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Heathcote Estate Shiraz – Wines of distinction

Author: Celina Brown
by Celina Brown
Posted: Dec 05, 2014

A lot has already been said about the Heathcote Estate Shiraz, but it’s a wine well worth paying attention to, and an experience you can still thoroughly enjoy, years after you’ve made the initial investment. Very little of the events leading to such an enjoyment come by chance. It all starts at the 34 hectares Heathcote Estate Vineyard and with a dark-skinned grape variety that produces exceptional wines with distinct flavour, colour, complexity and body. And then there are of course the people who follow a winemaking philosophy that, year after year, brings out some of the best Shiraz in the region.

In 1999, Louis Bialkower, founder of Yarra Ridge, and Robert G. Kirby, owner of Yabby Lake Vineyards got together to purchase a piece of rich Cambrian soil. They planted a single vineyard, the Heathcote Estate Shiraz with 30 hectares of Shiraz and 4 hectares of Grenache. Their intention? To provide each of their 5 individual blocks and various sections with the individual attention and care they needed to realize their inherent potential. And that’s what they did. From pruning to picking, only wine techniques that brought out the best characteristics and enhanced the quality of the resulting wines were used.

The skilled and gifted winemaker Tom Carson having joined has added further brilliance to the making of Heathcote Estate Shiraz. An uncompromising approach that results in an often high percentage of declassified grapes (the grapes that do not qualify to be included in the final mix) and maturing the wines exclusively in French oak (50% new) are all indicators why the wine is that successful. "50% new" indicates the stage of the barrel. It is not yet a regulated term, but generally, when a winemaker says the wine is for example aged in 100 percent new oak, it indicates that all of the wine went into brand new barrels. The newer the barrel, the stronger it is and the more flavour it imparts.

As a wine region, Heathcote is immediately connected with outstanding Shiraz, but Heathcote Estate in many aspects has quickly emerged as its pioneer. Three of their wines received an impressive 96 points form James Halliday and the 2011 Heathcote Estate Shiraz was rated 5 stars.

This wine is indeed a good example of the Heathcote Estate wine makers’ wonderful craft and certainly deserves to be highlighted. The Heathcote Estate Shiraz stems from the 2010 vintage that created 14 unique batches of wine. Despite the cool, wet conditions it exceeded expectations by far. Fermented and matured for 17 months in a combination of French oak with 20% new and second and third use barrels with 100% French oak, and with a declassification of 40% of the Shiraz grapes, this wine displays amazing depths and character. Packed with flavour and complexity, you will notice a rich bouquet of prunes and liquorice mixed with violets and bay leaf. There are sanguine and saline notes, along with high-grade savoury oak and powdery feeling tannins with a pinch of pepper.

Where can find this treasure?

Heathcote Estate’s cellar door is located in the main street of the township. In an old bakery building at 98 High Street that has been converted into a rustic cellar door and café. Or you can visit the Heathcote Wine Hub, the region’s regional wine tasting centre in the centre of town where you won’t only find Heathcote Estate Shiraz but many other hidden wine gems….

About the Author

Celina Brown is in the profession of wine business.Presently, she is writing about Heathcote Wine Hub

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Author: Celina Brown

Celina Brown

Member since: Jun 19, 2014
Published articles: 3

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