West stars: Castle Rock’s latest vintage impresses

by James Wilkinson

Western Australia’s Castle Rock Estate has released its latest vintage wines and once again, they are an impressive bunch from noted winemaker Rob Diletti.

The latest releases include the 2020 Castle Rock Estate ‘Porongurup’ Riesling (AU$25), 2020 Castle Rock Estate ‘Porongurup’ Chardonnay (AU$25) and the 2018 Castle Rock Estate ‘Great Southern’ Shiraz (AU$34).

Diletti said the releases from Castle Rock Estate, located in the small, unique wine pocket of Porongurup in the Great Southern Region, are some of the best in recent memory.

“There was an air of uncertainly across the wine industry,” he said. “Nonetheless, we tackled vintage as we usually do, with the grapes looking particularly good.

“The volumes were lower than average, but the quality is fantastic,” he said about his 20th vintage at the family owned Castle Rock Estate.

In 2001 Rob moved back to Porongurup, helping to design and build the family’s 200 tonne winery. His experience in wineries across Australia and overseas proved invaluable, having had sints at Mountadam Wines, Grosset, Plantagenet, Alkoomi and Jean Grenier in Alsace.

Over this 20 years Rob has received a number of winemaking awards, and judged at many of Australia’s leading wine shows, most recently at Sydney Royal Wine Show, Margaret River Wine Show and Perth Royal Wine Show.

“Judging Australian wine shows gives you an excellent insight into the current trends in winemaking,” Rob said. “Great Southern and Porongurup has a special affinity with Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir, so being able to constantly taste and discuss these varieties with other winemakers is invaluable.

“I can then use this knowledge in the vineyard and winery to constantly refine and tweak our processes, hopefully to ensure a continual improvement in the quality of our wines.”

He said the 2018 vintage in Great Southern was excellent. “In contrast to the eastern states, the consistent rainfall and optimum ripening conditions allowed the Shiraz to be harvested without pressure from the weather,” he said.

“The new 2020 wines show the vibrancy that the region is known for. The Riesling shows its natural acidity and fruit purity with its minerality, talc and ability to cellar.

“The 2020 Chardonnay was fermented in seasoned French oak with the objective of creating balance between the fruit vibrancy and the mealy, oak complexity,” Diletti said.