James Kellie arrived in Western Australia’s Great Southern Region in 1998, intending to make a pit stop on the way to settling in Tasmania to make wine. He landed his dream winemaking at the renowned Howard Park, hoping to fine-tune his skills and learn as much as he could before making the move to Tasmania. It’s safe to say, after discovering the quality and diversity that the Great Southern region had to offer, he never made it to Tassie. While at Howard Park, James Kellie started making wine on contract for Harewood Estate, and when the winery came on the market in 2003, James saw the opportunity to secure one of the region’s best vineyards and the chance to develop his ideas for a brand that exclusively encapsulated the entire region, so he took the plunge and purchased Harewood.
The Harewood brand represents the best of the Great Southern in a range of wines that aim to showcase the region’s unparalleled diversity. When James and his wife Careena purchased the vineyard, they built a 500-tonne winery ready for the 2004 vintage and began the expansion of the Harewood range to include wines made from grapes sourced from throughout the wider region that, like Harewood, were specialists in those varieties that excelled in their sub-region. James has started taking steps to increase focus on sustainable practices and being environmentally responsible within the winery, including replacing tractors on the farms with horses in 2016. Replacing tractors with horses reduces the risk of compaction and increases the yield and fruit quality by allowing the roots to uptake nutrients. In addition, the horses help with cultivating, weeding, sowing mixed row crops, carting fruit to the winery and hauling general equipment. This is just one project that falls in line with their environment-based initiative that includes composting, using ducks to eradicate snails, and employing sheep for weeding.
Since 2003, Harewood has enjoyed an impressive run of show results and critical acclaim including 33 trophies, hundreds of medals and the coveted 5 Red Star Rating from influential wine critic James Halliday, which is awarded to the top 5% of Australian wineries for “a consistent record of excellence.” In addition to Harewood Estate, James and Careena purchased their Apricus Hill vineyard in 2013 and introduced the FLUX range in 2017. After 20 years, the aim of Harewood hasn’t changes: grapes are grown in select, low yielding vineyards to create wines that represent the best the region has to offer.
A fine mousse supports a long crisp finish. Traditional “strawberries and cream” flavours are balanced by a combination of vibrant cool climate notes of grapefruit and lemons with hints of more tropical melon and a creamy, yeasty mid palate complexity.
2018 Harewood Great Southern Cabernet-Merlot
95 pts – Drinks Trade Magazine: Black fruits and earthy tones. Moody. Great textural balance with palate depth and a focused line of bright acidity. Layered complexity to finish.
2021 Harewood Great Southern Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon
91 pts – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): The traditional ‘classic dry white’ blend of the West has rarely been done much better than it is here. A blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Semillon from the Denmark sub-region, made from free run juice which is given a cool ferment in stainless steel and minimal fining. Almost trout stream clear, this is delightfully spicy. Clean, some gentle vegetal hints and a note of blackcurrant leaves with citrus, spices and dry herbs. Good length here and a soft lingering finish after a seductive texture. Nicely balanced for the full journey, with bright acidity running the length. Attractive now but will drink well for at least another two to four years.
2022 Harewood Great Southern Riesling
94 pts – Erin Larkin (Wine Advocate): The 2022 Great Southern Riesling has a little bit of each of the areas in the glass here, pulling together to make a plump, mouth-filling, floral, succulent, delicious wine. This has blossoming flavor and a brilliant line of acidity that streaks through the fruit. All built for pleasure here. Gorgeous.
2022 Harewood Denmark Pinot Noir
92 pts – Stuart Robinson (The Vinsomniac): Pinot Noir from the maritime cool of Denmark in Western Australia’s Great Southern region. It’s all Plum, cassis – set against a darker edge, smoked wood and perhaps even a touch meaty in its initial representation.Lithe, juicy – succulent red fruits, again before a darker edge. Light and shade, night and day. A wine of opposing parts – contributing overall to the whole. An edge of tannin that adds an extra element to the contrasting fruit profile.
2019 Harewood Estate Chardonnay
93 pts – Kim Brebach (BWU20): It’s an attractive Chardonnay serving up light stone fruits with a touch of citrus, lightly oaked, very pleasant summer drinking. Will improve in the short term.
2022 Harewood Denmark Riesling
94 pts – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): Crushed rock with briny citrus fruits on the nose, the palate is the most closed of the 2022 riesling releases. It is textural, with an almost savoury aspect that focuses on lime without quite as much floral influence. The mid palate shows some kaffir lime and coriander and a continuation of the briny influence before the long, textural finish. The wine is sure to develop plenty of secondary interest over time.
95 pts – Erin Larkin (Wine Advocate): The 2022 Tunney Riesling is textural, mouth-filling and insistent in the mouth. It is very good. It transverses savory, mineral, slatey and lean through to pillowy, enveloping and pleasurable. This is a wine that captures some of the deliciousness of the Great Southern Riesling from the same release, and combines it with back-palate power. This is an excellent wine.
2022 Harewood Porongurup Riesling
97 pts – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): Characteristic citrus blossom with talc and fresh lime on the nose; Incredible flow and texture on the palate with mineral acidity and such precision of fruit that shows off its floral side with great concentration of vibrant lime fruit. Layers of citrus and blossom richness to finish. Impeccable.
2019 Harewood Reserve Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc
95 pts – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): Pungently grassy, with a quenching core of gooseberry and passionfruit. This is moreish. The oak is seamlessly countersunk into the concentrated fruit. A very impressive wine, especially for the price.
2021 Harewood Reserve Chardonnay
Pale golden yellow colour. A highly complex, perfumed nose of citrus and fresh nectarines is balanced by spicy French oak and a richer savoury character. Palate initially shows grapefruit, then ripe stone fruits. A more savoury mid palate finishes with lingering citrus acidity balanced by vanillin French oak. This wine has perfect balance between fruit flavour, texture and length.
The wine is a dense crimson colour with youthful purple hues. A rich and vibrant nose displaying an enticing combination of violets, black pepper, blackcurrant and coffee bean complemented by spicy, vanillin french oak. A seamless, complete palate combining cherry, blackberry and plum with cinnamon, pepper and licorice leading to a complex finish of mocha and vanilla supported by fine grained tannins.
2019 Harewood Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
90 pts – Erin Larkin – Wine Advocate: This 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon has spent two years in French oak (a combination of new and one year old), and while that does nothing to dumb the layered and spicy fruit on the front of the palate, it weighs down the finish—drying out the tannins and leaving a trail of wood in its wake. While this may assist the wine in the long term, at this stage, it will still benefit from a further year or two in bottle to allow that oak to fully ameliorate into the fruit.