Being one of the largest privately owned winery, Scotchman’s Hill is one of the best wine producers of the Bellarine Peninsula, just 30 mins out of Geelong (about 90 mins from Melbourne). It produces quality, cool climate wine but not just with fruit grown off their 250 hectares of largely fertile volcanic soils of black clay with basalt. Their portfolio spans several labels from the entry level ‘Swan Bay’ to the higher-priced single vineyard ‘Cornelius’ wines. They also produce wine originating from other Australian states (McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, Mornington Peninsula), and even into New Zealand (Marlborough). Since they are a Victorian winery, I’ll focus on their ‘local’ wines from the Scotchman’s Hill label. Astute readers will know that the 2011 vintage was marked with too much rain. This might create the impression of leaner wines, particularly for the reds but that largely depends on what your palate was cut on. However, I would encourage seeking out older vintages or waiting for the 2012s before making up your mind about your preference for Scotchman’s Hill.
Scotchman’s Hill Riesling 2012, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$25. Only ~1000 btls produced. From older vines planted in 1982, cold fermented for 14 days, aged on lees for 3 months. A pale straw yellow colour. Intense youthful fragrance of lime florals, white grapefruit and lemon spritz. Full-bodied wine with racy acidity, palate dominated with ripe citrus flavours. Very nice texture, attributable to lees contact. Nice structure and balance. Drink now – 2015+. 91/100
Scotchman’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$20. Fruit is pressed into stainless steel tank, cold fermented for 14 days, aged on lees for 2 months. This is an elegant wine with guava, green lemon and passionfruit aromas. The fresh acidity features strongly, ripe citrus, lime, almost tropical fruit-like. Clean finish. A nice representative Sauvignon Blanc, sufficiently different from NZ SBs that would stand out in a line-up. Drink now. 91+/100.
Scotchman’s Hill Chardonnay 2011, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$27. Barrel fermented in a mix of new – 3 year old French oak, left on lees for 12 months, stirring once a month. Pale golden yellow colour. A ripe, fruit nose of peach and melon with creamy cashew undertones. A slight oak spice. Ripe fruity flavours of peach, ripe melon, lemon and orange flesh, balanced by racy acidity which allows the fruit to persist on the long finish. Drink now – 2018. 91/100.
Scotchman’s Hill Pinot Noir 2011, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$30. Fruit was sourced from multiple vineyards across the peninsula. Fruit was cold soaked for 5 days, small batch ferment for 7 days at 28ºC, pressed into barrel to complete malolactic fermentation. Matured for 12 months in new – 4 year old French barriques. Med+ ruby crimson colour. Youthful aromas of red plums and violets nicely layered against an oak spiced backdrop. A nice easy-to-enjoy wine with nice dark berries, raspberry and plum-skin, 13.5% alc, firm tannins. Long finish. Drink now – 2018. 91/100.
Scotchman’s Hill Shiraz 2011, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$30. Matured in new – 4 year old French barriques for 15 months. Youthful nose of black cherry, blood plums, dark berries and licorice. A full-bodied cool climate shiraz, high acidity, savoury oak tannins. Earthy flavours of dark berries, plum, anise persisting on a sweet spiced finish. 13.5% alc. An easy-drinking, balanced wine. Drink now – 2018. 90/100.
Scotchman’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$30. Fruit for this wine was sourced from Bannockburn, situated further inland away from the cold Antarctic winds. Matured in new – 4 year olf Nevers French oak barriques for 16 months. A lovely dense fragrance of blackcurrants, red berries, sweet baking spice and cedar. A full-bodied wine, high acidity with maturing supple tannins. 14.5% alc. Intense flavours of blackcurrant liquor, anise, mulberries. Ripe acidity leads to a clean, long finish. A fine wine with a bit of age, tannins are resolving nicely, for a reasonable price. Worth a look. Drink now – 2020. 93/100.
Scotchman’s Hill Late Harvest Riesling 2012, Bellarine Peninsula, VIC
RRP$18.50 (375ml). This dessert wine is a pleasing, simple wine with aromas of mango and candied pineapple. Lush flavours of nectarine, ripe mango, sweet spice with twist of lemon. Overall, nicely balanced, good acidity. 120g/l residual sugar. Nice with some aged cheddar. Drink now. 87/100.