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Hickinbotham - Craft and Heritage in a Glass
Our series of blogs from Nathan's wine adventures in Australia continues. This week, we bring you one of the country's most admired wineries, Hickinbotham, in the Clarendon area of Mclaren Vale. During his visit, Nathan was fascinated to learn about the rich history of the estate, and meet the winemakers that revived the winery, making it the highly acclaimed success that it is today.
Vines were planted in Clarendon in 1850s' by the first settlers in the region. Clarendon lies to the extreme north of McLaren Vale, on the edge of the Adelaide foothills, at an altitude much higher than the rest of the area (almost 300 metres), providing it with a specific climate similar to the great wine-growing regions of the world.
Hickinbotham Vineyard was established by Alan Hickinbotham in 1971, when he planted dry-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in contoured rows on the sloping site. The 200-acre estate has since become part of Australia’s winemaking heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of Australia’s greatest wines.
Upon joining Hickinbotham, winemakers Charlie Seppelt and Christopher Carpenter drove the historic vineyard into a new era. Coming from a family of winemakers Charlie Seppelt, so the profession has always been part of his roots. His great-great grandfather, Joseph Seppelt, founded the great Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa in 1851, which went on to become the largest in Australia. The generations that followed managed the family winery until its sale in 1985.
Christopher Carpenter started his career in another 'giant' of New World winemaking, the Napa Valley. He is highly regarded for his mastery of Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the mountain vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. Christopher has brought this expertise along with a burst of California style into McLaren Vale winemaking, which you can taste in the unique character of Hickinbotham's sumptuous reds.
The new change in the wine's style was widely noticed in the '13 and '14 vintages, but the duo's first vintage was the 2012 - a "sleeping giant" as Nathan calls it, not as prominent but highly commended by anyone who has tasted it. The 2012s were produced in limited quantities and make for a superb introduction to the new Hickinbotham style. A superb selection of Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is available on our website, along with the star Cabernet-Shiraz blend, named "The Peake" after the founder of Clarendon – Sir Edward John Peake.
With flying #winemaker Chris Carpenter at @hickinbothamwines in #mclarenvale #australia 'I love playing with Bordeaux varieties and using my Napa experience to allowing wines from this wonderful McLaren Vale #vineyard to express their distinctive identity'. My verdict: plush, exciting, earthy and pleasing wines with well judged varietal backbones. And with his 'The Peake', at last a #cabernetsauvignon #shiraz blend that is truly voluptuous and balanced. Wunderbar! @flint_wines @honestgrapes @winechapuk #instawine #winetasting #napavalley #napawine
Published on: August 8, 2017