After a successful career in academia and then in international consulting, South African-born Philip and Vivienne Snowden realised their dream child. In 2007 they purchased a picturesque property in Denmark, Western Australia. Grapes had been planted on the property since 1989 giving them immediate access to the fruit of mature vines. Their vision was to make top flight wine, not only from their Denmark property but also from the best grapes that the Great Southern wine district could offer. With daughter Pam and son-in-law Patrick Corbett, the Singlefile team quickly burst onto the Australian wine scene. Named to reflect the daily waddle to the vineyard lake by the family’s flock of geese, Singlefile, in 2014, won James Halliday’s inaugural award for Australia’s Dark Horse Winery of the Year. This was followed in 2015 when their premium ‘Vivienne’ chardonnay scored equal top points with the Vasse Felix Heytesbury chardonnay in Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine review of Australian premium chardonnay.
Singlefile’s Denmark vineyard produces what Denmark is best at, and that is chardonnay. Premium reds, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, are products of the premium Riversdale vineyard in Frankland River. All the wines reviewed below are of gold or silver medal standard and are up there with the best Australia can offer.
2017 Singlefile ‘Family Reserve’ Chardonnay ($50)
Sourced from the home vineyard, this chardonnay displays aromas of crisp stone fruit with a touch of citrus and a subtle whiff of oak. It has been picked a little later than the other Singlefile chardonnays and shows a generosity that makes it accessible at a younger age. Lovely mouthfeel and crisp clean long finish make for very attractive drinking now and even better in 2022.
2016 Singlefile Great Southern Clement V ($30)
The name is an oblique reference to the Avignon pope in Chateauneuf du Pape. It makes a nice change from the bland GSM name that many other wineries use to describe their blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro (Mourvedre). The wine does not disappoint. It has immensely appealing red berry and spice aromas leading to a supple and crisp, savoury taste with soft tannins. Lovely and approachable as it is now but built to keep for five years at least.
2016 Singlefile Frankland River Shiraz ($37)
Less forward than the Clement V, this Shiraz from the Riversdale vineyard has a deep colour and a nose of lifted spice and chocolate. Good clean dark fruits with firm tannins and a generous mouth feel. This wine will show more in 2-10 years.
2016 Singlefile Riversdale Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon ($37)
As is it is in Margaret River, so it is in Frankland. Cabernet is king and this one exudes class. Packed with plum and cassis there is a lovely depth of flavour and a juicy mouthfeel overlaying fine soft tannins and a lingering finish. The wine spent 16 months in new and one-year-old casks yet oak is far from dominating. A serious wine that will go on improving for 10 years but has enough delicious fruit flavours to be enjoyed now.
2015 Singlefile ‘The Philip Adrian’ Cabernet Sauvignon ($80)
Singlefile’s flagship red is made from the pick of the Riversdale crop. As is typical of the classed growths of Bordeaux, it is given the best treatment with the best barrels selected. This is a true “vin de garde” in other words a wine that will keep and show its best with further maturation in the bottle. The wine has typical blackcurrant with hints of chocolate and black olive packed tightly into a firm but fine tannin framework. It is yet to open up but the exceptionally long lingering finish gives an indication of its future greatness.