MARGARET RIVER - WESTERN AUSTRALIA
After earning his master’s in winemaking, 1683’s founder Gordes Frobenius learnt to farm, pick and vinify pinot noir and chardonnay over numerous vintages with two of Burgundy’s best: the venerated Eric Rousseau at Domaine Armand Rousseau, and Jean-François Germain, ‘the grower’s grower’, at Henri Germain.
After seeing what great winemakers could coax out of these grapes in their ancestral home, Gordes was ready to learn what similarly skilled hands could achieve in the Antipodes. This curiosity led to vintages with Timo Mayer in the Yarra Valley, Woodlands in Margaret River, Felton Road in Central Otago and Dirty Three Wines in Gippsland. While these experiences have proven invaluable, Burgundy remains his north star. Since 2018, Gordes has made wine using the same classical, non-interventionist ethos that unpins the region’s very best Grand Crus, and he remains in close contact with his French mentors.
The climate in Wilyabrup and Margaret River, while in some ways more advanced and difficult than Burgundy’s, is capable of producing wines of equal poise and elegance – with the added benefit of cooling sea breezes that regulate the hotter weather. The wines are on some of Burgundy’s top restaurant wine lists already, so it seems like 1683 is off to a good start.
Gordes Frobenius about his label:“The keenest eyes will also notice the label for Domaine Armand Rousseau’s Clos St Jacques inverted behind ours - with permission! The 1985 vintage and its stunning floral intensity set me on today’s course, whispering, “Make wine, and start by learning from the genius who made this one.” The name ‘Loin du Clos’, meaning ‘far from the vineyard’ (of St Jacques), is a cheeky nod to this connection, but also a reminder to keep Burgundy’s best lessons in mind while simultaneously remembering where we are and the advantages we have here.”
The ‘Loin du Clos’ series are wines crafted with hands off, traditional Burgundian techniques to express their true character and sense of place in Australia. Gordes currently produces just two wines - Cabernet Franc and Malbec. When we first tasted these wines in early 2023 we were quite literally stunned. These are among the finest Cabernet Franc and Malbec produced anywhere in Australia.