The more wines I see from the Great Southern, the more impressed I become. And that’s saying something, because for the past couple of years I’ve been looking at 300-400 wines from the region per year. Traditionally, the Riesling has been the superstar, however now we can comfortably add shiraz, cabernet, chardonnay, ‘other white varietals’ (think gewurtzraminer) and ‘other reds’ (think tempranillo, grenache and others). Has this region got it all? Perhaps.
Galafrey Wines was established in Mt Barker in 1977 by Ian Tyrer (1946 – 2003). These days, the winery is run by his wife Linda, and daughter Kim who is the winemaker. Galafrey are responsible for small batch, classy and delicious wines, and should not be missed.
Interested in why they called it Galafrey? OK maybe you’re not… but the reason is good. Let us set the scene for you (taking of course a bit of artistic license)... It was on a dark and stormy night in the late 1970's, when a group of like-minded mates met up for dinner and drinks in Mt Barker. They got to chatting... one of them had an idea to start a winery. But what to call it? The night wore on... more wine was consumed and many topics were raised, Dr Who among them. Gallifrey is the home planet of the Doctor, Rani and the Time Lords. Gallifrey is a cool word... why don't we call it Galafrey? Like the tardis, this was a big idea in a small package. So if you see a Dalek on their social media feed, or in the winery, or anywhere around a Galafrey wine – now you know why.
These two wines happen to be from the same winery, but were picked from a blind tasting of 35 wines – split across shiraz and riesling. The riesling I knew immediately was from the Great Southern. To me, fewer styles from WA speak of their place more clearly, than G.S. riesling. The Galafrey shiraz was a surprise I will admit – my notes say “McLaren Vale?” because I usually associate the blackcurrant creaminess with that region.
2016 Galafrey Dry-Grown Reserve Riesling, Mount Barker
“Typical Mount Barker acidity – like a coiled spring. Tight, racy and with floral flourishes, this dry-grown riesling from Galafrey just smells so typically of the Great Southern that it makes me smile as I smell it. Fine minerality, ripe citrus, bursts of brine and lime blossom, this has finesse, power and a lightness of touch all at once. YES. A bargain at $25. 92 points.”
2014 Galafrey Dry-Grown Shiraz, Mount Barker
“I have to say – this surprised me. In a blind tasting where we looked at shiraz from all over Australia, this has a creaminess, concentration and completeness that I associated with the eastern states… but even better – it’s a WA wine. Ripe, concentrated, redolent with sweet red berries, plush cassis, hints of anise, licorice, and black berry. There is spice, and opulent fruit, but it’s tempered by drying tannins and modest alcohol. Elegant and deeply satisfying. Recommended. 94 points. $30”