A Good Idée
Tony Cox thought it would be a good idea to test drive the latest passion from the house of Vasse Felix.
Idée Fixe literally translates as obsession or passion and represents the latest step in the Vasse Felix story which commenced in 1967.
With Vasse Felix already well-established in the northern area of Margaret River and producing chardonnay and cabernet that comfortably sit at the upper echelons of both varieties in Australia, the purchase of vineyards situated in Karridale in the cooler southern area of Margaret River, where they discovered Champagne clones in the vineyard, gave rise to the opportunity to grow cool climate chardonnay and interpret that as sparkling wine.
The vineyard is sited on calcareous soils which means it is rich in calcium, a feature of the Côte des Blancs in Champagne where chalk soils are home to chardonnay grapes that feature in some of the greatest and long-lived Champagnes – think Salon, Krug Clos du Mesnil among many splendid drinks.
Whilst not putting the Idée Fixe wines at the same level as Salon et al they represent an exciting new sparkling wine range, focused on chardonnay, which promise to be a third premium string to the bow of Vasse Felix in conjunction with chardonnay and cabernet.
The two wines are a blanc which is 100% chardonnay; and the rosé which is 91% chardonnay with the addition of 9% still pinot noir, both made using the traditional method.
Let’s start with the 2019 Premier Brut Blanc de Blancs. Featuring handpicked fruit and gently-pressed free run juice; the trademark chardonnay flavours of green apple and lemon are immediately obvious. With a fine acid line and saline edge towards the back of the palate it is a wine that makes the perfect aperitif or would sit comfortably next to some freshly-shucked oysters.
The 2019 Idée Fixe Brut Rosé features 91% chardonnay stained with 9% pinot noir. On the palate the power of the pinot noir was evident, with the aged oak nuance from the pinot noir providing mid-palate breadth to complement the drive and freshness of the chardonnay.
This is a wine that comfortably can be enjoyed with duck as a main course and at this early stage of its life would be better served in a burgundy glass rather than a flute to allow the wine to open up.
Idée Fixe is the culmination of the desire to produce exemplary sparkling wine in the Margaret River wine region, a fixation Vasse Felix has held for decades. The dedicated sparkling wine production facility, physically independent from Vasse Felix which lies in the northern area of Margaret River, is sure to guarantee a total dedication to extracting the highest possible quality from their exemplary vineyards. Enjoy!