Since chemo screwed my tastebuds, I've not really felt like drinking wine. Apart from a few celebratory bottles of Veuve and the extra special celebratory bottles of Cristal, I could count the number of glasses of wine consumed the past few years, on one hand.
For months now, my choice of drink has been beer. But I miss wine and have been thinking about retraining my palate and enjoying wine again. When an invite to the Heathcote Wine Roadshow landed in my inbox, I wasted no time in opting in for the masterclass, Heathcote Horizontal - Heathcote Shiraz and the Rest of the World.
Heathcote, a former gold mining and logging town, is now recognised as a premier shiraz region on the Australian wine map. Being only112k from Melbourne you can be there in a little over one hour of driving.
Our masterclass host Ben Edwards, President of Sommeliers Australia.
Winemaker at Galli Estate Ben Ranken, spoke on how the wine is influenced by the soil and climate. Heathcote wine growing region stretches around 100k from north to south, with elevations between 160 m and 380 m. The north is drier than the south and receives an average of 5 - 10mm less rain per month during the vine's growing season (October - April). Southern vineyards are a little cooler with temperatures lower by 1.8 - 1.4 Celsius, resulting in an extended growing season.
Never having been to the Heathcote region, Cambrian Earth was a term I had not come across before. Ben touched on it a little, but visit the Heathcote Shiraz website for detailed information.
The tasting was in two parts. First up - 5 shiraz samples from the Heathcote region.
- Galli Estate Artigino Block 2 2007
- Tellurian Shiraz 2008
- Munari Wines Beauregard Shiraz 2006
- Sanguine Estate Heathcote 2007
- Shelmerdine Shiraz 2007
This excercise was designed to show the different characteristics of Heathcote Shiraz.
A show of hands proved Munari Shiraz to be the most popular. For me it was an equal first with the Galli Estate.
I failed miserably at this, not even recognising the New Zealand Te Awa Syrah, a wine I sold when I worked for their distributor in New Zealand.
The wines included
- Barfold Estate Shiraz 2006
- Heathcote Estate Shiraz 2007
- Greenstone Shiraz 2007
- Te Awa Syrah 2009
- Domaine Belle Crozes-Hermitage 'Les Pierelles' 2007
My preference was the Barfold Estate, which also was the choice of the majority at the Brisbane morning tasting.
Heathcote showcase wines of the region at their Visit Shiraz Heaven Food and Wine Festival on 2 - 3 October 2010.