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Located in central Victoria, while viticulture in Heathcote began with the gold rush around 1860’s, all plantings bar one were destroyed by Phylloxera around 1900. Modern viticulture began in the 1950’s through to the 1970’s with the establishment of Paul Osicka in 1955, Jasper Hill in 1975 and Heathcote Winery in 1978. Geologically the key to Heathcote is a deposit of Cambrian red soils which begins 20 kilometres south east of the town of Heathcote proper then north running along the Mount Ida Range for 60 kilometres. The dry arid conditions make water stress an ongoing issue and necessitate irrigation, though more established vineyards with deeper roots are able to avoid these issues. Temperatures range from warm to hot summer days with cool through cold nights idea for the production of full bodied red grape varieties such as shiraz, and most notably of recent history Sangiovese.
Shiraz from mature dry grown vineyards is typically full bodied, dense, mouth filling with fruit profiles of blackberry, black and red cherry, leather, spice and liquorice with mouth coating density and ripe soft tannins which age gracefully. Outstanding producers include Jasper Hill, Red Eagle, Greenstone and Yabby Lake.
Sangiovese and Nebbiolo have met with recent success in Heathcote. Chalmers wines have established a number of Heathcote vineyards with a range of varieties indigenous to Italy. Greenstone, a venture between David Gleave MW, Tuscan winemaker Alberto Antonini and former Brown Brothers viticulturist Mark Walpole, established plantings of Sangiovese, Syrah and mourvèdre on the Cambrian soils. They believe the Heathcote climate is perfect for Sangiovese, with close climatic conditions to Tuscany and many of the best Heathcote Sangiovese are produced from Greenstone Vineyard fruit. Outstanding producers include Greenstone, Vinea Marson and Foster e Rocco.
The Oxford Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson MW
James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia, James Halliday
AlsaceNestled behind the Vosges Mountains the Alsace region is one of France's driest and a lovely hotbed for organic and biodynamic viticulture on volcanic soils. History has seen it change hands between Germany and France many times which shows up in the strong Germanic influence in food, architecture and grapes.
Red or White? White wines reign supreme here. Usually dry and savoury, though some can be made in an off-dry style. This is a clear cut region to understand as they usually put the grape variety on the label. There are also two sweeter styles; late picked, vendange tardive and the botrytis infected dessert wine, selections de grains nobles.
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewuztraminer
There's a lovely minerality thread in these wines due to their volcanic soil origins. Smokey wafts and exotic fruits are on full display in youth. Over time they develop a honeyed richness. Some wines may have a richer mid-palate and can be off-dry in style.
Marcel Deiss, Zind-Humbrecht, Domaine Ostertag, Paul Blank
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French Drinking Dozen - Summer 2022
France is an incredibly diverse country and one that offers a plethora of great drinking at all levels. From its balmy southern shores, warm and verdant interior to the cool limits of its northern hills there is truly something for everyone.
This mixed dozen offers up a selection of some of our favourite producers, regions and varieties as well as up-and-coming winemakers and dark horses you may not heard of. We have tried to include a little snap-shot of the state of play from this wonderful vinous country.
Each month this will be updated as we see great new wines, vintages rolls and the latest and greatest to hit our shores. At 15%-20% off or more, this a great way to explore France offering exceptional value and delicious drinking.
Don't forget to check back often to see the latest version of the French Drinking Dozen.$265.00 Regular Price $336.00