Heathcote is located in the centre of Victoria, Australia’s southern most mainland state, approximately 100 kilometres north of Melbourne. The climate is continental, with warm to hot and generally (very) dry summers, and cool and (sometimes) wet winters. The normally cold nights of Autumn help in the retention of natural acidity as the grapes ripen (important in the winemaking process), and the dry Summer/Autumn climate ensures healthy grapes naturally free of disease.The vineyards are located on a slope overlooking the town of Heathcote, with a north easterly aspect at an altitude of 260 metres. Eucalypt forests border the vineyard on two sides.
Planted in 1971, the original 2 hectares of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines grow on a strip of 500 million year old Cambrian soil- some of the oldest earth on the face of the planet. It’s glorious, vibrantly red, deep, free-draining, mineral rich, eminently favourable to the vine, particularly Shiraz. Further plantings on adjacent blocks have expanded to 14 hectares with some other classic European varieties. The vines are all dry grown with yields of less than 2.5 tonnes per hectare. Individual vineyard wines are made from estate grown fruit only. The vineyards are hand pruned, hand picked, and the wines hand made on site in our dedicated winery.
The wines are made with minimal intervention, allowing the wine to proceed through its natural course, making sure it reflects the full expression of terroir, and as such the wines reflect both a place and a time. Partial whole bunch maceration, wild yeast fermentation, hand plunging in small open top fermenters, basket pressing, partial barrel fermentation, racking by gravity, and no fining or filtration, are all very traditional artisan winemaking strategies employed. After picking in mid Autumn, natural fermentation on skins takes generally 7 to 14 days, after which the must is pressed directly to small oak barrels. The new wine matures in these same barrels for 8 months where it undergoes a natural secondary fermentation, after which time it is racked into clean barrels in late Spring, for a further period of barrel aging. The wines are racked again a couple of times to enhance clarity, before being bottled after 12 months. These techniques continue and build upon our philosophy of creating wines that reflect the unique Cambrian soil, aspect and climate of Heathcote, wines from a single vineyard in a premium area to equal the best of their type in the world.
2016 edition of Wine Companion James Halliday
2013 71 Block 96 points | 2013 Shiraz 94 points | 2013 Degree 91 points