The Heathcote wine region is located north of Melbourne. It is one of Victoria's largest shiraz producing regions and is renowned for its ancient red Cambrian soils.
Other varieties found in the region include cabernet sauvignon and merlot, along with Spanish and Italian varieties such as grenache, tempranillo and sangiovese. When it comes to white wines, chardonnay is a standout, as well as Rhône varietals like marsanne, roussanne and viognier.
Here are four wines to try from Heathcote.
2004 McIvor Estate Cabernet MerlotThe 2004 McIvor Estate Cabernet Merlot comes from a cracking vintage. The cloudless days, plentiful sunlight and cool nights helped colour and flavour development. This full-bodied red is a blend of two classic varietals, one complementing the other to create a symphony of flavours. The cabernet provides structure, while the merlot adds flesh and roundness to the wine. Deep garnet in colour with aromas of cassis, complex and chocolatey notes. On the palate the wine is full bodied and well balanced with a smooth and silky finish.
Owner Simon Connolly says: This wine is a true representation of the granite soils our vines are grown in. The combination of fruit and tannins provide a truly unique depth of flavour.
Best enjoyed: Pair the 2004 with a grilled rib-eye steak with roasted garlic and rosemary – the bold flavours will match beautifully.
RRP $35 | Drink to now | mcivorestate.com.au
2018 Munari Wines Ladys Pass ShirazOur flagship shiraz is a classic example of Adrian Munari’s elegant and structural style of winemaking. Rated 95 points by Jeni Port, the Ladys Pass is a beautifully aromatic wine with layers of blackberry, red currant, blackcurrant, raspberry licorice and warm wood. The fruit is supported with a subtle and well-integrated use of oak that rounds out the mouthfeel and increases the aromatics of the wine. This is a medium-to-full bodied shiraz with delicate red and dark fruit on the palate, a trademark light spice and a nuance of port jelly with a long and delicate finish. This is an elegant, finessed and food friendly wine.
Owner and winemaker Adrian Munari says: I love making wine in Heathcote because the Mediterranean climate allows for such a variety of grapes to be grown and produced. The region has traditionally been known for red wine production but we're now moving into a new and exciting era of Italian and Spanish varieties. We’re really lucky to be able to produce crisp whites, medium-bodied reds and dense shiraz. Finally, the microclimate is really special and produces very consistent fruit that allows us to continue making our wine style year after year.
Best enjoyed: Pair the 2018 with osso bucco, pasta puttanesca or beef tagine.
RRP $45 | Drink to 2033 | munariwines.com
2013 Peregrine Ridge Limited Release ShirazDense ruby with a garnet hue. Notes of blackberries and dark cherries are supported by soft cedar and cloves on the nose. Intense, ripe blackberries and spice dominate the palate. The front palate provides a spicy introduction to a long and persistent after palate – supported by dark cherries, dark plums and silky tannins. Superbly integrated French oak provides the length and persistence that is the hallmark of this wine style. This is a fine and elegant, medium-to-full bodied wine.
Winemakers Graeme Quigley and Sue Kerrison say: We love crafting wine from the fruit we've grown. We don’t sell fruit and we don’t buy fruit. So if we don’t have fruit, we don’t have a vintage. Peregrine Ridge is about wine from our vineyard. It's so satisfying to grow and make wine that we love and wine that our customers love.
Best enjoyed: Pair this limited release with slow-cooked meats. It's also very good with steak, roast pork and roast lamb.
RRP $50 | Drink to 2035 | peregrineridge.com.au
2020 Sanguine Estate Inception ShirazNamed 'Inception' as this is where the Hunter families winemaking adventure began – initially with this one wine. Since then the range has grown but it will always have a special place in the Hunter family hearts. A deeply concentrated and expressive Heathcote shiraz. The colour is a dense bright purple hue and dark red. Aromas of rich, ripe berries, definitely in the black fruits spectrum, with a complex array of smokey cedar wood, dried herbs, coffee beans and aniseed spice. The palate is deliciously juicy and soft for such a young wine. Rich blackberry fruit throughout with a hint of aniseed on the finish. The tannins are fine, fruit rich and wonderfully balanced. This wine can be enjoyed now but will soften and gain complexity over time.
Winemaker Mark Hunter says: I particularly love that following organic principles from our vineyard to winery, in most years, is achievable in Heathcote’s climate. The many varied microclimates really express themselves using these principles, which makes for fascinating blending. It doesn’t hurt that the colour and flavour are exceptional in nearly every vintage.
Best enjoyed: Pair the 2020 with slow-braised beef cheek, miso-eggplant, or truffle-potato croquettes.
RRP $43 | Drink to 2030 | sanguinewines.com.au