Vasse Felix, Tom Cullity, Margaret River, Australia

This wine will be featured during Friday’s Around the World  Panel-Led Tasting

Vasse Felix is a notable wine producer in the Margaret River region on Australia’s west coast. The estate is divided into four vineyards: Home, Adams Road, Boodjidup and Karridale. The different terroirs and microclimates in these vineyards make for a diverse range of grape characteristics, and site selection is essential.

The cooler sites, like Karridale, are best for producing grapes with higher acidity, while warmer sites like Adams Road produce rich, ripe wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay dominate the vineyards, but there are also plantings of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon.

Vasse Felix’s icon wines are the Tom Cullity and Heytesbury, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wine and a varietal Chardonnay, respectively. The two wines are sourced from the best parcels in the vineyards and are both aged in French oak – the red for 18 months and the white for nine. Both have considerable age-ability.

The estate was established in 1967 by Dr Thomas Cullity, and the first vintage was in 1971. This was not a great success for Vasse Felix – the fruit had been attacked by birds in the weeks leading up to harvest. A falcon was employed to scare the birds away, but this also proved unsuccessful as upon release, it promptly flew away.

Producer’s Tasting Note: Beautiful deep red ruby color. Elegant and complex, opening towards intense fruit with herbs & spices. Classic structure with elegant tannins, flavors of fruit and black spices, and a long-lasting, velvety finish.

Critic’s Tasting Notes: Critic tasting note: “Reminiscent of Margaret River’s towering eucalyptus, marri flowers, dusty red earth, and salty Indian Ocean breeze. red currant and black cherry swirl with graphite, iodine, savory spice and dried violets. Powerful and poised, with downright sexy tannins that cradle the fruit rather than cinch it.

Vintage Notes: Heavy winter rainfalls recharged soil moisture levels, ideal for our dry-grown vines. A modest spring enabled moderate crop levels, and while the growing season felt cool, it was in fact warmer across daytime average temperatures in the lead-up to harvest. There was a “mega blossom” of the Marri trees – the most blossom in living memory – keeping bird pressure to almost zero. Vintage timing was on average, with minor rainfall freshening red vines for the finish. A long, dry, warm Indian summer followed, with no heat spike events. One of, if not the best, Cabernet Sauvignon vintages of the decade, with ultra-fine, perfectly ripe tannins, moderate sugars and good natural acidity. Vibrant colors. Complex and lifted aromas.

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