Back Vintage Review – Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz – 2012

What is the point, you may ask, of reviewing a wine that is no longer easily available to taste or purchase?

Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz 2012

As many are now fond of answering – ‘Good Question!’

My thoughts are that many people may be interested in reading about a wine that unfolds in time, slowly revealing hidden charms. You may then be interested in acquiring the current vintage wine for your own collection to enjoy in the future. You would also be buying at a price that doesn’t include higher costs associated with the winery cellaring / keeping the wine for many years – if they were able to do so!

Although the Greenstone winery and cellar door are now based in the Yarra Valley, the Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz is a flagship wine on tasting at the Greenstone cellar door. Located on the western outskirts of the township of Yarra Glen, the current site of the Greenstone winery was first established by Yarra Ridge, it then became the home of Sticks Yarra Valley. Greenstone Vineyards purchased the Yarra Valley winery and cellar door in 2015, with a vision to add cool climate wines to their impressive portfolio.

Tasting on the expansive deck @ Greenstone Yarra Valley

The Greenstone project commenced in 2003, as a 40 hectare property at Colbinabbin, to the north of Heathcote. The Cambrian soils of Heathcote are unique, with the oldest known soils in Australia. Geological findings have dated the Cambrian soils at over 550 million years. These deep red soils are mottled with copper basalt, which has a green tinge, thus the name Greenstone. The mild climate and agreeable vineyard conditions have helped make Heathcote wines so highly regarded throughout Australia, and indeed, the rest of the wine drinking world. The Italian varietal Sangiovese also shows great promise from the Greenstone Heathcote vineyards.

The current vintage of the Heathcote Shiraz is 2017, so it is fascinating to see how the wine presents as a back vintage, at 8 years of age (2012 vintage tasted in July 2020).

Well renowned viticulturist, Mark Walpole was in charge of the vineyards in 2012. The magical touch of winemaker Sandro Mosele crafted the wines – further to performing his duties at the time at Kooyong Estate – Mornington Peninsula.

Tasting

I recall that as a young wine, the 2012 Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz was taut and minerally, with very few fruit aromas or flavours evident. Fine grained persistent tannins and acidity were obvious. Tasting the wine 6 years down the track, I am pleased to report that the wine is maturing beautifully – with a bright future still ahead for the foreseeable future.

Aromas and flavours of dark fruits and blackberry gently reveal themselves, over a backdrop of very fine, ripe tannins. The acidity is well integrated, adding freshness and brightness to the medium bodied palate. I contend that the minerality in the Greenstone soils help to add complexity and minerality to this intriguing wine.

It is worth noting that the wine is made in a cool climate style – with French oak barrels being used for aging as well as slightly earlier picking of the grapes – retaining natural acidity. Many Heathcote Shirazes tip the scales at a hefty 15% abv.  The 2012 Greenstone Shiraz weighs in at a svelte 13.5%abv. Practically a health food!

I am looking forward to tasting the 2012 in another 4-5 years, to see how it is unfolding. I will keep you posted.

Official score out of 100 – You little ripper!