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The Wines
and Reviews

 

2015 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

2015 Premium Chardonnay

95 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Feb '17)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2018-2023+

These wines often greet you with a rich golden colour, which you’d have to say is pretty unorthodox in Yarra Valley Chardonnay world.

Luxurious golden colour, nectarine, honey and white flowers, spicy vanilla biscuits, menthol and almost a roast chicken savoury thing going on. It’s intense, deeply flavoured and powerful, with a firm core of pure acidity, oxidative and savoury flavours, tangerine, a subtle chalk dust texture, and a very long finish. Idiosyncratic, yes! But what a glass of Chardonnay. I’m thinking, this vintage, may be best enjoyed over the next few years: the complexity is already here.

2015 Village Chardonnay

93+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Feb '17)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2018-2024+

Another of those wines with ‘Village’ in the name. I think, over the years, the concept of the ‘Estate’ wine has gone from the range at Hillcrest, and now there’s Village (better value than Estate), and Premium (that’s usually worth a premium over the Estate). Golden colour. Nectarine, menthol, cedar, oatmeal and roast honey chicken. Medium weight, but with an intensity of an almost savage nature, firm acidity, stonefruit and oranges, chalk dust, and slighly raw-edged finish of excellent length. Gee, I like this wine, but I’d give it a year to settle into bottle.

2015 Premium Pinot Noir

95 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Feb '17)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2018-2030

Hillcrest Vineyard, while being in the cool Upper Yarra, are distinctly different to just about any other Yarra Valley Pinot Noir. Tiny yields. Hands-off winemaking. Remarkable vineyard site.What a powerhouse! It’s the old Hillcrest velvet fog yet again, with palate-saturating fine-grained tannin buried in ripe dark cherry and raspberry, earthiness, baking spices and spearmint/foresty flavours. Acidity is tangerine-laced and almost spicy, and the finish is layered and superbly long. Intensity. Personality. Pleasure. Absolutely wonderful.

2015 Village Pinot Noir

93+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Feb '17)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2019-2028+

I didn’t like the smell of this wine when I first opened it, but left for a day, it’s much much better.

Opens with a doughy/plastic tubs kind of smell, which given a good decant or time to settle, fades into the distance. Aside that a twitch of volatility, dark cherry and chocolate, earthiness, meat and fine grained saturating black tea tannin. It feels dense and firmly structured, with fine acidity and very good length. I think it’s going to be a surprise package, and will rate higher again with time.

2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Feb '17)

Drink 2019-2035

I think vintage 2015 will be seen as especially strong for Yarra Valley Cabernet. Some of the oldest vines in the Yarra Valley here, planted in 1970.Opens with a whiff of tomato paste and herb rolled black olives, but clears to black fruits, black tea perfume, cedar and rich dark shag tobacco. Medium bodied, superb etch of acidity and graphite tannin lends a convincing ‘minerally’ feel, savoury and tense, that black tea flavour runs through the wine, and the finish is essence of blackberry and blackcurrant, with forest berry acidity drawing out the strings. That palate though, wow.

2014 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

2014 Estate Chardonnay

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May '16)

Drink 2016-2020+

No Premium this year. And no Village. Low yields and not much wine. MB and I tasted this at the winery in March, but bottled samples are the go when it comes to reviewing wine.Deluxe golden colour. White peach, mint and almond nougat, touch of struck match, cedar and dusty spices. Medium bodied, smooth and glossy with butter and hazelnut over peach and citrus, tight burst of fine acidity keeps it trim, and the finish is long and savoury with an aftertaste of sweet limes. Complex and flavoursome. I’d be drinking this over the short term, though I could be wrong, of course.

2014 Village Pinot Noir

90+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May '16)

Drink 2016-2020+

Very small yields in 2014. Some of you may remember the 2003 Pinot? I reckon this is a bit like that.

Malt, resin and boot polish, dark cherry, pepper and spice, dark chocolate and dried mint. It’s a big brooding wine – as much like a Shiraz as Pinot – though does speak of its site in a more torrid year. Dark cherry, stewed fruit, ripe fleshy tannin, savoury flavours and firm acidiy. It has length and depth, though shows some warmth on the finish. It’s robust and full of character, though may not be for everyone.

2014 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon

95 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Jul '16)

Drink 2019-2030

MB and I tasted this from barrel at the winery, and thought it was superb. Then a bottle was sent in with the Chardonay and Pinot (reviewed some months back), but it was not the final bottling, so could not review. Anyway, that sample of the Cabernet was not very good. Stinky. This bottle, no such problems.Ripe black fruit, violet perfume, smooth coffee and vanilla spiced oak, undercurrent of damp sweet earth and tobacco. Medium bodied, but densely packed with tight acidity, redcurrant freshness, and a mesh of fine gravelly mineral tannin. The finish is impressively long, and well defined. Tense and coiled up, with impressive cellaring potential, or as Mike B would say, ‘A vin de garde’.

2013 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

2013 Premium Chardonnay (SOLD OUT)

96+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May'15)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2016-2026

I love Premium wine.

All kinds of complexity and good stuff going on here, plus a bit of wildness. Nectarine, honey, cedar, spice, white flowers and a cool mentholated lift. Light bodied, full throttle flavour delivered with maximum finesse. Tight grapefruit flavour in the mix, along with bell clear acidity, a little flintiness with the honeyed almond gloss, and then this crescendo of a finish that rolls on with incredible length and precision. I suspect it’s the best vintage of this wine to date.

2013 Village Chardonnay    (SOLD OUT)

93 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May'15)

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2015-2020+

It’s a little known fact that proprietor David Bryant named this wine in honour of his favourite band – The Village People. There’s nothing he likes more after taking his fill of Chevalier-Montrachet, than belting out a rousing rendition of “In The Navy”. We want you!

This is quite a wine for $25, it has flavour and quiet sophistication, delivered with a low level of background noise. Stonefruit, lemon drops, touch of flint, honey and gentle spice. Medium bodied, glossy and mellifluous, with a juicy burst of Chardonnay flavour, fine fresh acidity and a pretty solid finish. Drink it while waiting for the Premium to come around.

2013 Premium Pinot Noir

97 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2017-2028

50% new French oak. Extremely deep colour; one of those rare pinots that are full-bodied, but not clumsy; resounding with drumbeats of black cherry and satsuma plum, quality oak also playing a role. It makes only one request: like '99 Burgundies, give me as much time as your heart, wallet and other basic instincts will allow. The high quality cork should go the distance.

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '15)

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2017-2028

“When discussing old vines in the Yarra Valley, people either forget, or simply don’t know about the little Hillcrest garden vineyard, up in cool Woori Yallock. Planted 1970, which of course was a great year for the creation of so many things, including myself.

This is seductive and succulent Pinot Noir, a real velvet fog of a wine. Black cherry and raspberry, distinct cooling menthol and liquorice lift, sweet brown spices, earth and bark. Medium bodied, silky smooth and savoury, with ultra-fine, palate saturating tannin, intense tang of acidity, and a slick of black tea tannin and dark fruit on a plush, but well defined super-long finish. Vineyard meets idiosyncratic wine style once again. You like Hillcrest Pinot, you’ll love this release."

 

2013 Village Pinot Noir (SOLD OUT)

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '15)

Alcohol 12.8%  Drink 2015-2022+

Opened a bit smoky and whiffy, but with a little air, a different story emerged. Raspberry, dried strawberries and dried roses, plenty of spice, pine forest earthiness and polished cedar. Medium bodied with dense fruit showing a little darker to taste than the nose would suggest, tightly wound acidity and graphite tannin lend some pretty serious structure, and the finish is well fruited, but also savoury and pleasantly herbal. Kind of wild, but in a good way: there’s an extra dimension of personality and charisma in the bottle here for $25.

2013 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot

96+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May'15)

Alcohol 13.2%  Drink 2020-2040+

Not much made and bottled in magnums only, I think on the basis that they want it to cellar for a long long time.

Blackcurrant, redcurrant, tobacco, new leather and boot polish, menthol, aniseed and cedar – drawing room style. Medium bodied, sinewy, pretty tense and intense, with small dark berries and firm raspberry pip and mineral acidity, chalky tannin, and a savoury earthy, yet violet infused finish of great length and almost biting, but crystal clear, acidity. So tightly wound, you can almost hear it straining. Bordeaux seldom does it so well.
 

2012 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

2012 Premium Chardonnay

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Mar '14)

Alcohol 12.8%  Drink 2015-2020+

“Grapes are sourced from two blocks. The old vine block (then 42 years old) provided 0.8 tons of grapes from 1.5 acres. The remaining fruit was from plantings which were then 12 years old.”

150 cases in total produced across the Premium and Village labels, from 2.7 tons. White peach, grapefruit and lime and oranges, cashew and spice, vanilla florals.  Medium bodied, some oxidative and wheaty flavours, light flinty elements, ripe fruit, pure acidity and superb length of flavour. Alarmingly long.  Quiet power of vineyard here, rather than lipstick on a pig wine making. A classic release.

2012 Village Chardonnay

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Mar '14)

Alcohol 12.8%  Drink 2014-2020

“Malolactic fermentation is always avoided, as is battonage, added acid, and anything else folks can think of “to make wine better”.   There are no added items of any type to our wines, except for minimal additions of SO2.   They are left alone to feed themselves, clarify steadily, and present themselves the following year for bottling, like good little wines should. ” says winemaker David Bryant.

Light almond gloss, grapefruit, white peach, gentle oak spice and cedar with a whisper of matchsticky funk. Pure, light tang, silky feel, juicy grapefruity acid,  nutty roundness and some savoury elements, but largely the message is clear fruit and beautiful definition. Long too, though not as long as the Premium, nor as intense, but for drinking now that’s no bad thing at all. So yum. You could rocket through a bottle of this.

2012 Premium Pinot Noir

95+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '14)

Alcohol 13.1%  Drink 2017-2024+

Hillcrest Pinot Noir is first and foremost Hillcrest Pinot Noir. That is, it speaks very strongly of its site, and to a lesser extent, that of its winemakers influence.A maelstrom of dark and red cherry, acidity and tannin. Earthy. Tense. Muscular. Long.  Has some funky vegetal notes and reductive flavours in play, but they seem part of the message here. Growling minerally tannin and intense acidity drive it. Furrowed brows. On day two it stretched out and relaxed – a little bit – a wry smile. A classic vintage for Hillcrest Pinot.

2012 Village Pinot Noir

93+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '14)

Alcohol 13.1%  Drink 2016-2020+

Talk about serious wine for the dollars.

350 cases in total produced across the Premium and Village labels, from 4.7 tons. 
Measurements – Alcohol – 13.1%; pH – 3.75; Titratable Acidity – 7.0 gpl   

Black and red cherry, spice and sauciness, graphite and earth, some perfume comes up after the reductive bottle stink blows off. Medium bodied, tense and minerally with rich tannin and very good length – has a grunting dryness of tannin on exit. Firm acidity drives it too. Dense and flavoursome, not the intensity of the Premium, but pretty impressive in its own right. Needs a couple of years more in bottle for my tastes.

2012 Premium Merlot

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '14)

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2014-2024+

Fair to say, I love good Merlot – perhaps the world’s most misunderstood grape – and this is GOOD Merlot. A likely contender for the amazing award of “Australian wine I’ve most enjoyed drinking in the last 12 months”. 60 cases made.Light camphor perfume, earth, mocha, black plum and some red fruits. Medium bodied, yet densely packed, with perfect acidity and fine grained ripe tannin – texture is superb – earth and black olive flavours make it fall on the savoury side, but there’s ample fruit weight to lend seductive charm. Lengthy. Beautiful to drink. Balance is the word. Benchmark is another.

2012 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon

93+ points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '14)

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2017-2029+

This bottle came with a DIAM cork because they ran out of natural corks during bottling.

Shows more mocha vanilla oak, blackberry and blackcurrant and is softer in the mouth than the Village. Supple ultra-fine grained tannin, red and black fruit, and fresh acidity on the finish. Plenty of mineral and lead pencil stuff here, though in comparison to the more rugged and more rustic Village, it has less presence on the mid-palate and less length. In evolution at present, I suspect.  Will deliver more when it’s good and ready.

2012 Village Cabernet Sauvignon

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted Apr '14)

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2015-2025

More pressings in this wine than the Premium. I like it.

90 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 60 cases of Merlot in total produced across the Premium and Village labels, from 2.2 tons.
Measurements – Cabernet Sauvignon: Alcohol – 13.0%; pH – 3.65; Titratable Acidity – 7.2 gpl

Black and red fruits, mocha, earth, minerally/lead pencil character, almost licorice. Medium bodied with perky fresh acidity, fleshy but firm, black olive and earth over black fruits. Clear minerally impressive length. Grainy and chunky tannin with black tea flavour here, rather than the manicured smoothness of the Premium, but it feels a wine of integrity and purpose, and it’s great to drink. Some dried herb perfume chimes in on the aftertaste. If you told me I was drinking a high quality wine from northern Medoc, I’d be none the wiser (sorry Campbell).

2011 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

 

2011 Premium Chardonnay

95 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May '13)

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2013-2019

Curiously, there’s no Estate released this vintage. Premium and then down to the Village, where you may, or may not, meet an idiot.

Cinnamon and cedar oak, almond, nectarine, cucumber and grapefruit and white floral notes. Very fine and fresh – a mandarine dream – with spice and a little honeycomb gloss, but all driven through with crystalline acidity and textbook Yarra Valley length. Yum. Unusually approachable for a Hillcrest too.

2011 Village Chardonnay

93 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

Alcohol 12.5%  Drink 2013-2019

DIAM cork in the Village. Progress in the house.

Grapefruit, nectarine, cucumber and spice – slight, but pleasant, white pepper. Light, clean and precise with a touch of cream over the bright tangerine laced fruit. Bell clear acidity and a long flinty finish. That’s a lovely wine

 2011 Premium Pinot Noir

90 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted May '13) 

Alcohol 13%  Drink 2015-2020

Open first day and pong. Second day, better. Third day?

Opens swampy and reductive but a couple of days later; plum and dark cherry, wet vintage pepper and spice, aniseed. Fine boned, etched acidity but a little too astringent and drying, though there’s sweet fruit under a topping of ash. It does have length and a kiss of sweet cinnamon oak to finish. Shapely, but I’m not sure about the delivery. Showed no sign of tiring. 

2011 Village Pinot Noir

89 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

Alcohol 13.2%  Drink 2013-2018

Smoky and spicy/peppery, cherry and earthy with some tidy high quality oak input. A little dry and smoky, lighter bodied, some astringency. Decent finish.

2011 Village Merlot

90 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront (tasted July '13)

Alcohol 12.8%  Drink 2013-2016

Some wines are very easy to review. You know where you stand straight away, and more importantly, they give you a good idea of how most consumers will react to them.  Then there’s wines like this…

So let’s put it this way: it’s perhaps not a wine that would do very well in the Australian wine show system, pepper and low alcohol aside. Certainly has a feel of ‘Bordeaux’ about it, riding the noble horse with aplomb as it does, but the animal scents combine with clear red and black fruits, pepper, black olive and earth to good effect. The pepper shows the wet vintage, but otherwise it comes through very well. Medium bodied, red fruits and blackcurrant, light grainy tannin, clear acidity and a dry finish that closes fruit sweet and earthy at once. I really like it. Good drinking. Civilised drinking. Clarety and interesting. Drink up over the next few years with a nice roast lamb dinner. 

2011 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon

94+ points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

Alcohol 13.1%  Drink 2016-2023

Yarra Valley cabernet sauvignon made from a prestigious, 40 year old vineyard. Intelligently and carefully handled in the winery.

A seamless, medium-weight, deceptively well structured wine. The polar opposite of an in-your-face wine. Modest blackcurrant and mulberry. Dried, woody spices. Dust. And a complexing gamey note. It’s complex, tied beautifully in place by acid and tannin, and effortless.

2011 Village Cabernet Sauvignon

90 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront (tasted July '13)

Alcohol 13.1%  Drink 2015-2020

Hillcrest is a winery keeping the flame of Yarra Valley cabernet sauvignon alive.

Intriguing wine. Medium weight but alive with blackcurrant and earth-like notes, with distinct truffly/tomato edges. A style that will not be for everyone, but will excite some. The finish is (overly) bitter but the general impression of the wine is clearly positive. Rugged, groping-in-the-dark tannin should mellow nicely given time.

2010 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

 2010 Premium Chardonnay

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

This year, there’s a Reserve ($100), a Premium ($60) and a Village ($25) Chardonnay release from Hillcrest. Melon, lemon, Tiny Teddies, almond meal, pear and fine spicy oak – there’s a little white flower perfume too. The question though, is how do they pack so much intensity and flavour into a wine at such a low alcohol?  It’s Leeuwin-esque in its power and delivery, without the alcohol and heaviness. Clean, glossy and direct, shot though with sparkling clean acidity – a seamless wine with a gentle slippery texture and so little guile. Does not rely on artifice and winemaker tricks – just great fruit and good oak. Superb length. Was heard to mutter several expletives on first taste. Damn.

 

2010 Premium Pinot Noir

97 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Not only are the colours of the three Hillcrest pinots identical, but so is the stated alcohol on the label, a statistic that has a degree of elasticity at the best of times. This is far superior to the other two wines, however good they may be, with plum and black cherry aromas doing faint justice to the gorgeous supple, round and mouthfilling palate.

 

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront
 
Dark cherry, spice, sap, mint, cream and vanilla oak. Good volume of fruit, dark cherries and spice, certainly some rubber but reducing (ha) with air, though remained on the edge of acceptable over the course of a day’s tasting. Shapely, tangy fresh acid with a little tannin grip and play along with excellent length. It has intensity and power and no shortage of interest. Needs some time. Could go either way mind you, but I’m betting it will cross over. Very good wine, and idiosyncratic with it. All the elements of quality are there.
 


2010 Estate Pinot Noir

95 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Deep purple-crimson, exceptional for pinot noir, although shared with the other two Hillcrest pinots; the complex bouquet has savoury, dried meat and herb aromas initially swept away by the supple dark cherry and pepper flavours of the palate. Oak has been well calibrated in all three wines.Identical back labels for all three

 

2010 Village Pinot Noir

94 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Hillcrest pinots strongly suggest they are all single estate vineyard products. This is an immensely powerful pinot, far removed from the Burgundian Village model. What was potentially the shortest lived wine becomes the longest thanks to the Diam.

 

 93 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

Dark cherry, spice, some earthy elements – like beetroot – and oak well in the background. Medium weight with focussed acidity, firm and appropriate tannin grip, and a good volume of flavour. Pretty much the whole Hillcrest Pinot experience at an entry level price. Delightful, and as at now, found it more enjoyable than both the Estate and Premium Pinot releases. We want you, we want you, we want you as a new recruit.   DIAM cork now used in the Village ($25) and Estate ($40) Hillcrest wines.

 

2010 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon

96 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Strong colour; has the depth (and, to a degree, width) that is the hallmark of Hillcrest cabernet. Intense blackcurrant fruit, a suggestion of black olive, are just the starting point, the ultimate strength - and future - of the wine lying with its outstanding tannin structure.

 

2010 Village Cabernet Sauvignon

92 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Good crimson colour; there is an abundance of activity in the wine, with cassis/blackcurrant, cedary oak and ripe tannins all having their say. Give it a couple of years to calm down, and it could surprise with its appeal.

 

2010 Premium Merlot

95 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2013

Purple-crimson; estate-grown, 40-year-old vines, and a unique site all contribute to the quality of this wine; cassis, plum and all-important superfine gossamer tannins provide both flavour and structural cohesion. At the top end of Australian merlots. If you are going to have a cork, let it be of the quality of this perfectly inserted type.

 

 

 2009 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

2009 Premium Chardonnay

95 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2012

Glowing yellow-green; in very similar style to the Estate, the harmony and balance achieved with a slightly richer tone to the fruit before utterly delicious citrus acidity on the finish and aftertaste.                       

 

2009 Estate Chardonnay

94 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2012

Glowing yellow-green; already nearly a complete wine, with seamless fruit and barrel ferment characters; white peach and nectarine fruit glides across the tongue; 2009 was a great year for chardonnay, unaffected by the smoke taint that spoiled almost all red wines in the Yarra Valley.                     

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

Tasted alongside the Premium Chardonnay of the same vintage and it’s hard to choose a favourite. On quality you’d give the nod to the Premium, but on drinking pleasure right now, you’d come down in favour of this wine.

Complexity. Intensity. There’s a bit of creamy barrel work here and lovely oak integration along with nectarine and citrus fruit. It has an almost slippery mouthfeel yet has a distinct minerality and fine acid cut. Ripe lemon features on the mouth-wateringly dry finish. Finer than the Premium, but none the worse for it. A beautiful wine.

 

2009 Village Pinot Noir

91 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

No Premium or Reserve Pinot Noir releases for the 2009 vintage, although Chardonnay makes the cut.

Dark sour cherry (Morello), subtle spicy creamy oak, a touch of smoke and a dried herb and lavender-like perfume. It’s medium weight with good intensity, a touch of peaty earthiness and bright acidity – clean clear lines here, but not stark – ripe dark cherry fruit softens the effect. Spicy, marginally sour edged finish of good length. Minimal artifice but maximum character for a wine at this price point.                                                                                         

 

 2008 vintage wines - scores and tasting notes

                                                                                                                                                                              

2008 Estate Chardonnay

94 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Bright green-straw; a delicious, albeit understated, chardonnay, French oak gently woven through the white peach and melon fruit of the bouquet and palate, and supported by perfect acidity.

 93 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront 

As per usual, tasted next to the Premium from the same vintage. Lemon oil, citrus and nectarine with lightly spicy creamy oak and seemingly a little volatile - but no problem for me. It has excellent flavour with a light glaze of honey nougat, crisp clean acidity and good length - touch of flint on exit. Not particularly complex (yet) but also not over-made like so many. It’s fluid and very good to drink and certainly less austere than previous vintages.


2008 Premium Chardonnay

94 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Developed green-gold; a touch of grilled nuts ex-barrel fermentation on the bouquet, the palate still tight, fresh and long; white peach and a little grapefruit; long finish. 

94 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

Not unsurprisingly, a very similar tasting note to the Estate wine, although this has more power, a little more intensity and an extra scoop of oak. I opened and tasted these wines two days ago and came back to complete the job today - not much movement at the station.Lemon oil, citrus and nectarine, wheat and spicy creamy oak - seemingly a little volatile but no problem for me. It has excellent flavour with a light glaze of honey nougat, crisp strong acidity and very good length - touch of flint on exit. It’s built on fruit power, acidity and quality oak rather than winemaker artefact. More generous and well rounded than the 2006 and certainly more approachable, although it should age pretty well too.



2008 Village Pinot Noir

90 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Bright and clear, paradoxically the best hue of the three Hillcrest Pinots; a mix of savoury and red fruit aromas, the palate very much in the savoury/foresty spectrum. 

91 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

It’s full of cherry and strawberry with a touch of spice and has a lovely creamy aspect on both the nose and palate. It’s a juicy and supple sort of wine, offering high pleasure in the drinking department, rather than Hillcrest’s usual more acidic ascetic acerbic characteristics. There’s a touch of sappiness on the finish to pull it straight, but gee, I really like drinking this wine. At twenty dollars it represents fabulous value. Genuine Pinot of charm and character.

2008 Estate Pinot Noir

94 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Bright, clear red; the bouquet is complex, with a core of black cherry fruit, the palate fine and long, fruit and forest equally balanced.

92 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

I’ve had this bottle open since Saturday and right about now (Monday night) it's really showing its charms, whereas the Premium from the same vintage is looking more sullen - seems to have gone backwards. Luckily I'm just a simple Cabernet man so rarely need concern myself with such weighty and confusing matters ... Little bit of VA lift here and plenty of red fruits - mainly raspberry and cherry with spice and some forest floor, oak of cedary nature neatly tucked in. Medium bodied, quite juicy with light by deceptively grippy tannin and clean acidity - almost feels a little alkaline (although I'm betting the specs make a liar of me). Excellent flow and length with a suggestion of poached strawberry on the aftertaste. Should cellar well. 
 


2008 Premium Pinot Noir

96 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Bright and clear, despite no fining or filtration; and extremely pure and fine wine, the bouquest addings a touch of plum that coms through on the precise and very long palate. Three fascinating pinots (from Hillcrest in 2008)

93+ points, Gary walsh, Winefront 

Tasted alongside the Estate over a couple of days, just to make sure those doing the barrel selection have got it right this year. Maybe. Maybe. The lovely JP tells me the Premium has more depth, smoothness and “Pinosity” over the Estate. And who am I to argue? Has more depth and earthiness than the Estate offering - certainly has more spicy cinnamon oak laid on too. The fruit is a little darker, edging into the dark cherry spectrum although it’s still largely red fruited. Medium bodied, smooth and pliant - spinning a web of fine tannin as it moves along. The acidity seems better too and the finish a little more sustained. A richer fuller wine with a dab of smokiness on exit. Plenty of potential I suspect.


2008 Reserve Merlot

93 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Dense purple-crimson; a very interesting merlot, with a scented bouquet of spice and fruit compote, then a palate that rapidly changs pace with its filigreed texture and structure and texture, and hints of mint and leaf.

96 points, Gary Walsh, Winorama

Perfumed and packed with mixed fruits of the forest (and specifically boysenberry/blueberry/blackberry) with plenty of vanilla/cedar oak and tobacco. It’s medium to full bodied with a latent earthiness masked by bright sweet berry fruit. Some dried herb in the mix too. It has plenty of tannin, freshness, length i.e. the whole package. It’s obviously a very young wine and it was on the third day that it showed its hand - the points ticking upwards each day. Not to be damned with faint praise, I consider this a highwater mark for Australian Merlot.


2008 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon

96 points, James Halliday, Wine Companion 2011

Dense purple-crimson; a full bodied wine, with tremendous depth to the blackcurrant fruit and exceptional savoury yet fine and ripe tannins; oak also plays a role of some importance.

95 points, Gary Walsh, Winefront

No 2007 releases for Hillcrest (it is all being kept for museum stock) so we’ve skipped forward a vintage. These are cellaring styles, sold to people who understand the need to cellar, so no big deal…but it makes my job just that little bit harder tasting them a year younger. Inconsiderate bastards. Superb Imperial purple colour, you might call it a robe even. There’s a fair amount of cedar/French vanilla oak showing as a young wine but the fruit is fully up to the task at hand. It’s just above medium bodied, although it packs plenty of punch for its size, and has particularly lovely tannin - rich and firm but also ripe and loose knit that should stand it in good stead as it ages. The flavours are typical Cabernet - blackcurrant, glimpses of red fruit and a slight earthiness with some tobacco lurking in the background - and of course the liberal oak seasoning is there too, but that will settle. It’s fresh with no obvious pinging acidity - the Achilles heel of many a good red. This is not a wine for now, and the score is largely for later (as best as I can predict).



2007 vintage lost to frost 

As many of you will be aware, Hillcrest lost its entire crop in 2007 due to a savage late spring frost. Consequently, no wines were released.

 



RATINGS - Previous Releases - a stunning record of ratings from James Halliday and the Winefront team of Gary Walsh and Campbell Mattinson

2006 Pinot Noir - Reserve

95 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 95 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Pinot Noir - Premium

94 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Pinot Noir - Estate

93+ POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Premium

95 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Estate

94 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winorama, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Chardonnay - Premium

96 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 96 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 90 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Chardonnay - Estate

94 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 89 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2006 Village Merlot

94 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 90 POINTS - James Halliday, 2009 Wine Companion

2005 Village Pinot Noir Rose

94 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront

2005 Chardonnay - Premium

96 POINTS - James Halliday, 2008 Wine Companion - "The epitome of Yarra Valley chardonnay", 96 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront

2005 Pinot Noir - Premium

***Selected for Qantas International First Class!!!

96 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 95 POINTS - James Halliday, 2008 Wine Companion

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - Premium

97 POINTS - Gary Wash, Winefront, 95 POINTS - James Halliday, 2008 Wine Companion, 96 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2005 Pinot Noir - Estate

94 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2008 Wine Companion

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - Estate

94 POINTS - Gary Wash, Winefront, 89 POINTS - James Halliday, 2008 Wine Companion, 89 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2004 Pinot Noir - Premium

***Selected for Qantas international First Class!!!

96 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 95+ POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2007 Wine Companion

2004 Pinot Noir - Estate

92 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 92 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 89 POINTS - James Halliday, 2007 Wine Companion

2004 Chardonnay - Estate

93 POINTS - Gary Walsh, Winefront, 90 POINTS - James Halliday, 2007 Companion

2003 Pinot Noir - Estate

94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2006 Wine Companion, 93 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2003 Chardonnay - Estate

94 POINTS - James Halliday, 2006 Wine Companion, 92 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2002 Chardonnay - Estate

93 POINTS - Campbell Mattinson, Winefront