Vasse Felix Heytesbury Red Blend 2002
Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine estate and was established in 1967 by regional pioneer Dr Tom Cullity. Pristine isolation, twin oceans and ancient soils make Margaret River a wine paradise - the ideal environment for growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The wines are grown in Vasse Felix’s four vineyards situated throughout Margaret River, then estate-made and bottled within the state-of-the-art Vasse Felix winemaking facility. Vasse Felix wines are recognised benchmarks in Margaret River and Australia, and the Estate is one of the country’s draw-card winery destinations. Vasse Felix has four beautiful vineyards located in selected sites throughout Margaret River, including the region's oldest vineyard our Home Vineyard in Wilyabrup. Each Vasse Felix vineyard site has been selected for its unique soil structure, topography and microclimate. The best suited grape varieties have been matched to each vineyard, and specific rows and blocks have been planted to correspond with the above factors. All wines are made and bottled within Vasse Felix's beautifully equipped winemaking facility, enabling full quality control of every bottle. Every parcel of fruit is kept separate from the time it is harvested, through its unique fermentation style and maturation, creating precise, site-expressive wines. This approach enables traceability back to each individual vineyard block. With this visability, the viticulturists and winemakers can work more effectively with the soil and vine structure to refine and improve quality, beginning in the vineyard.
Home to some of Australia’s most elegant and long-living red and white wines, Margaret River is situated in the farthest reaches of Western Australia. Relatively warm and dry, the region is cooled by breezes from the Indian Ocean. Margaret River takes some inspiration from Bordeaux, producing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon with firm structure, mouthwatering acidity, balanced alcohol and notes of herbs and spice. Complex, age-worthy Chardonnays are another regional specialty. Also common here are refreshing blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, as well as earthy, aromatic Bordeaux red blends.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.