The Grace Farm style of sauvignon blanc semillon (SBS) favours complexity over simplicity by integrating the freshness of stainless steel tank fermentation with the flavour, structure and texture provided by 10% barrel fermentation in new French oak. The style offers the possibility of enjoying the fresh fruit character of each variety when young, and showcases the strength of each in the blend, but it also allows the wine to age beautifully and develop texture as it ages.
The 2016 Season
Hot, dry weather in late January was a gift following a 70mm down pour that fell mid-way through the month. The white grapes were beginning to soften as the rain came down and threatened to split the delicate skins. After the sky cleared it was over to monitoring the vineyard for signs of mildew and bunch rot. Fortunately the grape skins withstood the moisture and dried out with no signs of disease. As warm weather returned vineyard conditions improved and the sugars and pH levels started to rise. Picking started in mid-February with the semillon first and the sauvignon blanc three days later. Both varieties arrived at the winery in pristine condition and were ready to be transformed into wine.
The 2016 SBS is a blend of 70% sauvignon blanc and 30% semillon. The semillon was crushed and immediately pressed. 400 litres of turbid semillon juice was taken directly from the press before clarification for wild yeast barrel fermentation in two new French oak barriques. The remaining semillon juice was clarified by flotation at 14 degrees Celsius and inoculated with Laffort X5 yeast.
The sauvignon blanc was picked in the early morning on February 18 and was crushed and immediately pressed. 400 litres of turbid sauvignon blanc juice was taken directly from the press before clarification for wild yeast barrel fermentation in two new French oak barriques. The remaining juice was also clarified using flotation to increase the amount of solids in the juice to be fermented. It was stirred daily for four days before wild yeast fermentation began. A week later it was inoculated with Laffort X5 yeast.
Cool ferment temperatures were maintained in both the barriques and tank to keep varietal aromatics at their optimum. After six weeks of barrel fermentation all the wine was blended in a single tank. Gentle processing meant that no fining was required.
Alc. 12.8%, pH 3.29, TA 6.3g/l, RS: 2.5g/l
What makes the Grace Farm vineyards so special?
We're situated in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of the Margaret River wine region, in the lee of the Leeuwin Ridge in Wilyabrup. The maritime influence provides cooling breezes which ameliorate the effects of summer heat and produce elegant flavour profiles in the wines. The vineyards are characterised by the distinctive forest grove soils which are typically of low to medium fertility. Sauvignon blanc and semillon vines are spur pruned on a single cordon wire with a vertically trained canopy and are managed with biological inputs such as compost, fish emulsion and kelp.
Grace Farm is featured twice in the February/March edition of Australia's most widely read wine magazine, the Halliday Wine Companion. The introduction to the feature on Margaret River can be seen below. We are thrilled with the coverage and honoured to be mentioned alongside some of Margaret River's finest producers such as Voyager Estate, Ashbrook Estate, Clairault-Streicker, Flowstone, Arlewood Estate, Marq Wines and Deep Woods Estate. Thanks for the kind words!
"Tim Quinlan’s phone number is on the Grace Farm sign for all to see. If the viticulturist is out in the vineyards when a passer-by calls up to drop in, Tim will stop what he’s doing if he can and meet them at the house onsite. There, he will pour the four stellar wines in the Grace Farm range and share their story in his endearingly laidback way. It is an incredibly authentic ‘cellar door’ experience and if it doesn’t leave you with a lifelong affection for the brand, there may well be something wrong with you.
The Grace Farm experience flies in the face of many perceptions of Western Australia’s Margaret River. While there are certainly bigger, more established wineries across the region, there are smaller, emerging ones too. The common thread though is quality. As last year’s Margaret River Wine Show chair Corrina Wright says, the wine region is a “triple threat”. “They have amazing chardonnays and cabernets, and their sauvignon blanc semillon blends are pretty bloody good too,” says the Oliver’s Taranga winemaker from McLaren Vale. “And they’re really killing it in rosé. It made me a bit depressed!”
All this becomes clear on a tour of the region. Sample the wines from any of the 100-odd cellar doors and it’s impossible to ignore the consistency across the board. Just don’t underestimate the distances across this vast wine region. As one of Australia’s largest, it stretches around 100km from north to south and about 27km wide in parts. Designated drivers have a job on their hands here, particularly as each cellar door warrants a visit in its own right."
You can book at tasting with Tim Quinlan via this link.
On page 73 of the magazine you can also find a brief interview with our winemaker Jonathan Mettam.
This month sees the release of our most highly-awarded wine, the 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet sauvignon is arguably the flagship varietal of the Margaret River region and certainly one that Grace Farm prides itself on. Viticulturist Tim Quinlan and winemaker Jonathan Mettam share their thoughts on what makes the Grace Farm Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon so exquisite:
"Margaret River cabernet is particularly special because the maritime climate and dry summers allow for physiologically ripe grapes which are rarely herbaceous and provide a sweet core of blackcurrant fruit with exceptional texture and structure.
"Careful shoot thinning and leaf removal in the vineyard expose the bunches to day-long sunlight and even ripening through all areas of the vine canopy. From picking through fermentation, preserving the essence of the pristine ripe fruit is key - the Reserve fruit expresses the quality of the soil in which it is grown.The powerful cassis fruit comes meshed with the granitic earthy goodness, and the ripe tannins, velvety and fine, are matured in the finest French oak, which supports and cradles this fruit.
"The key is to let the fruit sing, and the winemaking builds the stage that allows this. The remarkably fine tannins and succulent red fruits allow for drinking now on a special occasion or for cellaring for up to 20 years to transform the tannins into silky perfection."
With limited production, four gold medals, four silver medals, a 96-point rating in James Halliday's Wine Companion and a 97-point rating in Ray Jordan's West Australian Wine Guide, we expect this wine to sell out with ease.
Members of the Grace Farm Wine Club are entitled to a discount off this wine. Join the Club to find out how.
"This is just so varietal perfect for cabernet sauvignon. The bouquet of leafy black olive, cigar box and black currant is classically varietal. The palate is concentrated and powerful, yet also so elegant and stylish. The oak and tannin combo is so perfectly weighted and applied. Great wine and the best yet from this emerging producer."
97 points, Ray Jordan's West Australian Wine Guide
"The best parcels from four estate blocks have been selected for this wine. It has vivid, deep purple-crimson colour, and is more intense and structured than its estate sibling; it is akin to a 2yo First Growth Bordeaux: its quality is laid out in stark letters, but it's a long way from being even half-ready to drink."
96 points, James Halliday's Wine Companion
GOLD Qantas Wine Show of WA 2015
GOLD Australia & New Zealand Boutique Wine Awards 2016
GOLD Perth Royal Wine Show 2015
GOLD Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2015
SILVER Royal Sydney Wine Show 2016
SILVER Australia & New Zealand Boutique Wine Awards 2015
SILVER Australian Small Winemakers Awards 2015
SILVER Margaret River Wine Show 2015
This crimson clover cover crop (see image above) provides a natural source of nitrogen for Grace Farm's vines. The pink nodules on the clover's roots (see image below) contain a haemoglobin-like protein. So, just as our blood carries oxygen throughout our bodies, these nodules transport life-giving nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. It's just another piece of the 'feed the soil' philosophy that contributes to the ability of our wines to express the amazing terroir of Grace Farm.
Grace Farm viticulturist Tim Quinlan with chairman of judges Huon Hooke.
Ten years after planting its first vines, Grace Farm has been awarded the Max Lake Memorial Trophy for the best Chardonnay at the 2016 Australian and New Zealand Boutique Wine Show Awards with the 2014 Chardonnay.
The small Margaret River producer received the trophy at the awards dinner at Manjit’s @ The Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney on Monday 11 July 2016. The Grace Farm 2014 Chardonnay also received trophies for best white wine and best wine of the show. Gold medals were awarded to both the Grace Farm 2015 Chardonnay and 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (both wines are yet to be released).
Accepting the awards on behalf of his family, an elated George Mair acknowledged the efforts of viticulturist Tim Quinlan and winemaker Johnathan Mettam: “We are fortunate to have an extraordinary vineyard site whose attributes deliver exceptional fruit. However, it is thanks to the vision, talent and dedication of Tim and Jono that the fruit shines in the Grace Farm Chardonnay we are all enjoying tonight.”
Back in Margaret River the Mair family toasted their success: “This year marks the 10th anniversary of our first vineyard plantings and to achieve this recognition in a short time confirms we have something special to offer,” said owner John Mair. “The site has the potential to deliver the absolute best wines that Australia’s south-west region can offer.”
Located mid-way between the capes, close to the coast and cross-cut by a regional drainage line and its tributaries, the sloping vineyards maximise the mineral rich soil profiles, while offering differing facing directions to suit varieties that flourish in the Margaret River region.
Sustainable farming practices, including inter-row cropping, mineral-based fertilizers and careful water management, contribute to the wine’s quality.
Attention to detail underpins both the viticulture and winemaking. Fruit for the 2014 Chardonnay was hand-picked, whole bunch pressed, allowed to ferment naturally and aged in new and aged French oak barriques for around 10 months.
The Boutique Wine Awards are dedicated to providing a platform for small wine producers throughout Australia and New Zealand to benchmark against their peers.
To order the 2014 Chardonnay now please click HERE. To be notified of the release of the gold-medal-winning 2015 Chardonnay and the 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon be sure to join the Grace Farm Wine Club HERE.