Paul Osicka Wines was established in 1955. The vineyard and winery are located at Majors Creek near Graytown, in the eastern part of the Heathcote wine region. The vineyard is one of the oldest in the region and consists of red quartz and ironstone soils. At the time of planting it was the first new winemaking enterprise started in Victoria for over fifty years. Paul Osicka Snr arrived in Australia with his wife Rosalie and their two small children, Paul and Joy. Paul Snr, whose family had a long tradition of making wine, had owned a successful winery in Czechoslovakia before World War II. As a child he had helped his grandfather and father make wine before attending a specialist agricultural / horticultural school in Velke Bilovice for two years. After escaping the communist invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1948, the family settled in Melbourne in 1951 and bought their vineyard on their very first visit to the region. Says Rosalie, ‘We visited the Segafredo vineyard near Graytown (planted in 1891) and my husband saw that the land was suitable for vines. We bought our land on the other side of the creek to that old vineyard. There was nothing at all here, no electricity, but the land where we planned to plant a vineyard had been cleared.’ Their first vintages, from 1960, bottled by Crittendens in Melbourne, were mostly sold to friends and their first Osicka label debuted in the mid-60s. In 1977 the US-based Rydge’s magazine described Paul Osicka’s 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon as one of the ten best wines in Australia. Like most small wineries, Paul Osicka Wines is very much a family affair. Paul’s wife, Sandra, works at the cellar door. Third generation Simon is now also working in the business and his partner Alison is an experienced viticulturist.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
This hand-picked wine was fermented for 3-4 weeks on skins and matured in French oak (20% new) for 14 months. Also reflects extensive hand fruit-thinning in the vineyard with its savoury/spicy blackberry/black cherry fruit with silky tannins and a long finish.
MIKE BENNIE - THE WINE FRONT
Paul Osicka wines have been the rediscovery of my past year or so. Outstanding older vine site, gentle hand in winemaking, family legacy-making, low key, idiosyncratic in the best possible way. Here’s another soulful expression from the intriguing site. Talking about sites, the website is likely defunct, Osicka family comms is more letter/fax/email than it is online tech, in a very ‘Wendouree’ kind of way. Shows deep and dark, licked by gum leaf and green herb, smooth and plush in texture. It’s a hedonistic wine but holds its shape, drawn long on emery board tannins and luxurious in its palate staining way. Perfume is rich, flavours are too, balance is all there, however, and a sense of freshness and drinkability is at ease. There’s plenty to chew on here, depth and width, lushness and seriousness. It’s a potent, winter-warming style, but finds an excellent groove.