Over nine vintages we have gained a feel for the fruit and variations within the whole site. Our ‘short rows’ that grow higher on the hill have always given a greater consistency in the fruit and naturally showed lower vigour. Within this block, four seasons prior, we sectioned out our best pick (9 rows) purposely for this wine. We turned off the water (gradually at first) then began offering less and less over the years to switch this patch to minimal irrigation (dry grown – bar extreme heat waves where we give small drinks to conserve the crop). Here we place some pressure on the vines, give them a little kick on and say “now show me what you really can do” – all in the persuit of flavour and increased complexity in the wines.
Yields in the block are much too low for machine harvesting, and we wish to keep the bunches & berries whole for extended skin contact and partial whole bunch fermentation. 2021 gave us 0.9 tonnes to the acre – total harvest 746kg. To put this in context, our irrigated Shiraz is grown – pending seasonal variation – at yields around 3t/acre. We are inspired by what we see from this block so far, and have entrusted none other than Jo Marsh & Glenn James (2017 Best New Winery, 2022 Red 5 star winery – James Halliday) to help craft this Shiraz. Together we have developed our topline premium offering – Alquemie.
We are not only growing for intensity in the fruit but are striving for the ultimate balance between elegance and power. We undertake the harvest in consideration of ripeness and potential alcohol – it is a yearly challenge. The goal is a complete and balanced wine, showing Heathcote intensity, yet restrained enough to highlight fruit characters with grace and poise. This block, this wine, has become our magnum opus. I imagine we will spend our remaining vintages considering have we have done all we can for these vines to reveal their best. We strive to give them every chance. This is the aim. This is obsession.
Sub-region Northern Heathcote
Fruit Shiraz (single vineyard) minimal irrigation, 0.88t/a
Winery notes 15% whole bunch, rest destemmed (not crushed) for whole berry ferment. Fermented using selected yeasts. Extended time (3 weeks) on skins, basket pressed and racked to seasoned French oak for maturation
Oak Seasoned French – light toast
Palate Dark cherry, blood plum, liquorice & baking spice