The three people responsible for Gant & Co have all had a clear focus in putting the key assets of the business in place. Graham Lloyd was the first, after a long involvement in the Western Australian mining industry, starting a metallurgical business in Perth from the late 1970s, and a holiday house in Augusta since ’79. It became an integral part of the Lloyd family’s life and its love of wine. Armed with a 15-year contract for the supply of grapes, Lloyd purchased a vineyard site at Karridale in ’97, and began planting what became a 40ha vineyard in ’98.
The vineyard planning was sophisticated, with a matching of blocks to varieties, and clones thereof. There have been changes since, and the area planted is now 24ha with 23 blocks. Chardonnay has 14ha of eight blocks and six clones, and cabernet has four clones, four blocks, on a total of 1.25ha. There are seven other clones including arneis, albarino and touriga nacional.
Enter daughter Claudia who worked on the vineyard since its establishment, taking time off to work vintages around Australia, the US, France and Portugal, a homing pigeon urge leading her back to the vineyard where she felt happiest. One vintage was spent at St Hallett, and there she met her (now) husband, Matt Gant. He had had a similar odyssey, traversing Australia, New Zealand, the US, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
He established First Drop Wines in 2004, but in ’11 the couple realised their wish to raise their children (Scarlett, now 13, and Gabe, now 10) in Margaret River. With their history of globe-trotting, it was almost normal for Claudia to return to manage the vineyard; and Matt to split his time between the Barossa Valley and Margaret River. Finally, he sold First Drop in ’21, 15.5% shiraz replaced with 12.5% white and red wines. Both the vineyard and the wines are handled with a light touch which befits the vast knowledge the two have accumulated.
2020 Gant & Co Margaret River Fume
Wild yeast barrel fermented and on lees for six months. A world away from Malborough sauvignon. This is about texture and precision, making its considerable presence felt after you exhale following the first taste.
93 points, drink to 2025, 12.5% alc, Screwcap, $32
2020 Gant & Co Margaret River Chardonnay
A 50/50% blend of WA’s Gingin clone and Dijon clone 95. Shoot thinned and leaf plucked, wild yeast barrel fermented, matured on lees for 9 months. Says Matt ‘Restrained, with line and length,’ which is true enough, but it’s also akin to a Dutch miniature down to the finest details.
95 points, drink to 2035, 12.5% alc, Screwcap, $40
2020 Gant & Co Margaret River Jeune
Shoot-thinned, leaf plucked, dry-grown, 10 months in oak. A 46/38/16% blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec, described as a luncheon red, but much more than that. Fully ripe in texture and structure, blackcurrant, bay leaf and black olive fruit meeting the tannins as old friends. Great value.
96 points, drink to 2038, 12.5% alc, Screwcap, $32