Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard covers a steep cut of country from the ridgetops above the village of Clarendon to the Onkaparinga River in the gorge below. Since its establishment in 1971, the Hickinbotham Vineyard has become a part of Australia’s wine heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of Australia’s greatest wines. Breathing new life into this historic vineyard, winemakers Chris Carpenter and Peter Fraser are forging a new era of Hickinbotham’s prestigious legacy: building upon and honouring the vineyard’s acclaimed record.
Sourced from a single block of Bush Vines planted in 1962 at 225m altitude on the Estate. Hand picked, destemmed and whole berry sorted to open fermentation with 10% whole bunches. Cold soaked, inoculated with cultured yeast, plunged 3 times daily with 13 days on skins. Drained directly to barrel, Basket pressed, Rack and returned once over the maturation of 7.5 months prior to bottling. Matured in a selection of 5 year + Burgundy coopered barrels.
This is particularly sinuous in form, with elegant aromas of white pepper, dried fig, and quince paste. The wine’s remarkably intense, with savoury flavours of anise and gunmetal; it has darker, perhaps more serious flavours than various types of cherry-to-raspberry common to many Grenache wines. While particularly elegant and appetising now—a style borne of its texture and lithe form as much as its flavours—it will grow more robust in time; and with this intensity of structure, the wine has quite some time ahead of it.
Alan Hickinbotham established the vineyard bearing his name in 1971 when he planted dry- grown cabernet sauvignon and shiraz in contoured rows on the sloping site. He was a very successful builder, this his first venture into wine, but his father, Alan Robb Hickinbotham, had a long and distinguished career, co-founding the oenology diploma at Roseworthy in ’36. In 2012 Clarendon, and the stately sandstone house on the property, was purchased by Jackson Family Wines; it is run as a separate business from Yangarra Estate Vineyard, with different winemaking teams and wines. The Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard covers a steep cut of country from the ridgetops above the village of Clarendon to the Onkaparinga River in the gorge below. Since its establishment in 1971, the Hickinbotham vineyard has become a part of Australia’s wine heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of Australia’s greatest wines. The Clarendon Vineyard has sold select parcels to Penfolds for Grange and to Hardy’s for their equivalent white flagship, the Eileen Hardy Chardonnay.
JANE FAULKNER - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
From a single block of bush vines planted in '62, destemmed but whole berries, 10% whole bunch, open fermented, 13 days on skins, aged in seasoned barrels for 7 months. Heady aromas of raspberries, star anise and a dash of Mediterranean herbs. Lovely balance and a succulence on the medium-bodied palate where ripe, sandy tannins kick in. Pitch-perfect now.
STEVE LESZCZYNSKI - QWINE
The vineyard was planted in 1962. Handpicked fruit with 10% whole bunches used. Matured in a selection of five-year-old barrels. Don't walk up here expecting raspberries and strawberries. Fine spices coupled with dried fig and dried dates sit at the core of this wine. It runs deep with plenty of meaty generosity in its veins. Some dried red flower aromas add some floral prettiness. Brick dust like tannins are scattered across the mouth leaving a long and drying finish. A superb rendition of Grenache - it's hard to resist another glass.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Smooth as silk, ripped with spice, pulled more-or-less taut through the finish and yet various flavours remain free to flow like the outreaches of a flag. You get spice drenched length, you get florals, you get a core of succulent raspberry and anise. In short, you get a textbook example of quality McLaren Vale grenache.
TONI PATERSON MW - THE REAL REVIEW
A sophisticated grenache with distinct savoury elements which balance the generous red-fruit flavours. Refined, quality oak accents add interest. I adore the faint dried cherry accents and the intense red mulberry flavours on the back palate. A classy grenache. Very well-made.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
From vines planted in 1962 with a southeastern (cool) exposure, the herb-tinged 2016 Elder Hill Grenache (roughly 15% was fermented as whole clusters) features elegant strawberry and raspberry fruit on the nose. It's medium to full-bodied and silky in texture on the palate, picking up hints of roses and mocha on the long finish. It shows ample body but also the sense of weightlessness that often marks great Grenache. It should drink well for another 4-5 years, at least, and probably many more.