Vasse Felix Heytesbury – benchmark Australian Chardonnay

Person walking through vineyard at harvest time.

Virginia Willcock sets the model for flinty, wonderfully funky Chardonnay.

Virginia Willcock (pictured below), garlanded winemaker at Vasse Felix in Western Australia’s Margaret River, has been the very successful head winemaker at Margaret River’s Vasse Felix since 2006. Last September she visited London to present a vertical tasting of Heytesbury Chardonnay, a wine that stands out for its distinctive style.

The first Chardonnay under the Heytesbury label was made in 1996 (the 1995 vintage had been labelled Reserve Chardonnay). However, it was Willcock who introduced the style that is now synonymous with this wine: a wine rich in fruit but...