This is first rate Heathcote shiraz from shadowfax and the 2010 vintage. In the glass, the wine has an aroma of licorice, spice and plums. On the palate, its key features are its long length, medium tannins (more than usual for Heathcote) and full body. This wine has been delicious over all of its life, and remains so now at a decade of age. Rating: Very Good. Website: https://www.shadowfax.com.au/. Reviewed: July 2020.
Wild Duck Creek produces very ripe styles of Heathcote shiraz. Weighing in at 15.9abv, the 2018 vintage of the Springflat shiraz opens to aroma of ripe plums and spices. It is pure in expression and this is a wine that unequivocally celebrates fruit. The palate is full bodied with no edges and has low to medium soft tannins and long length on the finish. Drink now and over the next 5 to 7 years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: https://wildduckcreekestate.com.au. Reviewed: July 2020.
Speaking of styles that will have both friends and foes, this wine from Wild Duck Creek in Heathcote weighs in at 15.6%abv. I was sceptical too. But read on if you are open minded, because the wine holds the alcohol in balance and is, I think, a very good example of a regional style. A typically robust expression of Heathcote shiraz, the 2013 vintage has aromatics of plus and prunes. The palate has saturated long length and a textured full body. Some smart winemaking here. (Alc: 15.6%, Region: Heathcote, Rating: Good to Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, but drink in moderation, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: June, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
I tasted this wine from hitherto unknown Moortangi Estate at the rather excellent new restaurant of Luxembourg in St Kilda. Grown on the Cambrian soils of Heathcote, it’s a moreish release, with aromatics of plums and spice. On the palate, the length is long and the impression balanced. This is Heathcote shiraz at its best: power with restraint. Very Good
Abv: 14%, Price: $36, Vendors and website: http://www.moortangiestate.com.au, Tasted: 2015
At 11 years of age, this Heathcote shiraz from Wild Duck Creek Estate is in its drinking prime. I come across 15% alcohol levels such as this wine less commonly these days, but a decade ago, desired styles or probably more accurately fashions were a little different. The 2003 Springflat Shiraz has regional characters of plum and eucalyptus, as well as a core that hints at, but never quite resembles, a dry cherry liqueur. This is unashamedly a big and robust wine, but there’s a seamlessness to it that suggests some very good winemaking behind it. The component parts of this wine are in harmony and improved in the glass.
I instinctively started to type “shiraz” as I entered the label “Heathcote” for this wine. Of course, this is a mourvedre. The front and back labels play on the three names for the grape – mourvedre, mataro (South Australia) and monastrell (Spain), and settles on the former. The wine itself is a medium intensity ruby in colour and has aromatics that are gamey, with fresh notes reminding of a bouquet garnis and red plums. The palate reveals a quite an elegant expression of mourvedre, with red plums, gamey almost venison like notes and a medium length finish. This is a very balanced wine that disappeared quickly.
Well, this is just a very good wine and at a fair price too. From Wild Duck Creek Estate in Heathcote, the “Yellow Hammer Hill” is a blend of shiraz and malbec. It has aromatics of violets, dark cherry and dark plum. The palate has long length and is very balanced, with some fruit sweetness coming from the dark cherry flavours. Ready to drink now, this wine is easy to recommend.
I tasted this wine from Foster e Rocco back in 2011 at a wine dinner with one of this label’s winemakers, Adam Foster. It can’t have been long after bottling I imagine, looking back at the dates. I found the wine good, and noted some attractive length on the finish and classic sangiovese flavours but put an asterisk next to its tannins, thinking them a bit hard.
Fast forward to 2014, and the wine is lovely drinking. It has aromatics that remind of cherry, earth and wet roses. The palate is cherry and earth driven, with towards long length and is savoury and very balanced in the glass. This is one the better expressions of Australian sangiovese going around and it eschews the more typical full throttle expressions of Heathcote terroir.
I am probably alone in this view, but given the wonderful terroir of Heathcote, and even Coonawarra for that matter, I think while these regions have strong reputations, they don’t have the grand reputations commensurate with what they are probably capable of. That seems a pity.
Occam’s Razor is the label of Emily Laughton of the family that runs the famous Jasper Hill estate in Heathcote. The 2012 release is not shy, with aromatics of currant, cooked plums, pepper and dried spices. The palate has medium length, a full body and is a full strength rendition of Heathcote shiraz with flavours of plums and pepper. It however achieves balance despite its high abv.
Rating: Good, Abv: 15%, Price: $50, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: na, Tasted: 2014
This is an interesting wine in a couple of respects; for a start, it’s very good. But it is also more Crozes-Hermitage, than Heathcote. Which is something of an oddity, since well known winemaker Adam Foster adopts a non-interventionist style, uses natural yeasts and does not appear to fine or filter, among other things. He thus pays what would appear to be quite diligent homage to the tenets of terroir. Yet the result is distinctly Rhône Valley in accent, and northern Rhône more specifically.
As it happens, I like wines from the Rhône and I probably write more about French wine than many locally, and I also like shiraz from the Heathcote region and have tasted it over a number of vintages, including older vintages. I haven’t seen an example from either that could be mistaken for the other until this wine, and so my tentative conclusion is that the imprint of its winemaker is a factor here.
Whether that’s good or bad is of course up to you. The wine is really quite good and so therefore I suspect it probably doesn’t matter. What then of this wine? It has aromatics that remind of plum, dried rosemary and thyme and dried earth. The palate gives the impression of medium to high acidity and is rounded out by flavours of plums, dried herbs and carefully managed cedar wood characters. There’s medium length on the finish, and this is certainly a balanced and elegant wine that warrants serious attention. Not a typical Heathcote. Good to Very Good