(2022) The classic southern Rhône white blend, in this case 61% Marsanne and 39% Roussanne from biodynamically farmed vineyards. The Marsanne was fermented in old barrels (puncheons), the Roussanne in concrete vessel, both with wild yeasts. Each variety was matured on fine lees for six months before blending. The aromatic Marsanne leads the aromas with gorgeous honeysuckle and lifted, chamomile fragrance, then a creamy and custardy weight seems to develop, really distinctive with nuances of fig and mango. In the mouth it is textured and medium-bodied, and the very nicely defined acidity keeps it sharply focused; these varieties can sometimes be a little blowsy, but not here. Zesty confit lemon and a touch of saline dominate the finish.
(2022) This Southern Rhône-style blend is mostly Grenache, with 10% Syrah and 5% Mataro (aka Mourvèdre) from a vineyard planted in 1999. Fermented with wild yeast and no temperature control, it was aged for almost year in large oak casks. It's a smoky, meaty and bramble-fruited wine, with a elegant lift that develops aromatically showing violet and kirsch top-notes. In the mouth, so much sweet-toned cherry and ripe red plum fruit, edged with savour, cedary oak and a very polished tannin structure. It has grip and finishes dry, tobacco spices bolstering the fruit.
(2022) From producer Larry Cherubino, 100% Riesling from 20-year-old vineyards, it is dry with only 2g/l of residual sugar. Almost clear as water with a touch of green. The nose is quite subdued, just a little salty and gently waxed lemon note. Very dry, with apple cores and lemon pith, so mouth-watering, a leafy green herb note too. The finish is chalky and talcumy, but bone-dry. You will see this listed as coming from Mount Barker, where Larry Cherubino used to source fruit, but the wine is now 100% from Frankland River.
(2022) Again, less than 2g/l of residual sugar in a dry style, vines are over 30 years old. Much waxier and even a touch towards the paraffin spectrum of aromas, the wine one year older of course and from a warmer vintage. Bone-dry on the palate, this is all lemon juice and lime, a pithy, mouth-watering quality again, but still fresh as a daisy with pristine acidity.
(2022) Frankland River fruit again, the vines are more than 20 years old and with a touch more residual sugar at 4.91g/l. There's a delicate lemon jelly character here, and again small green herb and floral aromatics, a touch of stony/flinty character. The sugar just adds a softening edge to the copious acidity, giving this lovely and quaffable balance. The finish is dry and talcumy, the juiciness of fruit, touch of sweetness and acid in balance.
(2022) Semillon just in the majority here at 52%, the 30-year-old vineyards planted on gravel over limestone at just 4 - 6 kilometres from the coast. Relatively subtle given the Semillon dominance, a touch of elderflower and gooseberry, but lemon and a delicate buttery nuance just discernable. In the mouth really dry and salty/savoury, the fruit very cool and clean, a mouth-watering style with a bit of strictness and stony dryness.
(2022) Vineyards here are 20 kilometres from the coast and 20 years old. Sauvignon makes up 84% of the blend, partial fermentation in barrel, and partially with wild yeast. 24% of the wine also spends some several months on the lees in oak barrels. There's a little sprinkle of crushed oatmeal over vivacious Sauvignon aromas, hinting at tropical but with plenty of citrus too. There's more of the vegetal/herbaceous character coming through on the palate. Tangy, textured and balanced.
(2022) From two vineyard areas, Wallcliffe at 15km from the coast, and Wilyabrup at 4km from the coast. Vines are up to 37 years old, planted on decomposed granit, 83% Sauvignon. 100% fermented in French oak: 15% in new barriques, 85% on larger, older puncheons. Here we are in to much more pungent, vivacious Sauvignin characters, lots of elderflower thiols, the oak barely discernable as a little nutty breadth beneath. The palate is delicious, it has the raciness and punch, and plenty of lime-fresh acidity, but it has texture and creaminess too. No UK listing for this wine at time of review.
(2022) A wine I scored 95/100 when tasted 18 months ago, this was fermented in new French oak barriques with regular lees stirring, followed by 11 months in barrel. It comes from the original 1970s plantings, on gravel over clay soils. It's a riper, bigger style that nods towards the golden Chardonnay era but pulls up way, way short: there's a hint of minty character, but a balancing whisper of flint, and a more tropical fruit quality. Super ripe and sweet fruit on the palate, nectarine and a fat, juicy lemon, an underpinning of nutty oak, but again the acidity streaks through in a classic Old World/New World fusion style.
(2022) This is the GinGin clone with its famous 'hen and chick' grape size variance, very popular in Western Australia in particular, grown on gravel over clay in a vineyard planted in 1985. It was wild fermented in French oak of various formats and spent over nine months in barrel. Very little malolactic or lees stirring. A little more flint here, but also that wild ferment adds a little sauvage quality, a light earthiness and yeasty and much more flinty aspect. Again on the palate this sparks into life, a vivid citrus punch to both fruit and acidity, sherbet-bright over the peachier tones and subtle Brazil nut butteriness. Big salty lick of minerality in the finish. Note: Yapp Bros is currently retailing the Forest Hill wines but is not showing the Block 8 cuvée at time of review.