After a successful career as a chef in fine diners around the globe, it’s no surprise that Heathcote legend Adam Foster knows how to craft a flavour explosion. Add to that vintage experience with some of the world’s best shiraz producers including Torbreck, Jasper Hill and Chapoutier and you’re left with a palate some winemakers can merely dream of.
Adam has been making wines under his Syrahmi label in Heathcote since 2004, working closely with some of the region’s best grape growers to produce wines that express the unique terroirs of each site. The grapes for the 2016 New Beginnings Shiraz come from Carl Brown’s meticulously managed Colbinabbin vineyard, the only certified organic site in Heathcote.
The wine has all the power and depth you’d expect from Heathcote, with a certain elegance that keeps you coming back for more. Blackberry and dark plum fill out the mid-weight palate, that is spiked with layers of ground coffee and dried earth. There’s Côte-Rôtie-esque black olive and bacon fat characters that harken back to Foster’s days in the Northern Rhône, and enough persistence to last the journey there.
“Wild wine here. Born from an organic (certified) vineyard farmed by Carl Brown, a guy who cares a lot about soil health and mixed agriculture on his humble land in Heathcote. I’ve visited the spot, and though unremarkable aesthetically, you get the impression from Carl that he works extremely hard across all facets of his work to ensure best end results for his produce. Great news for winemaker Adam Foster. Finesse, heft, power, brightness. A wine that has you leaping around your brain. Has a savouriness, ferrous and slightly game meaty, some strong earthiness and coffee ground notes in the mix, rich flavours but not overly heavy, and, underneath, a fresh bite of acidity that feels peaky and tangy. An individual and bold wine of excellence. Compelling stuff.”
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- 100% Shiraz
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From the producer
Dark and deep brick red, a riot of perfume encompassing ripe wild blackberries, baked red earth and dry sage herb, smoked meats/charcuterie, bergamot tea and black olive create a sense of excitement. Complex, dense weighted palate with intense energy. Lifted perfumes of black olive tapenade, smoked meats with compounded black fruits add to the ultra fine savoury tannin from the 90% whole bunch used is a feature. Long, deep and complex with rich dark fruits, the ripeness of the vintage has still left the wine with freshness for a very long future ahead.
Heathcote had one of the coldest winters in recent memory, and the driest lead into a warm and dry spring and early summer; harvest was the earliest on record. Heathcote is normally known for its cool nights and warm days but this year the nights were particularly warm in December and early January, which contributed to the early ripening of the berries. Most will agree that Shiraz is of exceptional quality in 2016.
Fruit: 90% whole bunch, wild yeast fermentation and malolactic fermentation. Fermentation: Open fermenter, no pumping, hand plunged only, 40 days on skins before pressing. Free run only used for this wine. Maturation: Aged in used 2800L Foudre 100% French for 16 months. Wine is left on lees without racking, then bottled unfined & unfiltered with min. SO2 to age for a further 3 years.
There are two distinct styles of Heathcote wine, which can get confusing. There's Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck at the giant end of the spectrum for Greenock Creek lovers (I'm talking 17.5% alcohol!). And then there's Jasper Hill, Heathcote Estate, Chalmers' new Heathcote outfit and some new alternative varieties that seem to be making it into the best weird and wonderful natural wines in the country. Think Shiraz here traditionally, but don't be afraid to try the Nebbiolo, Fiano and Lagrein from painstakingly selected vineyards. They're refreshingly delicious.