A Master Salutes Rockcliffe Wines

Ray Jordan, Western Australia’s most celebrated wine critic, has worked his way through Rockcliffe’s vintages and given his seal of approval. On a cold, wet and windy August evening in Lamont’s winery in Cottesloe, he swirled, sniffed and sipped reds and whites before pronouncing his verdict.
“The wines have impressed, from the value-for-money Quarram Rocks range, through the Third Reef to the Single Site, with pinot noir and chardonnay especially good,” Jordan wrote in an article headlined Rock on, published in West Weekend magazine of September 15-16.
It was a ringing endorsement. Jordan is fiercely independent to the extent that he refuses to read wine reviews written by other critics to ensure they cannot influence his own.
Jordan’s article mentioned five vintages, beginning with Rockcliffe Single Site pinot noir 2017 ($45) which he rated 95 out of 100: “A thoroughly delightful light-to-medium bodied pinot that ranks with the best these guys have made… The palate is pure joy. Soft, supple fruit flavours supported with fine chalky tannins and super-fine oak.”
Rockcliffe Single Site chardonnay 2016 ($45) also scored 95 points: “Has a creamy rich and powerful line through the palate, and the slight struck-match flinty character adds to the complex aromas… Excellent oak treatment. The dry, savoury finish complements things. Impressive wine.”
Rockcliffe Single Site cabernet sauvignon 2015 ($45) scored 94 points: This is a lovely well-structured wine displaying most attractive primary blackcurrant fruit characters… An excellent wine of structure and poise.”
Rockcliffe Single Site riesling 2015 ($35) scored 93 points: “This is from the Forest Hill vineyard in Mt Barker, so you know there’s some quality fruit sitting here… Has plenty of power, which you expect from this old vineyard, and it delivers with a tight focused control.”
Rockcliffe Third Reef pinot noir 2017 ($30) scored 91 points: “This is another very good value-for-money pinot noir. Has sour cherry notes on the nose, with hints of sage and earthiness… A lingering precise acidity sustains the palate profile.”
Dr Steve Hall, owner of Rockcliffe winery, was ecstatic with the outcome. “Here’s proof, if any were needed, that our wines stand up to the most discerning scrutiny.”
Earlier in the day, he had loaded his vehicle with vintages and left the winery in Denmark, 420km south of Perth, to drive to the metropolis for the tasting. It was worth it.
“I’d never met Ray Jordan before, and the experience was most enjoyable,” Dr Hall said.