Leaving Rutherglen, we did a pit-stop at Parker pies for breakfast: Kangaroo Pie, Parker Pie (their secret savory recipe), etc…pretty tasty!
Off we went to Tahbilk Winery, one of the oldest ones we visited, founded in 1860. Some of the vineyards are still from this original year. We met Neil Larson, chief winemaker since 1991, who gave us an extended tour through the old cellars & an overview of the winery. His highlights were the Marsanne vineyards from 1926/27 which are still producing some very interesting wines.
After a big lunch we headed off to Shelmerdine Heathcote. A rather new winery, founded in 1989 in the Heathcote region, co-produced by De Bortoli. Highlights were a crisp Riesling & a Cabernet Sauvignon:
Shelmerdine 2010 Riesling ~ Crisp, fine citrus fruit, with hints of apricot & peach. Great acidity & texture. Fresh, lingering finish.
Shelmerdine 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Bright red & dark fruit up-front. Good acidity, complexity & elegance. Wonderful flavors of red & black fruit, with lots of blackberries & cassis flavors. Focused, bright, fresh, with gentle spices.
Further on we went to Heathcote Estate, owned by Yabby Lake. Tom Carson, who was head-winemaker at Yering Station for 10 years & has now been chief-winemaker for Yabby Lake, Heathcote Estate & Cooralook since 2008, was the next person we met in Heathcote.
A charming, very focused winemaker, he led us through some stunning wines:
Heathcote Estate 2008 Shiraz ~ Powerful Shiraz, with packed flavors of dark fruit, blackberries, blueberries & ripe dark plums. Dark, rich, dense & ripe fruit with some nuances of cedar & spice.
Heathcote Estate 2006 Grenache ~ Green leaf, eucalytus aromas. Warm, soft, but rich texture, with spicy flavors of raspberries & blackberries all the way through a lingering finish. Long, deep, & powerful.
After that we took off to meet Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill, one of the best-known “cult” winemakers in Australia.
His wines are highly regarded as some of the best in Australia & I agree; they were gorgeous. The first vintage was in 1982 with very low yields. Every estate vineyard is biodynamically farmed which makes these wines even more amazing. The special Cambrian soil (which is very red, grained basalt, lots of iron) gives these wines a special note!
Jasper Hill 2009 Cornelia Vineyard ~ Fantastic red fruit aromas upfront. Clean purity. Well-balanced, elegant, superb acidity & concentration. Wonderful red & black fruit, raspberries & blackcherries. Long finish, with fine tannins.
Jasper Hill 2009 Shiraz Georgia Poddock Vineyard ~ Beautiful aromatics. Dark, ripe plums, with herbal components. Superb balance, acidity & concentration. Very elegant, compex. Good fresh, dark fruit. Dark plums, blackberries & blueberries. Some spicy & smoky notes on the finish. Fine Tannins.
Off we went to our lovely accommodation: The Emu Inn, where we had supper with 8 more wineries.
Keep posted …2 more days to go!