Clive Otto and the wines of Fraser Gallop

Clive Otto and the wines of Fraser Gallop

Brendan Jansen MW: 15th August 2020

After working at Vasse Felix winery from 1989 to 2006, Clive Otto joined Fraser Gallop wines. This is his 14th year at the helm as chief winemaker. All of Clive’s wines, even those that he makes for other growers in Margaret River, have his stamp of elegance and understated austerity.

The benefits of working in a single vineyard site such as Fraser Gallop is that Clive can essentially use the same winemaking techniques for each of his wines – for example employing wild yeast ferments and the same coopers each year – so that vintage variation can easily be evident.

There are three “levels” of Fraser Gallop wines – the Estate, Parterre and Palladian – each offering excellent value for money.

I attended a tasting at Lamont’s Cottesloe hosted by Clive and tasted the following wines:

Fraser Gallop – Estate – Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 2019

Reflective of the cool vintage, this was fresh but has a palate feel suggesting time on lees and perhaps a barrel component. 70% Semillon, I daresay this will age well for another 5 years +.  17.5/20

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Semillon Sauvignon – Blanc – 2018

From the warmer 2018 vintage, 54% Semillon. Whole bunch pressed to barrel, with use of 500l puncheons and 265l long barrels (akin to pipes) to maximise effects of 9 months on lees. Superb depth. Ageworthy. 18/20

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Chardonnay – 2014

Despite bottle-age quite youthful, opened nicely, gentle palate. Light toast Burgundian oak well integrated. 17.5/20

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Chardonnay 2018

Tropical fruit and zesty acidity come to the fore here, with warmer vintage showcasing the Gin Gin clone. Malolactic avoided, both puncheons and barriques employed, 30% new, grapes refrigerated before pressing. Intense flavours. 17.5/20

Fraser Gallop – Palladian – Chardonnay – 2018

Only 2 puncheons made each year. Specific vineyard selection of east-west rows, on gravel soil. Different tone to this wine – deeper, superb mouthfeel. More toasty oak evident giving spicy even peppery edge. 18/20

Fraser Gallop – Rose – 2018

This was made from Chenin Blanc (55%) and Muscat Rouge a Petits Grains (45%). Ultra-dry, ultra-pale, minerally and fruity at the same time. I actually think that one could treat this like a white wine and age it for a few years. 17.5/20

Fraser Gallop – Rose – 2020

More in a Provencal style, again ultra-pale and dry, this was made from Shiraz grapes. 17/20

Fraser Gallop – Estate – Cabernet Merlot – 2018

Hand-picked, destemmed, no crushing, whole berry cold soaked, with Clive’s signature combined plunging and pumping over technique. Superb colour, Margaret River faithful, and perhaps best quality-for-price ratio. 18.5/20

Fraser Gallop – Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017

More structured and Bordelais, reflecting Clive’s experiences in Pichon Baron. Grapes were crushed and a warmer ferment used, with more traditional barrel-to-barrel racking. One for classical palates. 18/20

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017

Open fermenter, hand plunged, then transferred to barrel to complete fermentation, portion of new oak. 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, with licks of Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Concentrated and “serious”, will evolve for over 10 years. 18/20

Fraser Gallop – Palladian – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016

The best rows of Cabernet Sauvignon – 100% destemmed with cold soak, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% new French oak barrel-fermented, and 100% delicious! A wine of class and aristocracy! 18.5/20

Brendan Jansen MW