Glenhope Estate, Glenhope
In 2022, I was fortunate enough to secure some fruit from Glenhope Estate, a 91-acre vineyard in the northern pocket of the Macedon Ranges. The vineyard was originally planted in 1995/96, and its current custodians are James and Marlene with Scott Harrington assisting with much of the day to day management. The vineyard sits at an elevation of approximately 500m and on granite soil, and in the gully of the neighbouring block is Pohlman's Creek, a majestic seasonal creek which is home to many native birds and wildlife.
Pohlman's Creek Appellation release: 2022 Blush Rosé, 2022 Field Blend (Pinot Noir Syrah) and 2022 Rouge Cuvée (equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec)
Mt Alexander Shire
The Fazio's Vineyard, Faraday
A planting of the late 1980s, this vineyard is tended to by Chris and Elissa Fazio with a precision rarely found in the ramshackle world of viticulture. A stunning north-easterly facing slope, vistas of Mt Alexander and soils of weathered granitic sands. Uniquely cool given its proximity to the Macedon Ranges, this site is clean, the fruit is clean and the wines from this site are clean and precise. There’s a balance of acidity, tannin and character that are beguiling to drink. It’s an exciting sub-region, little known but revered by those who do.
Mt Alexander Shire Appellation release: 2020 Chardonnay (sold out), 2020 Pinot Noir (sold out), 2020 Shiraz (sold out) and 2021 Riesling (sold out)
Merindoc Vineyard, Tooborac
Mid-1990s plantings of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Shiraz. Owned by the Shelmerdine family on the cusp of the Macedon Ranges, depending on who you ask this could be Heathcote, could be Macedon. At an altitude of 321m, surrounded by stunning outcrops of Granite, bursting out of the earth. The McIvor Creek provides irrigation after the Macedon rains of late Spring, soils are Granitic Ironstone with sections of yellow/black cracking clays and cooler nights allow for slower ripening. This site delivers crisp acidity, freshness, and life; these wines are young and lively, with pleasing fresh brightness. Unfortunately these wines can no longer be produced, as the vineyard was decommissioned in the winter of 2020.
Heathcote Appellation releases: 2019 Blanc-de-Blanc (sold out), 2020 Charlotte Chardonnay (sold out)
Lakeside Vineyard, Knowsley
Shiraz planting of the early noughties. Just like the transition from lawyer to winemaker, I like to tend to my little plot of Shiraz the hard way. Hand weeded, hand mowed, hand pruned, hand netted, and hand-picked, this little plot is a labour of love. I transitioned from spur to cane pruning in 2018, it was a great move. I’ve also transitioned to organic practice, hence all the hand jobs. Loam on the fringes with a strip of red Cambrian soil running through the middle of the vineyard, I drip feed a little water from Lake Eppalock to keep things ticking over in the warmer and drier months. It’s all about balance here, the fruit has a deft, light touch with a delicacy that is not often found in Heathcote.
Heathcote Appellation release: 2021 Wirilda Bay “Lakeside” Syrah (sold out)
Mount Burrumboot Estate, Colbinabbin
Shiraz and Marsanne plantings of late 1990s. Andrew and Cathy Branson farm with a rugged, infectious spirit and their fruit is as full of life as they both are. The soils are a deep, deep red, proper Heathcote Cambrian loams with the vines benefiting from irrigation flowing in from the Warranga-Western Channel. Minimal intervention, these vines are farmed organically and this fruit is such beautiful quality, the defining character of this site is a ripeness and vivacity of flavour that is hard to beat.
Heathcote Appellation release: 2020 “RAD” Late Harvest Marsanne (sold out)