IWSC Trophy winner: Castelli Estate Il Liris Chardonnay 2018

Wine news

Tue 25 May 2021

By Stuart Peskett

Castelli Estate is based in Denmark, Western Australia (WA), but its origins lie thousands of miles away, in a small village in Italy’s Lazio region.

In San Giorgio a Liri, Sam Castelli’s family would make wine in their home, treading the grapes by foot, then once a year, the residents would visit all the local growers to taste their wine. No wonder, then, that Castelli say that wine was in Sam’s blood…

From those humble beginnings, the Castelli family now makes a large range of wines in WA, three of which are IWSC medal winners, but the pick of the bunch is Castelli Estate Il Liris Chardonnay 2018, winner of an IWSC Trophy. The wine scored 96/100pts and was described as a “richly layered cornucopia of aromatic oral pleasure”, thanks to its notes of yellow plums, citrus, woodsmoke and pineapple – high praise indeed.

Castelli established its winery in 2004, buying a half-finished property, then restoring it and opening up within six months. The first vintage followed in 2007, and to give an idea of Castelli Estate’s growth, it’s gone from crushing 15 tonnes of grapes back then to around 250 tonnes now.

Here’s Ana Fiore of Castelli Estate to tell us more about this award-winning winery:

Tell us about the history and background of Castelli Estate…

With deep roots in Italy, wine has always been in the blood of the Castelli family, and the Italian philosophy of making wine you would be proud to share at the table with friends and family remains strong. From the small village of San Giorgio a Liri to the vineyards of Denmark, Australia, despite the swift growth and success of the Castelli Estate brand, it remains a part of both worlds, proud of the connection to family and culture that continues today.

How did you get into wine?

The Castellis’ dream of a family-owned winery became a reality in 2004 with the purchase of Castelli Estate. As they had always loved Denmark, when they found the idyllic property on the slopes of Mt Shadforth, with its existing vineyard and half-built winery, the deal was done – and the family opened the doors within six months. It wasn't long before they started their own label and swiftly achieved success, acclaim and a reputation as the WA brand to keep an eye on.

Thanks to the time spent putting together a dedicated winemaking team with extensive experience, the Castelli Estate brand has never been stronger. With a range of more than 30 wines, a 500-tonne winery and wide network of growers and operations in both Perth and Denmark, the Castelli name is set to be around for a long time to come.

Castelli Estate introduced Andrew Vesey as their new head winemaker in November 2020

What is your winemaking philosophy?

Making wines with true flavour, consistency and character begins with the best fruit. We collaborate with growing partners in specific subregions throughout southern WA, each boasting distinct characteristics and micro-climates, from which we can select the perfect parcels. From Pinot and Chardonnay in Denmark to Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in Frankland River and Riesling in Mount Barker, each of our regions has been carefully identified for its strengths – a key component of what makes our wines so consistent in their taste and quality.

What has been your most important influence and why?

The Italian culture of generosity and the love of sharing wine and food is behind all we do. Wine should not be about price or prestige; for us it’s about the occasion and the company kept. We want our wine to be part of people’s lives and memories.

How can people best enjoy your wine?

Ideally with food, and never to be taken too seriously – they should be enjoyed and part of the moment. Of course you would also like to have people drinking your wine who have some idea of the work that goes on behind the scenes!

View more award-winning Chardonnay wines