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Hillcrest is located in the heart of Melbourne's picturesque Yarra Valley, one of Australia's oldest wine regions. Planted in 1970, it was one of the pioneers in the re-establishment of the Valley, and it is this vineyard which provides the old-vine resource from which the rare Reserve, Premium and Estate wines are made. Purchased in 1999, the neglected 39-year old vineyard was re-trellised to allow for better canopy management. Now farmed along organic principles, herbicides, pesticides, fertilisers and other systemic spraying have been eliminated. The entire vineyard is unirrigated and the vines must work to support themselves. Recent drought conditions caused little disturbance at Hillcrest as the older vines, having established their own deep root systems over 39 years, drew on moisture deep within the ground to sustain themselves. The result continues to be exquisitely concentrated and healthy fruit. 

These wines often greet you with a rich golden colour, which you’d have to say is pretty unorthodox in Yarra Valley Chardonnay world. Luxurious golden colour, nectarine, honey and white flowers, spicy vanilla biscuits, menthol and almost a roast chicken savoury thing going on. It’s intense, deeply flavoured and powerful, with a firm core of pure acidity, oxidative and savoury flavours, tangerine, a subtle chalk dust texture, and a very long finish. Idiosyncratic, yes! But what a glass of Chardonnay. I’m thinking, this vintage, may be best enjoyed over the next few years: the complexity is already here. Tasted: Feb 2017; Price: $75; Closure: Cork; Drink: 2018-2023+; Rating: 95 Points; Gary Walsh; The Wine Front

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