A new wine from a new endeavour led by De Bortoli’s ever-restless Steve Webber, this is an earthy, mineral grenache coloured by the ancient soils of Heathcote.
There’s a rugged earthiness to this, with savoury red fruits smashed against a backdrop of cracked rock and dusty and dry ferrous notes. There’s plenty of depth and drive to the wine, with spiced plum and sour raspberry notes, black tea and dark spice, but there’s none of the sweet-fruited opulence grenache can show in warmer climates. The palate continues the theme, with red and black fruits set against rugged earthiness, with some generosity of fruit snapped back into line with plum-skin grip and minerality.
Themes of this wine
The great grape of the Southern Rhône, grenache, has also found many homes around the world, from Spain, to Italy, to California, while Australia is home to the world’s oldest productive grenache vines, planted in 1948. Today, a renaissance is seeing the grape championed, with makers in McLaren Vale arguably turning out the most compelling examples.
Heathcote is rugged country, a tinder-dry landscape of rusty iron-rich soils littered with sculpturally stacked granitic boulders. It’s mythical territory, ancient land, and home to some of the world’s oldest viticultural soils. But as a wine region, it is a relatively young one, which saw an explosion of growth in the 90s. Shiraz led the charge, and it became Victoria’s answer to the Barossa or McLaren Vale, producing wines of significant power. But Heathcote is very different to both those places, and it is not that easily defined. Today, shiraz finds myriad expressions, and other varieties are taking a firm grip.