It’s that time of year. The James Halliday Wine Companion for 2016 has just been published. The Doyen of Australian wine scores (and so much more) has the ability to make or break any winery who submit their bottled hard work for assessment. James also selects a “Dark Horse” winery each year, one that has flown under the radar and is destined for bigger things. Singlefile were James’ Dark Horse Winery of the Year 2014 and it’s quite easy to see why. Located in the Great Southern GI and also sourcing grapes from near-by Pemberton in Western Australia, they’ve picked up a swag of golds at wine shows right across the country for the wines. from tight Rieslings, expressive Pinot Gris, fragrant Fumé Blanc, elegant Chardonnay and regal Cabernet. So let’s take a Dark Horse for another canter….
Run Free “Serendipity” Cuvée, Chardonnay/Pinot, Pemberton, NV
60% Chardonnay. 40% Pinot Noir. A tiniest hint of blush: The Pinot gives a red fruit blossom to an attractive, mealy nose with some soft yeasty autolysis complexity. Full-ish on the palate with a lightly creamy mousse. Muted lemon citrus, SAO biscuits with pleasant red currant and strawberry tones. Crunchy acidity cleanses off nicely. More-ish and drinkable. A cut above your “aperitif” style, this can handle some weightier foods. Bring on the Smoked Salmon blinis.
Singlefile Pinot Gris, Pemberton, 2014
If you’re going to do Pinot Gris, do it right. Single vineyard (Stoney Crossing). Wild ferment with 30% in second use-French Oak. Fermented dry and left on lees for 5 months. This is how you do it.
Light gold/straw in the glass with an almost translucent toffee highlight. Smells of brown pear skin, light spice, toasted almond flakes and mandarin citrus. Bittersweet grapefruit and lingering mandarin citrus. Clove spice adds complexity. Toothsome extract from that little bit of barrel work and time on the lees. Finishes bone dry with an almost Manzanilla like quality.
Singlefile”The Vivienne” Chardonnay, Denmark, 2012
Singlefile’s Flagship Chardonnay and named after the family Matriarch. Made from predominantly Gin Gin clone Chardonnay grown on north-west facing, well-draining Karri loam soils. Hand harvested over 3 pickings: 24th February, 15th March and 26 March. Whole bunch pressed into 30% new and older French oak. Ferment on full solids with “ambient” yeasts and then 7 months lees ageing. Powerful stuff, and that’s just the tech sheet.
The glass is 60 centimetres away from me and I can smell the cedary oak and concentrated lemon. Complex melon rind, yoghurty/buttery funk, candle wax, bran and a hint of pineapple. Exquisite balance. Strong flavours without being overt. Almost understated, humble. Tight lines of fruit and ‘minerality’: lemons and quartz. A touch of creamy vanilla/curd tempers the Young Turk of acidity. The oak brings spice and the mouth feel is joyous. Simply wonderful.
Singlefile “The Philip Adrian” Cabernet Sauvignon, Frankland River, 2012
Singlefile’s Flagship Cabernet and named after the founder and family Patriarch. 100% Houghton clone Cabernet. Cold soaked for 10 days for extraction. Matured in 60% new French (Bordeaux) oak, 30% in 1 year old and 10% in 2 year old barriques for 15 months.
Aromas of rich bramble, mulberry and blackberry. Slight graphite and black olive hint with smoked beef/bresaola/twiggy stick meatiness. Mature (as in grown-up) and profound nose. Lovely dark black fruits with blackberries, mulberries and even a touch of black cherry. Finishes with lovely ash-like complexity. Flavours run deep and long, yet restrained for the moment. Almost a lean, miserly palate and doesn’t reflect the alcohol content. Tannin is super-fine, almost sandy. The oak doesn’t dominate, even in the youth. Interesting to see where this will go in the next few years. Wait ’til then.
All wine samples courtesy of Singlefile Wines