The Vasse Felix flagship chardonnay is made from the most striking parcels available each vintage. It is a Margaret River chardonnay icon. Selected batches are kept separate through the winemaking and maturation process, which involves natural fermentation with solids inclusion. These yeast lees are stirred regularly during the nine months the wine spends in French oak, about 50:50 new and second or third use. Importantly, with bright, natural acidity a priority, the wine is not put through malolactic fermentation. As James Halliday said (2009): ‘The mouthfeel and balance are flawless, supple yet focused, all the ingredients – fruit, oak, acidity – in perfect harmony and balance’.
Deeply complex and so richly fruited, this is all wrapped in very tautly in a flavor-soaked and seamless chardonnay. Aromas of wet stones, yellow grapefruit, flint, green lemons, fresh oak and white peaches are all tightly arrayed. The palate has mouthwatering punch and crispness. Very assertive and driving with a sleek overall feel, but packed with powerful, pristine white-peach, lemon, apricot and green-mango flavors. So long. This is a modern benchmark.
97 points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2020)
Light, bright yellow colour with an incredibly powerful bouquet of grapefruit, lemon and spicy oak, all mixed up into a highly aromatic package. The palate is tremendously intense and searingly driven, the finish extended and dramatic. A very smart wine indeed. It's starting to drink very well but will be even better in a year or two. (Aged for 9 months in 42% new barriques, the rest 1 to 3 years old.)
96 points, The Real Review (April 2020)
Lime, pineapple rice pudding, spiced biscuits, a minor amount of struck match. Ripe flavour, all pine-lime, spice and almond, a juiciness of fruit with flinty texture, grapefruit acidity, and a lightly chalky finish of fine length. A come-hither vintage, but ever so tasty. Lovely now and over the next few years.
95 points, The Wine Front (December 2019)
The medium to full-bodied 2018 Heytesbury Chardonnay is rich and dense, intensely concentrated and packed with intricate dried-spice nuances. Notes of crushed stone set the stage, while melon and white peach notes constitute the fruity core, developing taut citrus nuances on the long, refreshing finish.
94 points, Wine Advocate (January 2020)
Heytesbury has always been a yin and yang wine. It has power, structure and depth yet can appear reticent in its youth. The fruit is fabulous. Wafts of lemon balm, ginger cream and spicy oak too but it is all about the palate - linear, long, super fine, a tight acid line, it has a crushed rock character with moreish flinty sulphides - the list goes on. Everything in sync. It's one heck of a classy chardonnay.
98 points, Wine Companion (October 2019)
If the greatest wines of all prove their merit by virtue of rock-solid consistency from season to season, Heytesbury has attained the pinnacle of Australian chardonnay. The pinpoint accuracy of 2018 is breathtaking, with purity and focus that belie its deep, rising, swirling concentration and disarming line and length. Grand cru by every definition.
98 points, Top Ten Australian Wines 2019
It's as if Vase Felix has been working towards this release over years. There is power and finesse and subtle expression. Lemony with cereal notes and roasted cashew. The palate holds it line to a long finish. Naturally fermented with nine months in new and old oak.
A brilliant wine of intensity and concentration yet with sleek, shapely lines. This dials in the sea spray, flint and mineral characters over judicious, soft nougat oak, but the bolshy green apple and stone fruits of Chardonnay are there too. All of this is seamlessly integrated, becoming a symphonic expression of the variety so easily see as superb. A stunning wine here.
96 points, WBM
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.
Vasse Felix was the first commercial vineyard and winery to be established in Margaret River. The name is derived from Vasse (a French seaman who drowned last century while exploring the coastline on the ship Geographe under Captain Freycinet) and the French term for luck. Under the ownership of the Holmes a Court family Vasse Felix has carved an excellent reputation for its superbly made wines. The plush, intensely-flavoured and chocolaty Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Blend – a limited-release, best-of-vintage ‘Grand Vin’ – is a beacon of quality that is included in the Langton’s Classification. The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, also Langton's-Classified, captures regional rather than site-specific characters. Of equal reputation are the exemplary Chardonnays, both the 'standard' Vasse Felix and the flagship Heytesbury. The Shiraz is also excellent. The entry-level Filius range -- a Chardonnay and a Cabernet-Merlot -- offers exceptional quality and value, as do the even more affordable 'ground-floor' duo of Classic Dry White (Semillon-Sauvignon) and Classic Dry Red (Shiraz-Cabernet). Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's