Heggies Eden Valley Chardonnay 2013
The palate opens with stone fruit and builds to the mouth-filling complexity and texture of warm brioche. Interest is held by a rich creamy finish. All Heggies Vineyard wines show an excellent minerality that contributes to the length and finesse.
The wine will peak in five to seven years and will continue to offer pleasure and interest for at least 10 years. This Heggies Vineyard Chardonnay would be an excellent accompaniment to Asian fusion cuisine; try with steamed fish and ginger.
Heggies Vineyard is a specialist-Chardonnay estate where terroir showcases wines with fine minerality, flavour and balance. At over 500 metres above sea level, Heggies Vineyard is one of South Australia’s highest altitude vineyards and also one of its coolest. On every Heggies Vineyard bottle is the image of a man sitting on top of his horse and surveying the land before him. The man’s name is Colin Heggie, a local grazier, who was the original owner of the picturesque Eden Valley property before he sold it to his old friend Wyndham Hill Smith. This single vineyard is located in Eden Valley, South Australia where the cool climate terroir is encouraged to produce Chardonnay and Riesling in the distinctive Heggies Vineyard style. The close-planted vines are grown in a thin layer of grey sandy loam over clay and decomposed rock. The vines compete vigorously for moisture and nutrient in this ‘lean’ soil, encouraging roots to dig deep where it is moist and cool throughout all seasons.
Higher in elevation and topographically more dramatic than the Barossa Valley floor, Eden Valley abuts it to its south and east. While it is a bit of an extension of Barossa, Eden Valley is topographically different than the pastoral Barossa Valley, and is composed of rocky hills and eucalyptus groves.
Recognizing Eden Valley’s potential with Riesling in the 1960s and 70s, producers started to move their Riesling production from Barossa to these better sites where schist soils on hilltops would produce more steely, tart and age-worthy examples. A most famous site, planted by Colin Gramp, called Steingarten, today produces one of the most outstanding Australian Rieslings. Youthful Eden Valley Rieslings express floral, grapefruit and mineral, while with time in the bottle, they become increasingly toasty and complex.
Riesling isn’t the only grape the region can grow; undeniably at lower altitudes Shiraz does very well. Mount Edelstone is a notable vineyard as well as the Hill of Grace, which boasts healthy Shiraz vines well over 100 years old. This is the only Australian region where Merlot has a made a name for itself and Chardonnay can be spectacular, particularly from the High Eden subregion in the southern valley.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.