The Rockcliffe vineyard started as an apple orchard in Denmark, which was planted to dry-grown vines in the late 1980s. In 2002 it was purchased by Steve Hall and in 2007 he was joined by Coby Ladwig, from West Cape Howe, and later Luke Eckersley, from Forest Hill. With this experience the winery has become diversified into single vineyard and regional wines as well as contract winemaking with a generous portfolio of wines. This tasting focused on the Quarram Rocks and Third Reef ranges, which are named after local surfing spots around Denmark. Rockcliffe has a generous portfolio of wines with the Third Reef Chardonnay and Shiraz being the standout wines.
2016 Quarram Rocks Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, $21
This is a very nicely balanced cool-climate blend with a great lifted floral nose and tropical aromas. The palate is clean, crisp, full of citrus flavours and finishing with grassy Semillon. This is lively, easy drinking blend ready for summer.
2016 Third Reef 2016 Riesling, $25
The Third Reef Riesling are Chardonnay are very well made wines. The Riesling is a lighter, 11.5% alcohol, but does not lack anything in punch. Blossom and lime aromas are intense and lead to a full palate of green apple, citrus and steely acid. A combination with some fresh Albany oysters would be sublime.
2015 Third Reef Chardonnay, $30
The Chardonnay is also a surprise packet with a strong French protocol, including whole bunch pressing, wild yeast and barrel fermentation. Delicate aromas of nectarines, lime and French oak add to the complexity. On the palate there is full, fresh fruit with a lingering softness and persistence. A very Burgundian wine with a twist of Denmark – certainly one for my cellar.
2014 Quarram Rocks Shiraz Cabernet, $21
This wine ticks all the right boxes for this blend – plenty of berries, some soft tannins, plums and spice. A medium-bodied wine ready for drinking and would be great with roast lamb.
2015 Third Reef Pinot Noir, $30
Pinot is a challenge for any winemaker and Great Southern Pinot fruit has a great reputation. The 2015 Third Reef has great structure for a young wine. Big cherry flavours combine with delicate tannins to make this a very drinkable wine. Aged in French oak for 10 months, it has plenty of potential and would be fantastic with gamey meats.
2014 Third Reef Shiraz, $30
This is a real beauty. Spicy, complex and brooding aromas merge into a palate of big fruit and savoury flavours. A “Syrah style” cool-climate Shiraz with a long, generous palate. This was my favourite of the reds and would only improve with medium to long term cellaring.
Click HERE to find out more.