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Alex McIntosh
 
1 March 2020 | Alex McIntosh

New Year, New Vintage Release

 

This year is off to a great start, if you ask us. We’re excited to be launching the 2019 Ingram Road Chardonnay, 2019 Ingram Road Pinot Grigio and Ingram Road 2019 Heathcote Shiraz. Three wines that encapsulate the incredible vintage conditions present last year, including warm temperatures, resilient grapes and our signature hands-on approach to picking and fermenting.

To give you an idea of what makes these three so special, we’ve shared the unique process we went through to create each one and how this resulted in some of our favourite wines yet.

 

Ingram Road 2019 Chardonnay

Our 2019 Ingram Road Chardonnay was created with meticulous attention to detail. All the fruit was  hand picked from sites selected for their prevalence to produce fruit that suits the Ingram Road style.  The grapes were whole bunch pressed then transferred to barrel for fermentation and maturation in 100% French oak.

We use 100% ‘wild’ fermentation process during the initial stage, which ensures that only ‘wild’ yeasts that occur naturally in our vineyard are used in the primary ferment of this wine. The result is a wine with flavours that are unique to our single vineyard site in Coldstream. 

With highlighted tasting notes of stone fruit, melon and citrus, this wine is one where the palate reflects the nose, featuring a blend of white stone fruit, light melon, citrus and vanilla. Fresh and bright on the front palate with ample acidity, this wine is finished perfectly with subtle creaminess and hints of French oak. 

Colour: Honeyed gold
Aroma: Citrus, white stone fruits
Palate: Vanilla, citrus, crisp acidity

 

Ingram Road 2019 Pinot Grigio

While we love to bring a distinctly French feel to our wines, when it comes to Pinot Grigio we take our lead from the Italians.

Helen’s Hill co-owner and vigneron Allan Nalder fell in love with this expression of the variety while honeymooning in Piedmont, the region from which this crisp, fruit driven style of making Pinot Gris originates. Luckily, the Yarra Valley is a region that allows this varietal to thrive, so swe couldn’t resist adding it to our range.

A confluence of fresh fruit flavours and crisp acidity, this drop offers a clean fresh finish with flavours of apple and nashi pear. We used cold tank fermentation to pronounce a series of nuanced yet rich, textural flavours on the mid-palate, making it a wine to suit every season. 

The grapes for the 2019 Pinot Grigio are hand picked early and the fruit is whole bunch pressed,  retaining its natural acidity. Once the juice is cold settled in the tank for three days, it undergoes a cool, controlled ferment. 

After the fermentation process, the wine continues to mature in tank for three months before bottling. The final result is a crisp, fruit driven and mineral wine that holds true to the traditional Grigio style. 

Colour: Pale straw, slight pinkish blush
Aroma: Apple, nashi pear
Palate: Apples, nashi pear, clean minerality

 

Ingram Road 2019 Heathcote Shiraz

Why is the Heathcote Shiraz included in the Ingram Road range?

Simply put, the benefits of the ancient Cambrian soil and hot climate of the vineyard, combine to produce a type of Shiraz that tastes too good to be missed.

Once picked, the Shiraz fruit is destemmed and crushed gently in order to maintain the berries as a whole. It is then placed into open-top fermenters to sit on skins for 14 days. 

After this initial fermentation process is complete, the wine is then pressed off, settled and racked into 20 percent new French Oak barriques. It remains in the barriques for 14 months, allowing it to properly mature.  

Best enjoyed with comfort food such as heavy red meats in front of a fire on a cold winter's evening; the 2019 Shiraz coats the mouth with savoury spice and intense dark fruit flavours. 

The Shiraz is sourced from a single block of vines, the 2019 vintage has a flavour that is instantly recognisable in a way that sets it apart.   

Exploding on the palate with tones of liquorice, dark fruits and savoury notes, it extends to a long smooth finish complemented perfectly with rich tannins and subtle hints of oak. 

Colour: Deep ruby red
Aroma: Dark fruits, tobacco and spice
Palate: Savoury tones, liquorice and an extended smooth finish

If you’d like to experience our Ingram Road wines for yourself, we’d love to extend an invitation for you to come and visit our cellar door. Head to Helenshill.com.au to book a tasting.

Time Posted: 01/03/2020 at 9:51 AM
Alex McIntosh
 
20 December 2019 | Alex McIntosh

Seeing Red

For many years the differentiation between Syrah and Shiraz has been one that’s difficult to grasp. Both originating from the same grape varietal, these two reds embody similar characteristics including flavour notes of white and black pepper. What many don’t know is that Syrah and Shiraz each have their own unique process and flavour profile.

However, what truly sets both Shiraz and Syrah apart, is the process and environment in which they are created. Whilst Syrah historically hails from Northern France in the Rhones region and Shiraz from South Australia; a classic Syrah is known to be lighter than a Shiraz, featuring more complex and smokey flavours including notes of cherry and on the nose a full-bodied and herbaceous aroma.   

Below we explore two of our crowd favourites, the Ingram Road 2018 Heathcote Shiraz and the Helen’s Hill 2018 Hilltop Shiraz, taking you through their differences and unique characteristics. 

 

Ingram Road 2018 Heathcote Shiraz

Heathcote provides us with the perfect climate to produce our Ingram Road Shiraz. The deep red Cambrian soils combined with the hot growing conditions are perfect for this big bold variety. The wine is made from Single Vineyard fruit with our usual fastidious attention to quality. It is made at our winery following the same “less is more” winemaking ethos.


Helen’s Hill 2018 Hilltop Syrah

At Helen’s Hill, we like to think of ourselves as all-rounders. It’s an ethos that serves you well in a family business. That being as it is, our Hilltop Syrah has a real soft spot in our hearts. It’s the all-rounder's style of Shiraz that’s begun to pick up somewhat of a cult following in big red drinking circles. The Yarra Valley provides our Shiraz vines with the ability to produce a style of wine that has an elegance to it that is simply unattainable for classical Australian Shiraz. It broadens our Syrah’s potential for food pairings and drinking occasions immeasurably, and we love it!

Grown on the ‘Hill Top’, the highest point of Helen’s Hill, the vines are exposed to the hottest temperatures on our property, allowing them to thrive. The result, as owner Allan describes it, is an iron fist in a velvet glove. A cool climate Syrah with all the elegance and power required to make a lasting impression.

Try out our home-grown varieties for yourself and we’ll let the flavours of these two brilliant and bold reds speak for themselves!

 

Time Posted: 20/12/2019 at 10:09 AM
Alex McIntosh
 
29 November 2019 | Alex McIntosh

Wine myths debunked

Wine lovers take many forms and with the rise of a new generation of wine drinkers, we thought it might be worthwhile to debunk a few common wine myths for those wishing to expand their knowledge in our area of specialty – wine.

Wine myth: Red wine should be served at room temperature

Depending on the weather or where you are, room temperature may not be the optimal temperature to enjoy all your bottle of red has to offer. Wine served too cold or too hot may limit the flavours and overall tasting experience of that drop. The ideal temperature for red wine is between 15-18°C. So if it’s a hot day and you’re really craving a red, don’t be scared to pop a bottle in the fridge to bring it down to that optimal temperature for drinking.

Wine myth: The older the wine, the better the wine

Not necessarily. This really depends on the wine, the varietal and how it was made. Some wines benefit from the ageing process while others are at their best in their youth. Traditionally, a red wine tastes better as it matures, whereas a white wine, or even a rosé, tastes better when cracked straight away. If you’re unsure of when the best time to drink your wine is, have a chat to who you’re buying it off to get an idea of when you’re going to get the best experience from your bottle. And if it’s a bottle you’re choosing save, it’s also worthwhile to ask about the best way to store it!

Wine myth: Decanting wine enhances the flavour

It does. But not all wine needs to be decanted. Decanting wine involves pouring a bottle of wine into another vessel, typically a decanter. This process allows the sediment in the bottle to be separated from the wine, it also helps to aerate the wine. As the wine is poured into a decanter (or any vessel for that matter) it takes in oxygen which can help open up certain fragrances and flavours. Opening these elements up helps to truly showcase the wine and therefore enhance your wine drinking experience.

Wine myth: The glassware you’re drinking your wine out of impacts the taste

Similar to decanting, what you choose to drink your wine out of has an impact on the flavour and profile of the wine. The shape of the glass helps release certain smells and flavours. So if you’re wondering whether you should drink your favourite bottle of red or white out of different glasses, the short answer is probably yes. Both styles of wine have different elements that need to be showcased and treated differently when drinking. Just like temperature has an influence, so does glassware.

All this debunking has probably made you thirsty. Our online Bottleshop has the perfect cure for that. Shop our range online, or better yet, come visit us at our Cellar Door and see if you agree with our opinions on the myths mentioned above.

Got any other myths you want us to debunk? Send us an email and we’d be more than happy to get back to you and clear anything up. After all, wine is meant to be enjoyed, and we’re here to make sure of that.

Time Posted: 29/11/2019 at 5:24 PM
Alex McIntosh
 
1 November 2019 | Alex McIntosh

What's trending in wine this season?

 

With spring in full swing and summer fast approaching, we’re well and truly amongst the perfect season to be enjoying a fresh, crisp drop of wine.

Whether your entertaining with friends, or simply looking for the right bottle of wine to pair with dinner on a balmy night, there’s no denying that Australian wine trends are evolving, and we’re seeing more of a demand for fresher and fruitier styles, especially as the weather heats up.

Australian winemaking is adapting, and we’re seeing a move to catering more towards to our Australian lifestyle, in particular, our culture to enjoy the outdoors. Demands from a new generation of wine drinkers means we’re also seeing a rise in pale-dry Provence style rosés.

Asian and seafood dishes are a popular preference for us Aussies, and lighter, fresher and crunchier wines pair perfectly with them. 

“We eat tonnes of seafood and Asian cuisine in Australia and spend most of our time outdoors, and until recently have been drinking wines that don’t represent that lifestyle, but we’ve reached a tipping point and are starting to see wines being made that reflect our outdoor behaviour” says wine writer, Mike Bennie.

With the days now getting longer and the weather increasingly warmer, this season’s favourite varieties are best served chilled.

We’ve taken the time to create a list of some of our top drops to be enjoyed however you choose to soak in the warmth this year.

Helen’s Hill 2019 Lana’s Rosé

A quality wine with great versatility for all occasions. This Cabernet Rosé’s standout feature is its ability to provide ample fruit flavours of strawberries and light cherries, whilst still maintaining a crisp, dry finish that doesn’t linger on the palate.

En Vie Blanc de Noir

However you choose to say it, this is sparkling wine that invites a celebration; relaxed, spirited, simple, complex – wherever the mood or occasion takes you.

Ingram Road 2018 Pinot Grigio

This wine is punchy and fruit-driven, delivering generous flavours of apple and pear matched with minerality and a distinctly crisp finish. Match with a cheese platter and you’re well on your way to a good time.

Helen’s Hill 2018 Hill Top Syrah

A wine that displays generous dark fruit upfront is finished impeccably with tannin and a hint of pepper and spice.

To celebrate the launch of Spring Carnival, we’ve put together a special Spring Carnival Pack, including some of our top selections of wine to enjoy this season. Our Spring Carnival Pack can be purchased at the very special price of $120 and is available while stocks last. Head to our Bottleshop to pick yourself one up today! 

Time Posted: 01/11/2019 at 4:35 PM
Alex McIntosh
 
21 October 2019 | Alex McIntosh

Join us for a Pinot Noir Blending Masterclass

In case you missed it, we’re hosting an intimate Pinot Noir Blending Masterclass on Sunday the 10th of November. 

If you’re a fan of our single clone wines, then this is an opportunity not to miss. Held at our Yarra Valley vineyard, this event is an exclusive chance to try our 2019 vintage in an intimate Barrel Hall tasting. 

Join in the fun as owner and Pinot Noir tragic Allan Nalder takes you on a deep dive into the intricacies of Pinot Noir clones, why Pinot grows so well in the region and how our single-vineyard winery creates such unique blends. 

Become the winemaker for the day and create your own perfect pinot blend in a glass from all the individual clones tasted on the day. That’s right; all of Helen’s Hill reserve single clone pinots are included in the tasting.

After your time as winemaker, enjoy a well-deserved paired lunch prepared by Hominy Southern Kitchen. 

Mains

Coffee rubbed hickory smoked chicken.

Blistered corn and capsicum salsa.

18 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder.

Olives, cucumber & onion. Salsa borracha.

Roasted cauliflower (Vegan).

Tahini, lemon, pomegranate, mint and chilli.

Sides

Wedge salad.

Iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, radish, chive and buttermilk dressing.

Sweet potato & burrata salad.

Roasted sweet potato, torn burrata, soft herb dressing.

Dessert

Vanilla panna cotta, sweet tea jelly, strawberries

 

Get in quick because we’re not lying when we say this is an intimate event. Seats are limited! 

Tickets are $85 and can be purchased via the following link: https://www.trybooking.com/BGBKX 

Time Posted: 21/10/2019 at 11:03 AM
Alex McIntosh
 
2 April 2019 | Alex McIntosh

2019 Vintage


Helen's Hill Vintage Report 2019

I think that this has been said by a lot of people – 2019 what a vintage! The Yarra Valley has done it again!

The growing season started with a little wetter than normal spring, it then warmed up with some lovely consistent weather that produced a great fruit set and healthy cropping levels.

The ripening season came upon us with a vigour that’s above average! We had some warmer than normal temperatures that saw the fruit develop beautiful flavours and intensity.  Another year of little to no disease in the vineyard has created a very strong and healthy crop which has survived the higher temperatures of the ripening season.

This was a standout year for our Breachley Block Chardonnay and our Hilltop Syrah. Both displayed excellent flavours during veraison and are definitely ones that are going to develop into something truly special!

Pinot as a whole was a great year but this year’s single clone Pinots are looking spectacular and definitely the ones to watch! These wines are just getting better every year and are an amazing expression of the Pinot Noir variety. We are particularly looking forward to seeing how our 'Smuggler' Reserve Pinot develops with some time in oak, as it was the highlight of the years Pinot's coming out of the press. 

The dark horse for the year is our Merlot! This is a highly underrated wine displaying beautiful blackcurrant flavours with a little hint of spice with smooth tannins!

As we wrap up Vintage ’19 here at Helen’s Hill, we would like to say a big thanks to the winemakers and our wonderful vineyard staff for working the long hours so we can have great wines to drink!

Time Posted: 02/04/2019 at 2:50 PM