Adelaide Hills' finest makes trek to Sydney
What's better than visiting the Adelaide Hills? Not much, admittedly, but if you can't do that then the next best thing is getting a bunch of its winemakers in the one room.
No, I’m not talking about locking them in and holding them to ransom. The event is called Hills Heist and involves 30-odd winemakers (winemakers are always a little strange) making the trek from South Australia to Sydney’s Surry Hills to show their wares to, well, anyone who fancies a squiz, really.
There’s a little catch — one that wasn’t entirely adhered to — in that each winery is allowed to show only two wines.
Tasting through almost 60 bottles from the length and breadth of the region, one gets the sense of something alive, some multi-headed friendly creature that sways and flows with the winds, that rises and falls with the undulating hills, that adapts and experiments. This is a creature you want to reach out and touch. I could go on about the nature of the hills, but something that David Le Mire MW (Shaw + Smith) said sums it up best. I wouldn’t dare try to quote him verbatim, but it was to the effect that with the diversity of slopes, soils, aspects and microclimates, the Adelaide Hills can’t help but produce premium wine.
The wines across the board were of outstanding quality. I’m not going to play favourites here but the three wines below offered something I found to be highly indicative of the region with a certain considered, creative nuance. The Heist is in its second year. There’s no reason it shouldn’t come back for a third.
Charlotte Dalton Wines Love You Love Me Semillon 2017, Adelaide Hills $35
I really must give Charlotte Hardy’s semillon a special mention. This wine charmed me. Straight semillon often can be uninspiring, but when it has been treated with care by a curious mind it shines. Barrel fermented, oxidised and then stirred on its lees whenever Hardy felt like it needed it, the wine bursts with texture. The nose sparkles with zesty lemon, glace ginger, lime cordial and bergamot. Fleshiness of deeper stone fruit on the attack spars with citrus sorbet-like acidity, showing that wonderful equilibrium between richness and freshness. If you’re wondering about the name, it’s in relation to a goodnight ritual between Hardy, her brothers and her mother as they were tucked into bed as children.