Frankland Estate produces limited quantities of chardonnay sourced from low-yielding Mendoza Clone vines in the Isolation Ridge vineyard. This clone of chardonnay is renowned for its millerandage or ’hen and chicken’ combination of large and small berries in the same bunch. This results in low yields, especially where the proportion of small berries is high and, typically, produces highly concentrated flavours.
In recent vintages with the aim of making our chardonnay fresher and tighter focused we have carried out extensive trials of earlier picking dates, more careful fruit selection criteria and the use of larger barrels for oak treatment.
The current release of Frankland Estate Chardonnay reflects the lessons learned from these trials. The earlier picking dates are reflected in a more tightly focused, firmer-structured wine with higher natural acidity but no less intensity or complexity in fruit flavour. Our trials with larger barrels allowed us to obtain the textural benefits of oak treatment without running the risk of imparting too much oak flavour into the wine.
The result is an elegant, complex wine with peach, nectarine and grapefruit flavours supported by refreshing natural acidity and subtle oak.
|Frankland Estate was established in 1988 by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam who continue to be actively involved in every aspect of the vineyard and winery. They are now assisted by their daughter Elizabeth Smith, son Hunter Smith and a small, hardworking team who enjoy the diverse and idiosyncratic challenges associated with working in a family business.
The Isolation Ridge vineyard lies on part of a farm where the family have run a wool growing enterprise since 1974. The decision to diversify their farming interests was inspired and informed by a tour of French vineyards Barrie and Judi undertook in 1985 and also by two vintages they worked at Chateau Senejac in Bordeaux.
The winemaking philosophies at Frankland Estate reflect these influences as well as the hard-earned lessons gained from some 17 vintages in the Frankland River region.
Our approach to winemaking is based on the principle that the most significant characteristics of a wine come from the soil and the vineyard environment. We aim to make wines that reflect nature rather than the hand of the winemaker. This is the basis of our commitment to sustainable farming and to working the land in accord with the cycles of nature. We carefully nurture the health of the soils in our vineyard and only take from our vineyards as much as can be replaced by natural processes.
Our use of viticultural practices will result in us gaining organic certification in 2009 but is already evident in the complexity, depth and intensity of flavour in our wines.