The prized Hickinbotham Vineyard in Clarendon, McLaren Vale, has been snaffled up by Jackson Family Estate, and it’s sure to foster some very exciting wines indeed.
In what represents significant international investment in Australian terroir, US-based family winemaking business, Jackson Family Estates, recently purchased the legendary Hickinbotham Vineyard in the rolling hills of Clarendon, McLaren Vale.
There can hardly be a better fit for the Jackson Family Estates portfolio of wine-growing properties around the globe, as they have an established repertoire of single-site wine production with projects like La Crema (pinot noir and chardonnay across a range of California’s appellations), Vérité (Sonoma County merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc) and Cardinale (Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon).
Jackson’s chief operating officer (and former Barossa Valley resident) Hugh Reimers identified the demand for high quality cabernet sauvignon as one of the driving forces in making the purchase, although the vineyard offers much more than simply tonnage to meet demand.
The Hickinbotham Vineyard is among the most acclaimed and significant vineyards of pedigree in South Australia. It occupies a sought-after location and has historically contributed source material for iconic wines including Penfolds Grange, Eileen Hardy Shiraz and Clarendon Hills.
Today’s 186-hectare property was first planted in 1858 and has long been recognised for its elevated position, terraced tapestry-like plots, old vines and 750-million-year old geology. It’s a beautiful vineyard landscape that has, over time, been reflected in the wines that have sprung from here.
Vineyard plantings are weighted towards cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and grenache and all three varietals have proven their worth in this location over time.
The investment significantly increases the Jackson family’s stake in the region, adding to their existing Yangarra property, which is located at nearby Kangarilla.
They plan to start a designated brand based around the Hickinbotham Vineyard, which will be vinified at their state-of-the-art Yangarra winery under the direction of incumbent winemaker Peter Fraser.
The Jackson Family Estate’s Yangarra wines have excelled under Fraser’s watch and he’s clearly revved up by the expanded possibilities. “I’ve always admired the history and the beauty of Hickinbotham and it’s very exciting to have a hand in taking this property to a new level,” he said.
The type of wine we can expect to see will be distinctly different to the established styles of the Yangarra wines, which are perfumed, elegant and fragrant and hail from the sandy soils and rolling hills of Kangarilla. Grenache has long been recognised as a real star in the current collection.
The Hickinbotham Vineyard is a steeper collection of hillside sites and promises to be a source of robust, rich and powerful shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
The quality potential of this sweeping Clarendon estate has been established by those that have gone before and now the new ownership heralds another exciting phase in the history of this already famous site.
TEXT NICK STOCK
This article is from the August/September 2012 issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE.