Castle Rock Estate highlights the potential of Great Southern

Castle Rock Estate has released its new vintage 2019 Castle Rock Estate ‘Skywalk’ Riesling ($20) along with the 2017 Castle Rock Estate Shiraz ($30), both from the Porongurup sub region of Western Australia’s Great Southern.

Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year finalist and Castle Rock Estate owner and winemaker Rob Diletti admits that the Porongurup region is still being discovered by wine drinkers. “It’s varieties such as Riesling and Shiraz that will help propel Great Southern’s reputation as a world class wine producing region.”

“The 2019 vintage was one of the toughest, with a dry 12 months and then rain in the lead up to harvest. The success really came down to good vineyard management, ensuring we got through relatively unscathed,” explained Rob. While the quality of grapes was good, the yields were around 40 per cent lower than average.

“We aim to produce Riesling with fruit purity, finesse and balance; wines that reflect this unique Australian region. 

“We make over a dozen Rieslings from Great Southern, from a range of vineyards, and experience has proven that the best winemaking technique is to know what not to do. I try to keep the winemaking as simple as possible with a view to letting the uniqueness of the vineyard come through.”

The new 2017 Castle Rock Estate Shiraz was fermented in French barriques (25 per cent new) with 20 per cent fermented separately as whole bunches and blended back prior to bottling. 

“We obviously try to capture the best from the vineyard and although the 2017 vintage was dry, the fruit ripened beautifully.  The region’s cool maritime climate is perfectly suited for growing medium bodied Shiraz. The aim is to produce a varietal wine with a generous palate, savoury and silky texture, fine tannins and an elegant finish.

“Much of the focus remains in the vineyard where we are constantly trialling various practices to increase quality and prevent issues and disease during harvest. This year we trialled running the harvester over the vines in December to remove the flowering debris and old blossom, thereby reducing botrytis pressure, as this can be where fungal infections can start. The trial was quite promising.”