It’s winter here in Australia, which makes me crave sipping on vino in warmer temperatures. It also doesn’t help that EVERYONE on social media is currently on holiday. I have been lucky enough to have lived, worked and visited a number of wine regions around the globe. And since there are no holiday plans in the near future for me, I am going to re-live through my past adventures.
In the past couple of months I have drank at least a dozen different wines from the Heathcote Wine Region in Victoria, Australia. And I drank them all from the comfort of my own couch!
For my birthday in January my parents decided to give me an AMAZING present that any wine lover would drool over. They sent me 12 unique bottles of Heathcote wine, which they collected on their recent holiday to the region. Yes I was very jealous! But I have to admit my consolation prize was not so bad.
This box of wine was like a treasure chest to me, every single bottle I caressed ever so seductively with my palate and I did take the time to read up as much as I could on each of the wines, the wineries they were from and also on the region itself. I’m not the kind of girl who jumps straight in without at least getting to know the wine a little bit 😉
So to show that I can make drinking 12 bottles of wine an educational experience, here’s a bit about the region:
About the Heathcote Wine Region
As Mr. Henning Rathjen put it in 1985 “We have struck Paradise”.
Heathcote is 109kms north of Melbourne admist a National Park and State Forests. It was very much a gold mining and logging town back in the day and what I love is the list of local businesses during the gold rushes; at least 3 breweries, 2 flour mills, a bacon factory, 22 hotels, banks, a hospital and several wineries. Now doesn’t that sound like a great town to live in!
There are around 40 wineries and 70 vineyards in the Heathcote Wine Region today. The wines which comes out of the region are typically known for their inky colour, dark complex fruits and wines with great ageing ability. But enough education people, let’s get down to what tasted good and what wines I might not call again the next day!
Heathcote Tasting Notes:
Mia Valley Estate Vineyard & Winery 2010 Shiraz
Mia Mia is from the aboriginal language meaning ‘little hut’. On the eye you can see this wine’s age – it is a rich burgundy colour with a slight bricky brown tone. On the nose it has a lovely perfume of rose petals with nutmeg & spiced berry fruit. In the mouth it’s a lot lighter than I expected, medium body with quite high acidity and flavours of sour cherries, plums, cracked black pepper and cigars. Team this up with a tomato meat dish or a lovely rack of lamb and voila!
Mia Valley Estate 2010 Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon This is an interesting one as technically it’s not a blend, the Shiraz and Cab Sauv are picked at the same time and the juice is pressed together. This wine can only be made in years when both grapes ripen at the same time! On the eye it’s a deep garnet. It’s very aromatic with aromas of blackcurrant, plums, cedar and vanilla. It has a gorgeous nose on it, I could’ve spent hours just smelling it! In the mouth it’s juicy, vibrant, tannic and acidic. It’s an iron fist in the velvet glove type of wine. Big, brawny and muscular. Perfect wintertime wine, I was warm after the first mouthful. Delish. And it went down oh so well with my 8 hour slow cooked Thai massaman curry!
Willoughby Bridge 2013 Rose
Uhhh a Grenache rose to finish the week, utter perfection! I find a lot of new world roses so artificial tasting, however this new world rose is divine. It is along the lines of rosé from the South of France and it’s seen a touch of oak which gives it that lovely savoury aspect. On the eye it’s a vibrant peachy-orange colour with aromas of fruit salad, raspberries and vanilla custard seducing the nose. In the mouth it’s crisp, refreshing and unashamedly dry. You have red berries from strawberries and cranberries to orange zest and a subtle smokiness. Keep the glass, just hand over the bottle… Please!
Willoughby Bridge 2012 ‘Dulcis’ Viognier Dulcis is derived from a Latin phrase which means ‘sweet in the end’. A sweet wine has to have the perfect balance of sugar to acidity to really make it a beautiful wine and this one has found that Bermuda Triangle balance. On the eye it’s crystal clear with a slight yellow tint. The nose I found fairly closed straight out of the fridge however as the wine warmed up the aromas started to come out, lemongrass, herbs and slightly spiced apple and pear. In the mouth it’s super clean, acidity – sweetness – lovely finish. It’s a wine that’s not in your face but instead it’s a pretty wine that I really struggled to put down. It reminded me of eating pears out of a can, and that’s not a bad thing either! A fantastic accompaniment to my spicy chicken homemade enchiladas, the sweetness really came out making that spicy jalapeño chilli nice and mellow. YUM!
Rowanston ‘on the track’ 2012 Blanc de Noir Sparkling Blanc de noir is the French term for making white wine from red grapes. This sparkler is made from 100% Pinot Noir. To stop the colour the winemaker simply removes the skins from the juice straightaway. This bubbles had a wee bit of skin contact as it’s a subtle peach colour on the eye. On the nose I picked up aromas of mandarin, apples, cream and custard. In the mouth there were pleasant flavours of quince, grapefruit, orchard fruits and a touch of gooseberry weirdly enough. A lovely delicate and elegant bubbles. I really enjoyed it.
Rowanston ‘on the track’ 2012 Viognier On the eye this Aussie Vioginer is a mid-strength yellow. The nose shows hints of flowers, herbs, white pepper, apricots and citrus. While on the palate it covers every millimetre of your mouth with savoury and spiced pear flavours. What really made my palate fall in love with this wine was the nice long lemon sherbet finish. Totally delish. The more wines I try from Heathcote the more I find myself trying to search them out in the Perth bottle shops. Definitely a region to keep on the radar wine lovers!
Heathcote Estate 2011 Single Vineyard Shiraz The logo of the winery is the original Heathcote municipal coat of arms which means “Live & Prosper”. The vineyard is actually planted on a strip of land with 500 million year old soil! On the eye it’s a deep garnet colour. The nose reminds me of a Sunday family lunch – lamb roast cooking, herbs, roast veggies with a glass of mulled wine on the side! On the palate it is full of juicy blackberries and currants, not a lot of depth on the palate yet but the tannins suggest this one is destined to get better over time.
Domaine Asmara 2010 Reserve Shiraz This is one seriously dark wine. It’s virtually opaque on the eye with a deep redness to it. On the nose it is intense, meaty, earthy with dark black fruits and old leather books. In the mouth it has a thickness to the texture, it’s smooth full of blackcurrants and coffee beans. This wine will keep for years to come.
McIvor Creek Wines 2008 & 2009 Shiraz
My parents did so well on this box of goodies for my birthday this year. It seriously is the gift that keeps on giving! Both these vintages of Shiraz are certified biodynamic. Biodynamic wines follow the principles of biodynamic agriculture, basically they show that you’re ‘in touch with the land’. It can be described as spiritual, it can be described as eco-friendly and it can involve cow horns, quartz and stinging nettles! 2008 – Murky brick brown on the eye with a warm nose of aromas of black jelly beans, baked berry fruit pie, tyre tread and prunes. It really wakes up your palate with a vibrant fruitiness of stone fruits particularly plums. Being so juicy meant it literally tasted like fruit juice which makes you easily forget it’s 14.5% alcohol per volume. It has a nice clean finish. Really enjoyed it. 2009 – More darker and garnet in colour than it’s younger brother. I picked up sulphur on the nose, ripe fruits, rhubarb, stone wetness, and cooked green peas. On the palate it has up front tannins and acidity with a Ribena finish. Again it’s fruity and clean with those apparent tannins. I was sure I was going to like one ore than the other however I really enjoyed both vintages! Totally beautiful!
McIvor Estate 2009 Sangiovese This bad boy retails at $25 a bottle and I was under strict instructions to decant and filter this one from my parents. On the eye it’s a medium intensity maroon red. The nose has a lovely depth to it, layers of fruit, forest smells of pine trees and soil and a touch of baking spice. In the mouth it has a youthful fruitiness to it with flavours of blackcurrant, black cherries and blackberries. It has that warming cough syrup like feel in the throat. It packs a punch and honestly there’s no need for a heater when you have a red like this to keep you warm!
McIvor Estate 2013 Marsanne, Viognier & Roussanne I’m very proud of my parents wine choice on this one! It is a classic blend of white wine grapes typical in the Rhone Valley, France. On the eye it’s a sunny bright golden yellow. On the nose there are lifted aromas of flowers & citrus fruits with a touch of honey and a musk perfume. In the mouth it’s… Woah! Definitely a mouthful, full bodied with plenty of fruit, touch of honey sweetness and beautiful acidity. Flavours of candied lemons and pineapple juice with a touch of mint. Love!
A fantastic well selected case, well done Mum & Dad! As a result of my Heathcote wine adventures over the past couple of months, I am now dying to visit the region!! If you’ve had a fab bottle of Heathcote wine yourself, leave a comment below so we can all discover the deliciousness this Australian wine region has to offer.