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2017 Heytesbury Chardonnay

A selection of the most unique and striking vineyard plots, recognised for its innovative winemaking and distinguishing 'Heytesbury' character.



Tasting Notes
COLOUR Bright, light golden straw. NOSE Elegant, fragrant notes of hazelnut, mealy wafer and brioche intertwine with grapefruit, hints of fine lemon pith and honey dew melon. Underlying tones of candlewax, champignon, ginger and fennel also play a part in this complex perfume. PALATE A satin light entrance builds to a long, tangy dry finish filled with delicate characters reminiscent of peach custard brioche, hazelnuts and candle wax, supported by fine lemon pith and anise.
Winemaker Notes
WINEMAKER'S NOTES Our most unique small vineyard sections where clone, aspect and soil interplay in such a way to ignite stunning varietal and wild yeast characters. A beautiful cool season saw Chardonnay picked three weeks later than the last 10 years, with elegant fruit perfumes, ideal sugar levels and high acidity. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged, though it is not an obvious feature of the wine. Due to the cool conditions, 52% of the fruit was Selectiv machine harvested to extract additional fine flavours from the skins before pressing. After settling for a short time, the cloudy juice was transferred straight to barrel. The remaining balance was hand-harvested, whole-bunch pressed and transferred direct to barrel as unclarified juice. The wine was fermented with only natural yeasts from the vineyard and remained in barrel for nine months with some battonage. The fruit was 100% Gingin clone from Wilyabrup and Wallcliffe. A very restrained vintage has produced a young wine that will blossom with time in bottle.
Production Notes
100% Chardonnay
Alcohol %
Cellaring Potential:
Now until 2025
Harvest Date
Late Feb - Early March 2017
French Oak Barrique, 53% New, 47% 1-3 year old, 9 months
Residual Sugar:
Residual Sugar
Bottling Date
January 2018
Vintage Notes

2017 was a cooler and later vintage than the previous 10 years; a year of elegant, perhaps slightly lighter bodied wines, though ripe in flavour, vibrant and very perfumed. Higher than average yields in combination with a cooler season contributed to delayed ripening of the fruit and good acid retention. Some timely warmth and sunshine occurred throughout January, although February temperatures remained moderate with some rainfall. With the cooler weather, canopy management and fruit thinning was imperative to mitigate disease pressures and allow for even, persistent ripening. There was a warm start to March to finish the white harvest, followed by the driest April since 1982, finishing the reds beautifully.

2017 Heytesbury Chardonnay
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  • Excellent - Langton's Classification VII

    Langton's Classification VII

    The glorious and expressive Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay is made up of individual sections of the Gin Gin clone. It evokes an exquisite balance between vineyards, emotional sensibility and technical brilliance. Batch vinification, bâttonage and maturation for nine months in around 60% (barely detectable) new and seasoned French oak results in a benchmark style with superb grapefruit and flinty aromatics, al dente textures and creamy complexity.

  • 98 points

    West Australian Wine Guide 2020 - Ray Jordan

    The best chardonnay yet from Vasse Felix. There is texture and richness but with control and finesse. Layers of flavours, with chalky acidity sustaining the remarkably long finish. Carrying more flesh than some recent vintages but still within the style parameters synonymous with Heytesbury. It's all wild-yeast fermented with about 52 per cent new oak, which has been backed off from recent vintages. A concentrated power-plus wine. 98/100. Drinking: Now to 2031.

  • Matthew Juke's 100 Best Australian Wines

    Matthew Jukes

    This is an even more layered and expressive wine than the awe-inspiring 2016 and it always amazes me when a wine doesn't just remind you of its class and integrity when you taste it, but it actually raises its own bar and redefines its potential. Of course Heytesbury is a great wine. Since the superb 2012 it has rocketed, but this 2017 is something different. The fruit is identifiable as 'Heytesbury-style' but it is the incredible oak delicacy, fascinating powdery texture on the finish and the ethereal lightness of touch throughout which makes this wine so enchanting. Heytesbury has not been a wine I have written the word 'finesse' about before. It is now.

  • 95 points

    The Real Review

    "The wine presents as a distinctly savoury wine on the nose with its profound nuttiness and oatmeal nuances, accented by citrus zest. The palate is graceful and refined, yet powerful as well, with beautiful sweet-lemon flavours which are intense, focused and long. There is gentle savoury complexity, and the acidity is bright and integrated." Toni Paterson "Bright, light yellow hue, with a complex grapefruit and smoky oak bouquet, a subtle nougat background, and the palate an appealing balance between delicacy and refinement on one hand and power on the other. Persistent and promising to unfold more in the future. It's still just a baby." Huon Hooke