending to our 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon parcels.
During vintage, these ferments can undergo pumpover up to three times a day. Ensuring the yeast and tannins are exposed to the right amount of oxygen for beautiful softening in the tannins and life in the wine.
Follow us on Instagram for more, @vassefelixwines.
By Chief Viticulturist Bart Molony
& Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock
As of 2021, our four vineyards are NASAA Certified Organic. The dedication to nourishing vine and soil health naturally has been vital to the successful growth of quality, balanced and disease-free fruit that has been self-resilient in a year of peculiar weather challenges.
It was a cool and wet start to the season through spring, with rainfall double the long term average in November. From the outset, intense programs of leaf plucking and biological controls to mitigate fungal disease risk were activated with military precision. This put us in a strong position for the predicted La Niña weather system (last experienced 2011 vintage). True to form, La Niña created a strong cyclone season in the north of Western Australia in February and early March, resulting in unusual warm and moist conditions for the south-west. Disease pressure from Botrytis was a major risk throughout the season that we proactively managed against. With judicious canopy management and a crop of thick-skinned grapes, we are pleased to say that fantastic quality fruit has been ripened and harvested with little-to-no disease in our vineyards.
After a fortunate hot and dry December and January, the Chardonnay harvest commenced 12 February. This was a week later than anticipated due to a rainfall incident in early February. This rainfall soaked deep into the soils which was actually great timing for the Cabernet Sauvignon to have a drink. Warm weather followed, ideal for the Chardonnay to achieve ripeness with good acidity and fruit weight, similar to 2017.
Most of the Chardonnay had been harvested before another ‘hold your breath’ moment, when a second rainfall incident in early March had us very nervous. The downfall was intense. Luckily the water ran off the ground to the waterways, so the fruit was barely impacted. We watched and waited for what would happen next, seeking sunny and breezy conditions to dry off the fruit to progress on with healthy ripening. Happily, these arrived soon enough and the balance of whites including Sauvignon Blanc - which is a stand out this season - were harvested in the following two weeks.
The Cabernet is ripening nicely and its harvest timing is expected to align with recent years. We are feeling good about it. Overall, yields are acceptable, however bunch weights from some sections of the vineyards are below expectation due to spring conditions.
Finally, a huge thank you to all those who chipped in to help pick grapes in 2021. We had a diverse team including stranded travellers, retirees wanting to help out, young locals on their gap year and our regular Afghan families who pick grapes and prune the vines each year. We truly appreciate your efforts in helping make 2021 a great vintage.
2021 Shiraz whole bunch ferments.
Over the years, we've been increasing the portion of whole bunch fermentation and carbonic maceration, for the vibrancy and complexity it brings to the final wine.
This style of fermentation requires regular plunging to ensure the skins impart incredible colour, flavour and tannins to the wine. These beautiful Shiraz parcels will soon be pressed to older French Oak Barriques for maturation.
Follow us on Instagram for more, @vassefelixwines.
It was a particularly exciting hand pick yesterday, as we began harvest of Tom's old vine Houghton clone Cabernet blocks.
Grown on original roots, in the ancient gravel loam soils of our Home Vineyard site, these blocks have lived through all the grape-growing years known to Margaret River and remain strong with consistent yields and berries.
Half a century on, they remain our trusted indicator of quality for Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and guide the direction of each vintage of our Icon, the TOM CULLITY Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec.
Follow us on Instagram for more, @vassefelixwines.