As the moderate climate of Margaret River is becoming Australia’s centre of premium winemaking, Vasse Felix are leading the pack in recognition and can, in fact, lay claim to having been there first. It was the founder Dr Thomas Cullity whose planting experiments were confirmed when in 1966 experts identified Margaret River as a near homoclime (same climate as) Bordeaux. Luckily those commissioning the studies, and the local newspaper that published the details, had no idea how significant they were, and in 1967 Cullity had little competition in finding the best site - which he cleverly did in redgum country with red gravel above and clay lying below. Here at Margaret River’s first vineyard, Vasse Felix, he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec and Riesling. The latter variety was to be the label’s first success (in 1972), showing the white wine promise of the cooler Margaret River, which is now as famous for Chardonnay as it is for Cabernet Sauvignon. Regarding Cabernet itself - which is the winery’s flagship - the acknowledged experts at Vasse Felix have a distinctive take on this variety, revealing the elegant and aromatic nature of the grape so that that at times it seems to compare as much to Burgundy as it does to Bordeaux. With an established reputation but also the strictest artisanship and organic, sustainable practices - including being on the cutting edge of industrial recycling - Vasse Felix are not only masters of their art, but stayers in the game.
What The Critics Say
97/100 James Halliday (2016 vintage)
"A wine all about finesse and length - extreme length. The inexorable drive and logic of the bouquet and (in particular) the palate leaves little room for argument, although plenty for discussion. Pink grapefruit, pear, nectarine and a satin bow of oak are all as one." Drink by 2030
93/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Joe Czerwinski (2016 vintage)
"The 2016 Heytesbury Chardonnay is a pristine, focused example of the variety as grown in Margaret River. It seems more crystalline and pure, less opulent and showy than previous vintages, although I must confess a bit of ambivalence about that. Pineapple and citrus dominate the nose with just subtle oak shadings (although it's typically 50% or more new). It's medium-bodied in the mouth with a soft, custard-like richness and a silky texture that fades slowly away on the lemon-tinged finish." Drink 2017 - 2025
17.5/20 JancisRobinson.com, Richard Hemming (2016 vintage)
"Toffee and cream, then a contrastingly bitter fruit element that sets up quite a punchy acidic zip on the finish. Just enough dairy character to add complexity and richness without unbalancing the style. (RH)."
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