SIN­GLE MINDED

Show­cas­ing top-notch wines cre­ates a unique op­por­tu­nity for us to en­joy spe­cific plots and sea­sons, writes Toni Pater­son.

Australian House & Garden - - LIVING -

Sin­gle-vine­yard wines, as the term im­plies, are made from a spe­cific patch of land. The vol­umes are lim­ited, so they are of­ten in short sup­ply.

When a win­ery pro­duces a wine un­der a sin­gle-vine­yard la­bel, the grapes will come from the same sin­gle plot each time the wine is bot­tled un­der that name. This is quite a dif­fer­ent process to a small win­ery mak­ing a wine from select parcels of grapes sourced from dif­fer­ent parts of its es­tate.

Sin­gle-vine­yard wines gen­er­ally arise be­cause a par­tic­u­lar vine­yard shows it­self to have a high-qual­ity, unique flavour pro­file and a bal­ance that negates the need to blend with an­other par­cel of wine. Some­times this is be­cause of the age of the vines, the par­tic­u­lar clones planted, the unique mi­cro­cli­mate or soil of the vine­yard, or the sum of all those fac­tors.

Aus­tralia’s most fa­mous sin­glevine­yard wine is ar­guably Hen­schke’s Hill of Grace, pro­duced from a sin­gle 4ha plot of land in South Aus­tralia’s Eden Val­ley. There, the old, gnarly dry-grown vines pro­duce a very con­cen­trated and char­ac­ter­is­tic shi­raz.

Hill of Grace is a rare and in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive wine be­cause the qual­ity is high and the vol­ume is lim­ited. It has a spe­cial char­ac­ter, and its taste is a snap­shot in time, re­flec­tive of the sea­son in which it was grown.

That’s what makes sin­gle-vine­yard wines so fas­ci­nat­ing. Some­times, par­tic­u­larly in poor vin­tages, they’re not the most seam­less, com­plete or flaw­less wines (which ex­plains why they’re not pro­duced ev­ery year).

But in great vin­tages, they can be all of the above and more. This vari­abil­ity makes them so ab­sorb­ing, and their per­son­al­i­ties so cap­ti­vat­ing. These wines stim­u­late the mind as well as the taste­buds, so they’re all the more sat­is­fy­ing to drink.

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