From a vineyard planted on the very old Cambrian volcanic red soils of Heathcote proper in 1971 says the helpful back label. It also says the maker is Peter Dredge. There’s a man by the same name making wine in Tasmania which makes me wonder if he’s extremely busy or there’s two of them? Nonetheless time has been kind to this bottle, producing a lovely sweet roundness to the black cherry and blackberry fruit with the dark char of mocha oak now seasoning nicely. There’s also some background savour in spice and bay leaf. Acid and sweet ripe tannin have settled any differences and sit calmly together. The fruit’s so good that the advertised alcohol really doesn’t breathe heat at all. A few years of bottle rest seems a good test of fruit quality and this passes with ease and no little grace. Heathcote showing just what it can do, tasty.
14.6% alcohol. Screwcap. Lucky auction win again for $24. Normal retail closer to $40, clever me.
A twinkling bargain amongst some astronomically priced Australian Shiraz. That’s nearly exhausted the bad space puns. Clean smells of brown woody spices, bay leaf, sage, little bit of mint, dark raspberries, plums and a touch of tar. All carried through the mouth by comfortable acidity and fine stem and skin tannin. Just a bit reticent at the moment. A year or two may allow the berry fruit to shine. A touch more fruit concentration and the label would need charity status. Difficult to find such flavour for twenty terrestrial Australian currency units these days.
13.80% alcohol. Screw cap. $20.
Forty four years after John Carpenter’s whacky space film and a bit longer since the Grateful Dead’s epic psychedelic inner universe exploration comes a flavour adventure with its feet firmly planted in the southern granite soils of Heathcote. Mint, sage, Australian bush after rain and bright red fruits blast off into a balanced orbit of settled acidity and fine graphite flavoured tannin. Nicely medium weight, it gains from gathering oxygen from our terrestrial atmosphere over 72 hours. Perhaps one of those blends that’s more than the sum of parts? Grenache looking good for landing on Metcalfe’s little bit of Heathcote? One small step for right grapes, right place…
13.20% alcohol. Screwcap. $28.
A good mate found this had fallen behind a pile of boxes under the house. The two chaps on the label peering from the gloom. Opened well with clean red fruit, some spice and pepper and a good seasoning of Central Victoria in the form of gum tree and mint. Ripe but not overblown. Sweet gentle raspberries and compact glide to a well controlled end. Just enough rasp of glossy tannin to carry a satisfying conclusion. Developing nicely. Lovely medium weight wine of place. Think somebody better get back under the floorboards and go fishing for another?
13% alcohol. Screwcap. $22.
Yet another 17 Victorian Shiraz. Again this one has those minty, gum tree regionals but there’s a smoky, touch of stem, new leather reference to the other part of the world that’s home for Syrah. At first it didn’t seem as rich and great as recent years but upon the second day it gained dark raspberry and sweet cherry flesh seasoned by woody spice. Poised, svelte and a slurpy freshness. Third day and it relaxed and faded a touch. As usual, a great sense of perfect ripeness, neither green nor overblown and tastefully made. More locals like this, please.
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $27 well spent.
The possibility of less oak, less alcohol and less fruit cake and more fresh fruit was enough to sway the choice from the ever attractive shelves of Rathdowne Cellars, a stalwart Melbourne business. Heathcote at its best can produce red wine of naturally deep fruit flavour and balance and, goodness, this is one of ‘em. The freshest raspberry and it’s many cane fruit variants whizzed up with bay leaf. Indelible tannin and acidity that preserved and amplified the fruit over four or so days. Mostly Shiraz but the rest is a mystery. Perhaps some Grenache, Mourvèdre or even Tempranillo? Whatever, a few bottles for later looks likely.
14% alcohol, yes that’s relatively low for the average. Screwcap. $28.
Perhaps a first Sangiovese from those relentlessly great value and energetic Hoddles Creek chaps? Clean, fresh, bright, just medium weighted, cherry scented with a twist of mint and eucalypt forest. Really has that lip smacking, cheek flapping twang of the juicy blood of Jove. One for those who value fruit over extraction. The ripe acidity positively takes it up a notch with some simple pizza or pasta. Bravissimo ragazzi!
13.50% alcohol. Screw cap. $20.
90 deliciosi punti.
From the Metcalfe region of southern Heathcote this Syrah opens with clean smoky raspberries and a touch of minty bush flavour. Quite savoury whole bunch woody spice too. All repeated on a medium bodied palate that just balances the fruit and earthy bits. Perhaps most enjoyable on day one. A touch more fruit power and riper acidity would complement the sensitive and detailed wine making. This will especially appeal to Northern Rhone aficionados. Good expression of place and vintage and far away from the over ripe and oak laden, hooray.
12.90% alcohol. Screwcap. About $25.