Hunter Smith & Brian Kent
In a 1955 study of potential grapegrowing sites, renowned Californian viticulturalist Dr Harold Olmo identified Frankland River as one of the most promising prospects in Australia. The wines of Frankland Estate prove he was right. They display finesse and balance and an incisive expression of cool-climate winegrowing.
Founded by Judi Cullam and Barrie Smith, this is indisputably one of the nation's most important and consistent Riesling producers. For many years now the release of the single-vineyard Rieslings from this domain in far-flung Great Southern has commanded attention and respect, as attested to by Nick Stock’s observation that Isolation Ridge Riesling "has now become so consistently great, it is a liquid tribute to the dedication of the Cullam family, to their vineyard and winemaking".
The reds have likewise long been recognised as wines of pedigree with a strong sense of place. But things have gone up a level. Since 2010, second-generation winemaker Hunter Smith has been joined in the winery by brother-in-law Brian Kent. They’ve determinedly set about building on the tremendous progress made since Judi Cullam and Barrie Smith planted the first vines on Isolation Ridge 30-odd years ago. Hunter and Brian have focused on every detail of their technique, produce and – most important - organically farmed vineyard, with the ultimate aim of realising Frankland Estate’s immense potential. Now we see how that hard work has eased into being a suite of brilliant wines, divided between the Estate range, the single vineyards and the flagships. All confirm Frankland Estate as a leading light among Australia’s terroir-driven winegrowers.