Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling 2017
The wine leaps out of the glass with perfumed white citrus florals, spice and grapefruit. A real generosity and poise on the palate. Ripe juicy limes upfront, with a crisp acidity that carries the fruit all the way into a long saline, mineral finish. Elegant yet powerful, it builds layers in the mouth as the wine opens up. Consistent with the now well-established Isolation Ridge style this wine reflects both the low-yielding, dry growing conditions of this site. The balance of pristine fruit flavours and defining acidity result in an exceptional wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared with the confidence as it will continue to develop further complexity for many years to come.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a pristine, ultrafocused and age-worthy example of Aussie Riesling from one of Great Southern’s leading producers. It bursts from the glass with notes of lime leaf, white pepper, honeysuckle and dried green herbs. The mouthfeel is chalky with intense acidity and fresh lime and herb flavors. Give this time to morph into a thing of exquisite beauty. Drink 2021–2034. Quintessential Wines. Editors’ Choice
Hint of petrol in the nose; crisp and dry with bright peach and citrus; smooth, fresh, and long.
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 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 resulted in us gaining organic certification in 2009 with our 2010 vintage wines being released with the certified organic “bud” logo.
A large, climatically diverse country with incredibly diverse terrain, producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry conditions and those in coastal areas receiving tropical, maritime or Mediterranean weather patterns. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety; Barossa Valley leads the way, producing exceptionally bold and supple versions. Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia's second most planted variety, can be blended with Shiraz but also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône Blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version and Semillon is often blended in Margaret River or shines on its own in the Hunter Valley. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.