Today sees the release of McLaren Vale’s 2017 Hickinbotham Vineyard!
Hickinbotham Vineyard is located in the north, cooler part of Clarendon, a subregion of McLaren Vale in Southern Australia and vines have grown here since 1858. Due to its high elevation, it benefits from great diurnal variation, which results in age-worthy wines of high intensity. Despite the McLaren Vale being one of the oldest and most historically significant wine regions in Australia, today it is also one of the most progressive and its producers are leading the way when it comes to sustainability, organic and biodynamic farming. All of which are practised at Hickinbotham. It was Alan Hickinbotham who established the vineyard in 1971, planting Bordeaux and Rhône varietals and supplying fruit for some of Australia’s greatest icons including Penfolds Grange Hermitage and Hardy’s Eileen Hardy. By 2000, Alan’s son David set up a partnership with Roman Bratasiuk to launch their own label ‘Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Vineyard’. In 2012 the Jackson family bought Hickinbotham and appointed Christopher Carpenter as winemaker (he is also responsible for their wines at Cardinale, Lokoya, La Jota and Mt. Brave estates).
This range of ultra-premium, small production Australian wines receive excellent ratings and are hard to find in the secondary market as collectors squirrel them away for personal consumption. This will be very much subject to availability.
2017 Revivalist Merlot, Hickinbotham Vineyard @ £225 per 6 bottle case in bond
93% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, hand-harvested and matured in a combination of old and new Bordeaux barrels and alcohol at 14%, 600 cases produced in total.
A dense crimson verging on opaque. Merlot’s postcode waft of leaf and plum is present from the first whiff. The tannins are more gentle than cabernet, sure, but far from shy, expanding with time in the glass and stamped by 21 days on skins, daily pump-overs and three rack and returns. The oak, synergistic with a regime that sacrifices nothing when it comes to attention to detail, is sourced from Bordeaux coopers of the highest tier (25% new; 15 months). As good as any merlot on these shores. 95/100 (James Halliday Wine Companion)
2017 Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon, Hickinbotham Vineyard @ £225 per 6 bottle case in bond
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, hand-harvested and matured in a combination of old and new Bordeaux barrels and alcohol at 13.5%, 1200 cases produced in total.
Hand-picked, berry-sorted and extracted regally with the thrice rack and return culture applied to alleviate reduction while maximising lees to juice contact across 15 months in Bordeaux wood, new and 1yo. The result is a full-bodied cabernet of currant, brush, sage, leaf, bouquet garni and olive, bound to a strong tannic weave, all needing time to unravel. And unravel it will. 96/100 (James Halliday Wine Companion)
2017 Brooks Road Shiraz, Hickinbotham Vineyard @ £225 per 6 bottle case in bond
100% Shiraz, all hand-harvested. 50% destemmed and 50% whole cluster. Matured in a selection of Burgundy barrels and 14% alcohol, 1360 cases produced.
50% destemmed, 50% retained as whole berry, the remainder crushed. While there is plenty of clove, cardamom and aniseed to Asian five-spice intrigue hidden behind the velour of plush cherry fruit, this is relatively forward in the context of the stable’s wines. A lick of vanilla pod oak and a skein of peppery acidity wafts across the long tail. 95/100 (James Halliday Wine Companion)
2017 The Peake (Cabernet/Shiraz), Hickinbotham Vineyard @ £250 per 3 bottle case in bond
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Shiraz, all planted in 1971. Hand-harvested and all plots were fermented separately, 120 cases were produced.
A quintessential Australian blend in the hands of American master winemaker Chris Carpenter delivers the goods… this is stellar gear. Expensive, undoubtedly, but the perspicacious obsession with tannin management rewarding from the first impression until the bottle is empty. The tannins are like a groomed piste of molten chocolate, gently riveted across the palate. These guide the senses to the next lick of fruit and riff of texture, while pulling the saliva out in preparation for the next sip. 97/100 (James Halliday Wine Companion)
All offered in bond and subject to availability. E & OE.