Stay in touch with the latest news and happenings at Vasse Felix, in Margaret River and on tour around the world.
As we navigate this intense time, in the middle of Vintage in the Winery, it's good to stop and celebrate the wins. And we're thrilled with the recent news that Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock has been named 'Winemaker of the Year' in Vintage Cellars 2020 Best of Awards.⠀
"For a winery to be able to maintain a consistent level of quality across its range - from the midweek drops through to the ultra-premium labels - seems somehow implausible, almost a pipedream of sorts. But that's not the case for Margaret River's Vasse Felix, headed up by the renowned Virginia Willcock, one of Australian wine's leading lights and one of our most admired winemakers."⠀
A selection of wines from the Vasse Felix wine collection also featured in the Best of Line-up, including the Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon which was awarded 'Best of Premium Red Wine.'
Winner - Best Of Premium Red Wine
Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon
"Our panel of experts found this wine intense yet elegantly structured, and quite extraordinary for its colour, unique aromatic structure, freshness of flavours, finely sculpted tannins and overall harmony. Notes of blackcurrant and red cherry intertwine with cedar and lavender. A vibrant palate displays raspberry, blackcurrant, wood spice and sweet tobacco leaf, leading into a rich volume of fine, extending tannins."
No. 6 Finalist - Best of Premium White
Vasse Felix Chardonnay
"A perfume of white peach and ocean rocks; a palate that shows the same peach with lemon pith and cashews; a mouth-wateringly fresh acid finish."
No. 2 Finalist - Best of Value Red
"Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon dominate this lean, dry blend showing plum, spice rack and old Jamaican chocolate. Nicely structured, with plenty of earthy tannins."
No. 4 Finalist - Best of Value White
Classic Dry White
"Enjoy passionfruit and citrus peel aromas. This blend combines semillon's elegant floral and citrus aromas with tropical-influenced sauvignon blanc."
More on the Best of Awards here.
2020, what an unusual and trying year around the world. Some Australian wine regions were unable to have a vintage due to the impacts of bushfires. Others, like us, are now completing their vintage in self-isolation mode, doing everything in our power to finish our harvest and ferments healthily in these uncertain times.
A year like this does remind us to be grateful that we are in a region like Margaret River. Our isolation, pristine environment and consistent maritime influence have kept us relatively safe during vintage, with excellent ripening conditions and exceptional fruit quality. The only downside was lower yields for all varieties.
The yields were due to a few factors, rather than a specific incident. There were colder than average Spring conditions in 2018 when the fruitful nodes formed for the 2020 vintage, resulting in a lower bunch-set. In the Spring of 2019, varied incidents of hail, winds and rain impacted flowering and fruit-set across our four vineyards, creating low bunch weights.
The great positive outcome of low yields and small berries is exceptional fruit with divine concentration. While the 2020 vintage from Margaret River will be in scarce supply, it will be a very special vintage to look out for.
Over December and January, warmer than average conditions with no rainfall events created ideal ripening conditions with no disease pressure. The harvest of Chardonnay began on 30 January, which is relatively early, supporting the notion that lower yields combined with ideal warm, dry weather ripens the fruit more rapidly. Sustained heat in January and February also meant a quick harvest of white varieties with Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc all complete by 26 February. Very rarely does the white harvest finish this early. During this period, the Marri trees blossomed extensively, which kept bird pressure off the vines. With only one block covered, we likely overdid the netting!
The sustained warm conditions brought the red harvest on early. Shiraz was the first to be harvested on 24 February and Cabernet Sauvignon began on 6 March. A small drop in temperature in mid-March and some minor rainfall incidents allowed the majority of Cabernet Sauvignon to remain longer on vine to achieve measurable softening and ripening of tannins which will reward in the wines. At the same time, the Marri blossom ceased and nets were required on every possible block of red fruit to protect from a large number of birds. After a week of the most incredible sunshine and warmth, Tom’s finest old blocks were the last to be harvested on 27 March – remarkable conditions to finish on.
Our top blocks of Chardonnay are exceptional, with wonderful wildness, complexity and beautiful ripeness. With the fast ripening, there is incredible retention of natural acidity. Some malolactic fermentation will be allowed. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are in a lovely place – not too ripe, not too green; just right. Shiraz loves a warm year and the 2020 Shiraz is showing attractive ripe flavours with medium weight. The Cabernet Sauvignon is dense with dark fruit and strong tannins. Although a muscular vintage; fine, medium bodied Cabernets will be achieved.
17 March 2020
A Message from Vasse Felix re: COVID-19 Temporary Closure of Restaurant and Cellar Door, Effective Saturday 21 March
Please click here to read the full message.
The situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly. We don’t know how bad it might be or how long it will be around. What we do know is that it is, and has been, very bad in some places around the world, and that dramatic and decisive action, if taken early, can help ‘flatten the curve’ substantially.
Vasse Felix welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world each year at our Restaurant, Cellar Door and Art Gallery, so we are acutely aware of our responsibility to protect the health of our staff, our visitors, and the broader Margaret River community at a time like this. Accordingly, we have been monitoring the situation and public health messages very closely and have already implemented a range of strict hygiene and social distancing practices throughout every part of our business.
We are also acutely aware that the 2020 vintage – which has the potential to be another spectacular, if low yielding, vintage in Margaret River – is still underway. Risking the successful completion of our harvest due to disruptions caused by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic is a serious concern for us.
Taking everything into account, and mindful that the situation is changing rapidly, we have now decided the best course of action is to temporarily close our Restaurant, Cellar Door and Art Gallery to the public from Saturday 21 March until at least the beginning of May.
We believe that by taking these meaningful and decisive steps now, we will protect the health of our staff and visitors and do our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ for the benefit of the community as a whole, while also ensuring we make the best wines we possibly can from this vintage.
These are strange and unsettling times for everyone, but we are hopeful that we can re-open and return to our full hospitality and tourism offering in early May, better and stronger than ever. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our team with any questions you might have or for any wine orders.
Paul Holmes à Court and the Vasse Felix Team
Vasse Felix Restaurant
• Closed to the public from Saturday 21 March until early May
Vasse Felix Cellar Door
• Closed to the public from Saturday 21 March until early May
Vasse Felix Tours
• Unavailable until early May
Vasse Felix Wine Sales
• Wine sales by phone, email and online remain available for customers and trade, and are encouraged. Our phone and emails will be staffed daily.
• Direct, full case orders will receive Free Shipping to Australian addresses.
• For people in the Margaret River region over Easter and during the school holiday period, we will make a ‘click and collect’ wine service available. Contact us for more details.
Vasse Felix has won a Gold medal and Judges Selection at the 2020 TEXSOM International Wine Awards, hosted recently in Dallas, Texas.
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon | Judges' Selection Medal - Australian Red Wine
"This gorgeous complex, wine is multi-layered and shows an energetic palate with cassis flavors lifted by mint."
"Founded in 1967 after a year-long search for the perfect site, Vasse Felix established Western Australia’s Margaret River as a pre-eminent region for restrained, world class wines made from Bordeaux grapes. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is lithe, with pure, expressive blue fruit and fine polished tannins; sage, spearmint, and green herb notes accent the fruit with taut energy. Youthful vigor promises graceful development, befitting the winery’s reputation for age-worthy wines. This wine delivers all that you’d expect of a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon."
2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay | Gold Medal
Both the 2017 Chardonnay and 2015 TOM CULLITY received a Bronze Medal in their respective varietal categories.
For over thirty years, the TEXSOM Awards "brings the industry together to identify and champion wines of quality and distinction from around the world." Entries are blind-tasted and judged by over 70 judges. Over 45,000 wines from all over the world were tasted at this years event.
Find the full list of results for the TEXSOM 2020 International Wine Awards here.
It's always exciting to enjoy a wine that's been in your cellar for years. You've been patiently waiting to drink this special bottle and you want to be sure it's in best possible condition when you serve it. Estate Sommelier, Evan Gill, takes us through the process of decanting and its importance for both young and old wine wines.
Young, structured and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, even the most poised, balanced and elegant Margaret River wines, can benefit from decanting in their young age. Through the introduction of oxygen, decanting can help bring to life complex components that have been 'trapped' in the bottle. Allowing oxygen into a young Margaret River Cabernet is like sunlight to a young vine in spring, it helps to open up the beautiful flavour compounds and structural elements of the wine.
Aged wines, 10 years and older, tend to accumulate sediment over time when cellared. Whilst it's an important piece of a good aged Cabernet, it's best to decant these wines before serving to remove the sediment.
Evan's Decanting Tips
1. Stand the bottle upright before decanting so the sediment may fall to the bottom.
2. Pour the wine steadily into your decanter, fast enough to allow a steady stream without causing excessive bubbling of the wine. Stop pouring when the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle.
3. Allow the wine to breathe in the decanter, this can mean anything from a couple of minutes to perhaps one hour. Discretion is advised with older wines (20 years or so) so as to not aerate the wine too much.
4. Taste the wine and watch it come to life!
The City of Perth comes alive in Summer for February's Perth Festival. As the oldest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, it has become one of the greatest multi-arts festivals in the world.
We were pleased to be the exclusive wine partner at the Chevron Lighthouse music hub, featuring Vasse Felix wines, delicious street food and a line-up of local music legends and acclaimed international artists. Participating in the festival for the third year in a row, we are a proud supporter of the outstanding muscial and artistic talent that the Perth Festival brings to the region every year.
We couldn't think of a better way enjoy the end of summer in Perth. Find out more information on the 2020 festival and the performances here.
We are thrilled with the recent recognition of Vasse Felix Chief Winemaker Virginia Willcock, who is featured in The Drinks Business inaugural 'Master Winemaker 100'. This Top 100 list takes a 'behind the scenes' look at the most talented winemakers responsible for the world's most award winning wines; exploring the "the creatives, scientists, mavericks and dreamers at the pinnacles of winemaking, who craft class-leading products."
For Virginia, it simply comes down to "creating something new and beautiful every year that represents a moment in time and a specific place that fruit came from." This focus on exploring the complexity and potential of the Margaret River region has inevitably led to Virginia making an indisputable mark on the industry in the process.
Find the full interview with Virginia here.
Vasse Felix was pleased to sponsor the 2020 International Woolmark Prize as the events official wine partner for the second year in a row. The International Woolmark Prize is one of fashion's most prestigious prizes, with previous winners including Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, giving recognition to the emerging designers of the industry. The Woolmark group is the global authority on wool and runs an ongoing program to showcase Australian wool as the world's premier natural fibre for luxury apparel.
The 2020 event took place at London Fashion Week, showcasing the work of 10 finalists. These designers compete for the International Woolmark Prize and the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. The winner of the overall Woolmark award was Richard Malone and the inaugural winner of the Karl Lagerfeld award was Bode (both designers pictured below).
It was a pleasure to be a part of this exciting event in fashion, supporting a like-minded Australian producer whose ethos of the 'importance of place' reflects our own.
Find out more about the prizes, winners and event here.
Alongside the world's most iconic wine regions, Margaret River has found a well earned spot among Wine Enthusiast's '7 Best Wine Travel Experiences of 2020'!
"What do world-class Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon have in common with legendary surf breaks? Margaret River."
The featured destinations include Kruger National Park in South Africa and Douro Valley in Portugal, as well as, the internationally renowned wine regions of Piedmont, Italy and Champagne, France. Among these sits the 'Wine Paradise' that we call home.
"After you tackle the waves, relax on a coastal stroll that skirts the sapphire-hued ocean. Sold as the Cape to Vine Tour by Vasse Felix winery, you’ll explore the flora of the protected sand dunes, then get a behind-the-scenes look in the wine cellar and taste alongside the winemaker."
We are delighted to see our incredible Region recognised by Wine Enthusiast. Read the full article here.
In early December we were delighted to host the Australian Chamber Orchestra's critically acclaimed 17-piece string ensemble, ACO Collective, for another three day festival of music, wine and culinary art at the Vasse Felix Estate.
Led by Director Pekka Kuusisto, guests enjoyed the incredible performance, amplified with the acoustics of the Red Barrel Hall, followed by a delicious dining experience in the Vasse Felix Art Gallery amongst the Janet Holmes à Court Collection.
Dr. Laetitia Wilson, Curator of the current exhibition 'Enigmas of the Outback', joined guests in the Art Gallery for a deeper look into the exhibition which explores the mysterious and enigmatic Australian outback.
The weekend's menus, designed by Head Chef Brendan Pratt, were created to both complement and highlight the unique characteristics of the Vasse Felix Wine Collection.
Highlights of the performances included:
Andrea Tarrodi Birds of Paradise | Performed on Friday at "The Beat."
Bryce Dessner Aheym for string orchestra | Performed on Saturday at "Enigma."
We are eagerly anticipating the 2020 edition of the Sound and Sense Festival, celebrating the pinnacle of Australian food, wine and music.