At the recent Great Wines of the World Grand Tasting 2023, James Suckling declared “The latest wines from Australia’s Fraser Gallop Estate were this week’s highlights of our tastings in Hong Kong.” where 1,200 trade and consumers gathered to taste more than 240 wines from 13 countries around the globe.
The Fraser Gallop Estate line up at the Great Wines of the World
The Fraser Gallop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Palladian 2020 also shined with its fragrance and elegance.”
- Stuart Pigott, Ned Goodwin MW and Claire Nesbitt contributed reporting.
This is not the first time jamessuckling.com has been impressed by Fraser Gallop Estate’s chardonnay and cabernet wines. In 2020 and 2019 the publication also recognised the excellence our wines awarding them scores in the mid to high 90s.
At that time vigneron Nigel Gallop predicted the judges would be even more taken with the 2020 releases stating: “This is Fraser Gallop Estate’s 21st year of operation and we have just completed our 18th vintage. If Nick Stock and Jamessuckling.com are so impressed by these soon-to-be-released vintages I can’t wait to see how they respond to the 2020 vintage when it is released. The quality of the harvest has been outstanding.”
Palladian Chardonnay 2022 – 96 points
So much going on here, from hazelnuts, lemon curd, salted caramel and baked apples to toasted brioche on the nose. It’s full-bodied, buttery and delicious, with lively, bright acidity. Intense. I like the salty caramel undertones on the long and sophisticated finish. Not yet released.
Palladian Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 – 95 points
Fragrant nose of cedar, mulberries, cherries, blueberries, vanilla and mint leaves. Medium- to full-bodied and well-framed, with tight-knit tannins giving it a firm and focused backbone behind the dark berry fruit. Composed and elegant.
Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 – 94 points
Beautifully fragrant red showing aromas of currants, plums, wild cherries, chocolate, hazelnuts and rosemary. Soft and creamy, with polished, very fine tannins and a medium to full body. Long and elegant. Not yet released.
Parterre Chardonnay 2022 - 94 points
This is an elegant chardonnay with layers of roasted almonds, white sesame, apricots, pie crust and peach pits. Full-bodied, nutty and delicious, with a fresh minerality and a creamy and seamless finish.
Parterre Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 95 points
A bright, gently flinty and nutty white showing complex notes of flint, grapefruit, hazelnuts and lemongrass on the nose. Medium-bodied, compact and full of flavor and tension. Not yet released.
“…Margaret River makes some of the greatest Chardonnays on earth …”
Matthew Jukes, arguably the world’s leading non-Australian critic of the country’s wines, recently visited Margaret River as a guest of the WA Good Food Guide Wine Awards.
Jukes’ visit was a whirlwind week of chardonnay and cabernet tastings, judging and events. The full report is detailed in respected publication “The Buyer”.
Here we have extracted some of the highlights.
"Margaret River makes some of the greatest Chardonnays on earth and that single vineyard wines were a vital element in each winery’s offering. Every wine tasted entirely different from the next, and even those wines made 50m apart showed the kind of diversity we have come to expect from the feted wines of Burgundy.
"It is clear that the future is very bright for Margaret River Chardonnay.", says Jukes, "It is incumbent on the wineries in this unique part of the world to tell their story and pour their wine. I, for one, think that they cannot fail to attract consumers worldwide with their superbly well-made and entirely unforgettable wines."
"Fresh and bright, tightly wound and succulent, this is a hedonistic red of elegance and refinement that delivers strong and worthy regional character. Displaying characters of red and blue fruits, sage and bay leaf notes along with woody spice, there’s an overriding feeling of freshness, supported by beautiful tension and a great extension of flavour. A wonderful expression."
On the 2022 Parterre Chardonnay…
”…vivacious…tightly wound, mineral-driven and really charming, almost thirst-quenching with flinty elements, spice, just-ripe stone fruits and almonds going on. There’s exceptional length, and it feels really precise and zesty at the same time. Beautifully drawn, and fine-boned
“The cabernet sauvignon looked incredible with the darkest most intense colours we’ve seen ever all thanks to the smallest berries we’ve seen. The tannin levels were high due to the thicker skins. The reds looked fresh and vibrant as we didn’t allow the grapes to desiccate to raisins in the hotter-than-normal vintage and picked them earlier to retain freshness and the wines looked better for it. These will be incredibly long-term cellaring wines.”
- Clive Otto, Winemaker
Fragrant nose of cedar, mulberries, cherries, blueberries, vanilla and mint leaves. Lifted dark cherry notes and some dark plum, too. A solid dense mouthfeel but still in the elegant frame, more tannin and body this year, a more structured wine. Mid-palate juiciness will develop in time. Black and red fruits are dominant with nougat and tobacco. Some oak spice on the finish.
Medium- to full-bodied and well-framed, with tight-knit tannins giving it a firm and focused backbone behind the dark berry fruit. Composed and elegant.
RRP: $140 Members: $112
“Fragrant nose of cedar, mulberries, cherries, blueberries, vanilla and mint leaves. Medium- to full-bodied and well-framed, with tight-knit tannins giving it a firm and focused backbone behind the dark berry fruit. Composed and elegant.”
95 points, James Suckling
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We West Australians like to think we know what SSB stands for but The West Australian’s wine writer Paul Edwards came up with a different take on SSB recently: ”Stash Several Bottles".
"Typically, Margaret River SSB is considered and early-drinking, dry white that shouldn't be compared with the world-class wines made from chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon..." he says, "Every rule, however, must have an exception to prove it, or perhaps in this case an exceptional exemplar to rewrite the rules".
Mr Edwards put this outstanding wine into the context of a vertical tasting comparing the characteristics of the 2010, 2016 and 2020 Parterre SSB vintages. Explaining the history of this wine, the viticultural background and the winemaking techniques employed by chief winemaker Clive Otto, Paul found much to like.
We think he summarised it rather nicely. “The resulting wines are delicious in their youth, yet even more exceptional after ageing, which is staggering when you consider this wine retails for around $35.”
Our advice is to enjoy the 2020 Parterre SSB this summer as a chilled aperitif at the end of a long day and with some of your favourite fresh W.A. seafood. But as the expert Mr Edwards says, SSB: "stash some bottles.”
Read more about what Paul Edwards has to say in The West Australian (paywall)
Want to find out more? Why not try our Parterre SSB for yourself?
Here at FGE we value everyone who takes an interest in our wine, especially those who share their views via the media, and we are particularly proud of the commentary coming out of the prestigious Robert Parker Wine Advocate in August 2023 around our premier-tier Palladian Chardonnay. In short, The Wine Advocate has, in a vertical assessment of the past six Palladian Chardonnay vintages, provided a ringing endorsement of everything we strive for here, both in the vineyard and the winery.
More broadly, Larkin states: “Under the winemaking direction of Clive Otto, Fraser Gallop has built their reputation on the quality of their Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. I would say the house style is refined and elegant across all varieties. The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay was an astoundingly pure, crystalline, sleek example of Margaret River Chardonnay. It took my breath away.”
Robert Parker Wine Advocate describes itself as the world’s premier independent wine buyer’s website with a database of more than 450,000 tasting notes, scores and reviews from professional critics around the world. For over 40 years, Robert Parker Wine Advocate (a part of the MICHELIN Group of companies) has been the global leader and independent consumer’s guide to fine wine, with its 100-point rating system and in-depth coverage of major wine regions. Needless to say we are delighted by the recognition of such as prestigious arbiter in the world of fine wine. Erin Larkin joined TWA as “Australian reviewer” in 2022.
We make only 3 puncheon barrels of Palladian Chardonnay each year. It’s a rare bird. Palladian wines are a pure expression of the finest grapes selected from the best performing rows of our single vineyard.
The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay is a svelte, sapid iteration of Chardonnay from this region, showing us a peacock-tail splay of acid, fruit and phenolics—each in perfect tension with the others. There are notes of crushed nuts, white peach, layers of brine, sandalwood, saffron curls and orange blossom. What a wine! This is only getting better with age. Superb. The 2021 season was cool, and the Chardonnay wines are precise and focused. Here, so intense! Achingly so. 12.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap.
Under the winemaking direction of Clive Otto, Fraser Gallop has built their reputation on the quality of their Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. I would say the house style is refined and elegant across all varieties. The 2021 Palladian Chardonnay was an astoundingly pure, crystalline, sleep example of Margaret River Chardonnay. It took my breath away.
Once again Fraser Gallop Estate received the highest 5 red star rating in the Halliday Wine Companion describing our house style as “very much on the precise, pure end of the spectrum”.
The Parterre range was singled out once more as offering “consistent, indelible, compelling value for money.”
The wines reviewed in the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion are:
Palladian Chardonnay 2021
“A wine that commands respect, yet it is a wonderful drink. It’s complex and detailed with excellent fruit at its heart, a pulse of refreshing acidity, fabulous smoky oak and hints of funky sulphides rendering this savoury. It lingers long, It’s persuasive. Classy with a capital C.” - Jane Faulkner
Parterre Chardonnay 2021
"One taste and a laser lightshow starts up. This is so racy, juicy and succulent it speeds across the palate. Stop. Reflect. Grapefruit and Meyer lemon, a smidge of creamy lees and lemon curd texture, plus wood spices with the oak seamless. Mostly, it’s mouth-watering, flinty, fine and exceptionally long. Wonderful wine.” - Jane Faulkner
Parterre Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2020
"Even if appealing in youth such an oak-aged style generally needs time to settle and chill out. And this will follow such a route. In the meantime, it’s fragrant with finger lime and snow peas with a snip of fresh herbs and lots of nutty, toasty oak. There’s also a waxy/lanolin character and no shortage of acidity to keep this alive for another 10 years” - Jane Faulkner
Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
As usual, a tiptop Parterre with enticing florals giving way to mulberries and boysenberries, dried herbs, choc-mint and more besides. It’s medium bodied and wonderfully savoury with powdery tannins and great length. And it will age gracefully.” - Jane Faulkner
Palladian Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
"There’s plenty of flavour packed into this from ripe fruit and cedary oak, yet it remains just shy of full bodied and the palate is far from unwieldy. Blackberries, dark cherries coated in all manner of spices with wafts of tobacco and choc-mint. It seems a tad forward but there’s depth and structure, too, with hazelnut skin tannins adding more shape” - Jane Faulkner
“Well I guess you could say the conditions were so rare it was a unicorn vintage”, smiles viticulturist Mike Bolas, “the long, dry and cool season gave us slow, even ripening across the fruit. After 25 years our vines are at an age where very little intervention is required so we had the luxury of picking at the optimum time to allow flavour intensity, tannins and sugars to develop with balance and harmony.
Winemaker Clive Otto is already excited about the wines, “The chardonnay are elegant and fresh with lovely natural acidity.”, he says, “The cabernets are inky and dense, wonderfully intense but with very fine tannin structure. 2023 vintage could easily rival 2018 for top honours. The proof is in the barrel.”
We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labours with you in the future.
Done right, the combination of wine and chocolate can create a symphony of flavours that tantalises the senses.
To create the perfect pairing, consider the characteristics of both the wine and the chocolate. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect match:
Consider the intensity of the chocolate. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa and a more intense flavour, while milk chocolate and white chocolate are sweeter and milder. The intensity of the chocolate should be balanced with the intensity of the wine.
Match the sweetness levels. A general rule of thumb is to match the sweetness of the wine with the sweetness of the chocolate. A sweeter wine will complement a sweeter chocolate, while a drier wine will balance out a darker, more intense chocolate.
Think about the flavours. Certain wines and chocolates have complementary flavour profiles that work well together. For example, a rich, full-bodied red wine pairs well with dark chocolate with hints of cherry or raspberry, while a sweet white wine complements milk chocolate with notes of vanilla.
We've been having some fun with our guests at cellar door and we've found the most popular wine and chocolate pairings include:
When it comes to wine and chocolate pairings, there's no right or wrong answer. It's all about experimenting and finding the combination that works best for you. So, this Easter, grab a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and start exploring the delicious world of wine and chocolate pairings. Cheers to a sweet and savoury adventure!