Hickinbotham The Peake Cabernet-Shiraz 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Vines in the Clarendon area were first planted in 1858 by the area’s first settlers. While part of the McLaren Vale GI, Clarendon is a distinct subregion located in the very north, on the edge of the Adelaide foothills. Its elevation of 820 feet above sea level affords it cooler temperatures than most of McLaren Vale, providing it with the unique diurnal weather patterns that mirror the great wine-growing regions of the world. Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard was established by Alan Hickinbotham in 1971, when he planted dry-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in contoured rows on the sloping site. The 200-acre vineyard has since become part of Australia’s winemaking heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of Australia’s greatest wines including Penfolds Grange Hermitage and Hardy’s Eileen Hardy. Breathing new life into this historic vineyard, Winemakers Charlie Seppelt and Christopher Carpenter have commenced a new era of Hickinbotham’s prestigious legacy. The inaugural 2012 vintage under Carpenter and Seppelt has built upon the vineyard’s acclaimed record with their highly commended offerings of Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and halo tier Cabernet-Shiraz blend named ‘The Peake’ after the founder of Clarendon – Sir Edward John Peake.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône Blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.