Faisan Estate Range
Faisan Estate is a small (4.5ha in total) vineyard planted at 780m on the slopes of Mount Canabolas, Orange, the vines originally planted by Col Walker in 1992 with son Michael now running the show.
What I like about these wines is that sense of bony delicacy – they’re light, crisp, high acid wines, built sans excessive fruit sweetness and structurally assured. Conversely, that acidity can look more than a little hard at times, the mintiness also palpable, all pointing to what looks to be a really quite marginal site and divisive wines. I like the sense of genuine expression regardless.
Faisan Estate Chardonnay 2010 (Orange, NSW)
12.5%, Screwcap, $30
Lovely aromatics – it smells oh-so-fresh and pure, with lavender and jasmine, alongside richer, butterscotch yeast and sawdust oak characters. The yeast and oak is sitting on top of the fruit at present, though there is fruit purity and power. Perhaps the only challenge is just how jagged the acidity is, all lemon juice and cutting edges.
Can this integrate? I hope so, for there is serious promise underneath.
Score: 16.8/20 89/100+
Would I buy some? No. If it integrates? Maybe.
Faisan Estate Pinot Noir 2010 (Orange, NSW)
13%, Screwcap, $35
Why does Orange Pinot continue to underperform? More UV? It’s hardly too warm. How can Chardonnay work so well here, whilst Pinot Noir struggles?
Proper cloudy coloured (all Pinot should be cloudy. That’s the rules). Ripe, extractive nose has that obvious bacon bit character of much riper climes, Red cherry fruit too, the style trying to be pretty but still a dry red underneath. Sappy and extractive palate lacks the flesh to drive it forward, the mid palate cut with mint and the tannins raw and unripe. Everything here points to both under and overripeness, making this ultimately the lesser wine of the trio.
Score: 15.5/20 86/100
Would I but it? No.
Faisan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Orange, NSW)
14%, Diam, $55
Now we’re getting serious. Fine boned, elegant Cabernet indeed. Back label reads – ‘Built for the long haul, if you can resist’. 140 cases produced.
Lovely fragrant nose. Dusty cassis and cherry kernels, eucalypt and dusty books. Initially, a little minty but not unripe, it’s fragrant and quite pretty actually, a Cab from a borderline climate, but fresh because of it. Nice vanilla icecream oak underneath. Palate again shows that ‘just ripe’ character, the style fresh and minty, acid driven yet still with some prime cassis fruit in there. Long, long tannins and quite an attractive drink.
A classic example of very caring winemaking in a marginal site, I keep coming back for those quality fine grained tannins in particular, even if it will always be a fraction minty and delicate wine.
Score: 17.5/20 91/100+
Would I buy it? No. If it was in the cellar I’d wait a few years and probably really enjoy it. Price is right up there regardless.
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