Winter Wine News 2004

By Franz Scheurer


Heathcote Estate Shiraz 2002

Heathcote (a Victorian wine region famous for its Shiraz) has a history of grape growing going back to the 1860s. But it only started to blossom in earnest in the 1970s, when the ‘greenstone’ soils of Mount Ida and Mount Carmel areas were discovered. Labels like Jasper Hill did a lot for the public’s recognition of the area, and Robert Kirby and Louis Bialkower’s Heathcote Estate, Jasper Hill’s immediate neighbour, continues the tradition of producing premium Shiraz. They only produce one wine, a singe-vineyard Shiraz and it’s a very worthy effort. Larry McKenna, Heathcote Estate’s consultant wine maker and Tod Dexter, the estate’s wine maker, produce an elegant, Rhône-style Shiraz, underpinned by the incredible body that the terroir imparts to the wine.  The vines were drought-stressed during the 2002 growing season but despite the lack of water it was never overly hot. Half of the grapes were fermented in open, hand-punched tanks and the rest in a closed, pump-over environment. The wine then spent 18 months in French oak 50% of which was new. The resulting wine is a fruit-forward Shiraz with lots of savoury, meaty undertones, held together by firm, fine tannins giving it a good mouthfeel. It’s terrific drinking now and will improve for a few years given correct storage.

For more information and retailers near you, contact:

Heathcote Estate, Drummonds Lane, Heathcote, VIC 3523

Tel.: 03 9667 6644


Morris Durif 2001

Durif, a grape variety commonly use for making port, was first made into a dry table wine by Mick Morris, fifty years ago in 1954. A small berry/small bunch grape variety bred by botanist François Durif in the Rhône Valley in the 1880s, it found its way to Rutherglen not long after, producing deeply coloured, highly flavoured and tannic red wines. Durif produces powerful wines with earthy, briary flavours, capable of massive alcohol levels. Interestingly the 2001 Morris Durif is a modest 14.1%. Made in the traditional way, using no modern wine-making techniques, it can be drunk now, after maturing for 3 years in the winery in 5 year old French and American oak, but will last easily for 15 years and will reward your patience handsomely. A terrific drop to lay down.

For more information and retailers near you, contact:

Morris, Mia Mia Road, Rutherglen VIC 3685

Tel.: 02 6026 7303


Orlando Trilogy 2002 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot)

It is with great joy that I notice Orlando’s first red released using screwcap closures. A classic Bordeaux blend, with fruit sourced from cool climate regions, this is a fruit driven, delicate and approachable wine. It is exactly this stye of wine that is so often discarded as ‘bad’ when in fact affected by very slight cork taint that flattens the wine rather than imparting the more obvious ‘wet cardboard’ aromas. Screwcap closures ensure this can’t happen. This is a terrific wine for drinking now, over-delivering in the true Orlando-Wyndham fashion.

Available at all good bottle shops.


Yabby Lake Vineyard

A newcomer to the Mornington Peninsula wine-scene, Yabby Lake Vineyard is the brain-child of Larry McKenna and Tod Dexter. Inspired by the classic wines of Burgundy (Larry already cut his ‘Pinot teeth’ in Marlborough, New Zealand) they chose, in consultation with viticulturist Dr. Richard Smart, the warmest site they could find and proceeded to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A few years later, July 2004 marks the first release of the 2002 Pinot Noir and 2002 Chardonnay from their vineyard.

The Pinot Noir was crushed in open fermenters and left for 9 days, hand-plunged once a day, then left on the skins for a further week. Pressed into French oak barriques and left to mature for 12 months, it was then egg-fined, coarsely filtered and bottled. It is a fruit-driven, fruit-forward wine, full of red berries with few if any savoury elements. Soft tannins help to make this an enjoyable ‘young Pinot experience’, but I doubt that it will improve much with cellaring. Drink it now and enjoy.

The Chardonnay, whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented, went through 100% malolactic fermentation and was left on lees for six months, before being racked, master-blended and left to mature for six months in clean oak. Sterile filtered, cold stabilised and bottled in May 2004, the wine will appeal to all the Chardonnay drinkers who enjoy lots of fruit. Yeast and grapefruit aromas on the nose are confirmed by the palate and it is really quite sweet. If you drink your white wines, ice-cold then this is not so obvious, but if you like your wines a little warmer, like I do, allowing all the flavours to come out, then the sweetness in this wine shows up rather strongly. Not a style that I enjoy personally, but the perfect wine for many, no doubt.

For more information or stockists near you:

Yabby Lake International Pty. Ltd. Head Office, Level 6, 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Tel.: 03 9667 6644


And now for something that has nothing to do with wine:


The Haggis Flavoured Crisp!

Scottish farmers Jacqueline and Stuart Raeside from Fife have come up with the latest in Scottish fast food: the Haggis flavoured potato crisp. Jacqueline convinced her husband to provide some of the crop from their potato farm for her experiment. Mrs Raeside spent a year researching the market and production techniques before setting up the plant in the farm’s barn. Scottish Enterprise helped fund the transformation with a diversification grant.

Now, the upmarket crisps come in traditional Scottish flavours, such as haggis, smoked salmon and sea salt.
Thick-cut and super crisp, these ‘gourmet chips’ are an instant best seller in Scotland. Maybe we’ll see them here, soon? If not, try them on your next trip to the U.K.

For more information check out: