Broadvale Block 6 has always held a special place in our hearts. This small east-facing block has an intriguing back story – one steeped in exploration, evolution, and an explosion to boot – that saw it emerge as one of the most exciting parcels of Chardonnay on our Estate and a cult favourite among the team.
It all began with a seemingly humble discovery. A small area on the western side of the property littered with stony, gravelly soils and large chunks of quartz, capturing the morning sun with protection from westerly winds. To most it would’ve looked insignificant, but the team recognised the potential in the dirt almost immediately. A small block on totally uniform and exceptional soils – the perfect spot to plant the French clone, Dijon 95.
The decision was made in 2004 to move ahead with planting the site – an exercise that proved challenging at first. Hiding below the soil were large granite boulders, preventing us from installing the necessary trellissing to grow the vines. Eventually, after much trouble shooting, the team resorted to loosening the granite with explosives!
In those initial years, the vines really struggled as they took up root in the soils. The first two crops yielded nothing exciting. However, with a bit of perseverance, the vines developed leaf cover and strength and the team knew they had something special. As our organic farming methods evolved and brought more biodiversity to the site, the vineyard started to thrive, and the Chardonnay developed more elegance and purity.
Over time our team have discovered that, as a juice, Broadvale Block 6 fruit ferments naturally due to the lower sugar levels at harvest. The flavour profile builds nicely during ripening and is quite distinctive – think aromatic white flowers, gentle lemon, grapefruit, and lime. The vines, rooted in granite and flinty chalky rocks, contribute a saline minerality and water cracker texture which has been likened to the wines of Corton from the iconic region of Burgundy.
Our team works with specific oak coopers, forest origins oak and just the right toast level to accentuate these unique characters. The sum of all parts is an atypical expression of Margaret River Chardonnay with a savoury, fine-boned structure, and a fantastic energy; a single-site wine that reveals a unique snapshot of site and season and represents both a spirit of determination and our passion for crafting true expressions of place.
Over the years, it has also reinforced the need for us to stand back and let the fruit do the talking. The block’s inherent elegance, coupled with Margaret River’s signature underlying power, has always required a lighter touch and our team have been careful not to get too ‘fancy’ with technique. It’s a guiding philosophy that has inspired and informed our journey to organic certification and is now front of mind when crafting all our wines.
The 2021 vintage brought a mixed bag of weather across the region. In Stevens Valley, we had good early season growth followed by some November rain and hot, dry early summer conditions. February brought some extra rain. Our organic farming had the vineyard in terrific shape to deal with any challenges, and Broadvale Block 6 was harvested with lovely fruit purity and an exciting acid drive – another release that the team are exceptionally proud of and thrilled to share.
Voyager Sommelier, Claire Tonon says of this year’s release, “2021 provided a wonderful growing season for our Broadvale Block 6, the cooler ripening conditions helping to really showcase the Dijon clone’s pristine, yet delicate, lime and white flower prettiness. Combined with malo-derived creamy texture and a light butterscotch note, beautifully balanced oak and tight natural acidity, this wine has it all! I would suggest decanting for best drinking in its younger years and for those with patience, this wine will truly blossom with the integration of six to eight years’ bottle age.”