You wouldn’t know it from this svelte, balanced, bright-eyed Chardonnay, but 2021 was one of the most challenging vintages Margaret River has seen.
It was a cool season overall in this region of Mediterranean climate and ocean influence – and there’s nothing wrong with cool, except that there was 40 per cent more rain than the 10-year average and February was the wettest in two decades.
Disease threatened the vineyards at every turn and not every producer held it back as successfully as the Vasse Felix team, who credit their commitment to organic cultivation for producing healthy, ripe grapes in the end.
As Margaret River’s first wine estate and with the multi award-winning Virginia Willcock as chief winemaker since 2006, Vasse Felix has experience on its side too.
Filius (‘son of’) is Vasse Felix’s approachable entry-level Chardonnay, but there’s more to the 2021 than affordability and drinkability. Wild ferment, seven months’ ageing in French oak barrels (13 per cent new) and sensitive lees stirring have given gentle cashew-nut complexity and creaminess to the honeysuckle, melon and pear aromas, the citrus and green-apple fruit and grapefruit zing.
It works well as an aperitif, but also pairs effortlessly with scallops and other seafood, salmon, white fish, pasta and chicken, including in cream, light cheese or lemony sauces, and with quiches. 12.5%. Empty bottle weight: 549g.
Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
£12.99 in any 6-bottle mix, £14.99 single bottle, Majestic