Situated in the hills southeast of Great Western at Armstrong, on an east facing, undulating slope of red/brown sandy clay loam, with buckshot and some quartz, known as the ‘Concongella’ soil series. Planted in 1969 by the Dalkin family, and then extended in 1998. From 2011 the Morris family have taken custodianship of this great site. The vineyard is mainly the rare St. Ethel clone of Shiraz, but with a small trial clonal block on various rootstocks. In 2008 a small block of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier was added, on the lightest, poorest soils in the vineyard.
The vineyard is usually one of the later, cooler ripening sites we harvest, with a harvest date in the first week of April. The older Shiraz vines in particular display effortless depth and fine, building tannins, the wines ageing superbly, retaining admirable acidity. Grapes from the 1969 plantings often rise to the quality mark needed for a single, Westgate Vineyard bottling, and the 1998 plantings are an important, fleshy component of our Grampians Shiraz each year. The Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier vines go to make our white blend, and have a very promising future. One of our favourite, and most important sites in the district.
Located on a gentle, north facing slope just northeast of Stawell, on very poor, sandy, silty soils with quartz and shale components. It has poor water holding ability and as such yields are low, and it is generally our first harvested site in the Grampians around mid-March. Garry Rice tends all the vines personally, and canopies and crop load are always well balanced. The vineyard is farmed with as few synthetic inputs as possible, and in that sense benefits from a warmer, drier climate for the region. It was planted in 1993 and comprises 15Ha of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, on a tight spacing to give 2500 vines/Ha.
The Shiraz from Rice’s displays rich, supple, dark fruits with a generous mid palate, rich tannins, generally low acidity and high colour. When sugars are managed and the wine sensitively made, it can turn out fleshy, joyful wines with plenty of generosity and appeal, and quality has twice been high enough to warrant single vineyard bottling. In general it provides much needed richness and texture and palate weight to our Grampians Shiraz blend.
Located southwest of Great Western and north of Moyston, in the granite dotted hills, is Hyde Park Vineyard, a large, warm, vineyard set on a large siltstone hill, which looks like shale or slate, and erupts out of the red ferrous earth. We take grapes from the top of the hill, where the red earth is higher in clay and stone and retains more moisture, and largely avoids the need for irrigation in all but the hottest periods. Down the slope the soil becomes lighter and more sandy as it approaches an old creek. The earliest of our Shiraz to ripen now, it produces juicy, tangy, jubey red berry flavours and nice high tones.
From 2013 it will form the bulk of our Grampians Blend. A parcel of 100% whole bunch fermented Shiraz from this block adds spice and lift to the blend. Expertly managed by Robin Kuchel.