Heathcote – it’s home to some of Victoria’s biggest and boldest Shiraz. Wines that are full-bodied, black as night, and made to please.
Heathcote has a long history crafting generous wine styles. Ron Laughton at Jasper Hill, John Ellis at Hanging Rock and David Anderson at Wild Duck Creek kick started Heathcote’s rise, which were then followed by the likes of Heathcote Estate, Greenstone, Sergio Carlei, Tyrrell’s and even Michel Chapoutier, all the way from the Rhone Valley.
What drew these winemakers to Heathcote was its cool continental climate that shaped wines that are both powerful and subtle. Aided by 500 million year old Cambrian soils this climate is what makes Heathcote a great region for Australian Shiraz. But in a very different style to the typical McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley style – Heathcote creates more reserved wines that are often earthy, spicy and savoury but still with exceptional underlying power.
Unsurprisingly Heathcote has long been on De Bortoli winemaker Steve Webber’s radar. For a decade Steve has been sourcing fruit from Heathcote and getting increasingly excited around it’s potential. In 2015 the De Bortoli’s dipped a toe in the water with the first vintage of De Bortoli’s Woodfired Shiraz. It was a classic crowd pleasing ripe Australian Shiraz style which quickly won many fans.
Encouraged by the success of the Woodfired Range the De Bortoli family bit the bullet in 2017 and bought the Freemans Bridge Vineyard near Bendigo, a large 78 hectare vineyard of established Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines from which De Bortoli’s Woodfired range is now sourced, with additional fruit also coming from local growers. Over time the Cabernet Sauvignon vines will also be grafted to Shiraz, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre and Grenache Blanc to give more options for the range.
De Bortoli’s Woodfired Shiraz 2018 is a plush and rich Heathcote style. It’s weighty and bold showing vanillin and spice from six to eight months on oak with powerful mulberry, blackberry and baked earth fruits. It’s complex, rich, ripe and juicy on the palate – with layers of sweet berry fruits with a touch of classic stony complexity and supple tannins. Delicious now it has the power and structure to drink well over the next three to five years.