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Hillcrest Vineyard is a micro-boutique maker of individual, classically styled wines. Its owners, David and Tanya Bryant, look to the best producers from the famous French regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux as both their inspiration and benchmark. The style of the wines is clearly influenced by the art of Old World viticulture and winemaking, yet possess an added element of richness which is a distinctive feature of Australian wines. The great, old wines of Burgundy were renowned for this feature, and at Hillcrest it is brought to life in this thoughtful emulation of the great old wines of France.

Drawing on their small 48 year-old vineyard in Victoria's famous Yarra Valley wine region, David and Tanya spent the best part of a decade working with one of Australia's most highly regarded winemakers, Phillip Jones of Bass Phillip fame. During this time, they patiently observed and learned, progressively assuming more winemaking control each vintage, and now blend what has been an invaluable education with their own style and meticulous approach in the vineyard and winery.

The 2016 vintage was a relatively easy one, with long sunny periods, no extreme heat, occasional showers to freshen and reinvigorate the vines, and a straight-forward series of fermentations, before the wines were left to age, undisturbed with no racking, for 14 months. The wines possess solid acid, fine tannins, a richness of fruit without losing the important savoury elements expected of European style wines, and will be approachable fairly early while having all of the elements to see them age particularly well. The vintage is similar in style to 2013, perhaps with a touch more richness.

The village wine from Hillcrest most often hits the spot. Cherry and plum, earthy and five spicy, with a blood plum and soy flavour, a firm dusting of fine sooty tannin, a distinct almost umami character that recalls roast mushroom, but brighter red fruit flavours pushing through a satisfying finish. Character plus. Tasted: April 18; Alcohol: 13.3%; Price: $30; Closure: Diam; Drink: 2018 - 2028; Rated: 92 Points; Gary Walsh; The Wine Front

 
 

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