— WANTED MAN —
Heathcote – Australia – 523 School House Lane, Heathcote, Vic 3523 – http://www.wantedman.com.au
Wanted Man is a family-owned, sustainable, 20-acre (8 hectares) estate grown right in the heart of the Heathcote GI region, about 15 kilometres north of the township. It produces single vineyard wines from the strip of highly prized Heathcote Cambrian soil: bold, velvety, concentrated Shiraz and deep, voluptuous, textural whites. As Jancis Robinson notes the region produces ‘hauntingly rich but juicy Shiraz,’ The Wine Atlas (7th Edition) and Jamie Goode, ‘Heathcote… a source of some of Australia's most elegant, expressive Shiraz wines,’ ‘Wine Anorak’. Wanted Man's vineyard was planted in 1992 on an elevated, north-facing slope at 230 metres above sea level, and at 25 years’ old is a relative elder on the region’s ancient, 500-million-year-old terroir.
Vigneron Peter Bartholomew first acquired the vineyard to produce high-quality wine for his legendary Melbourne laneway restaurants MoVida, Lee Ho Fook and Rosa’s Canteen. Peter has gathered a team with a shared passion for producing regionally expressive Heathcote wines. The viticultural team Mark Walpole and Callan Randall, and winemakers Matt Harrop and Alister Timms of Shadowfax, as well as regional specialist Simon Osicka and Beechworth-based, 2015 ‘Young Gun of Wine’ winner, Adrian Rodda coax out the unique Heathcote terroir at vintage, using gentle extraction techniques before maturation in mainly older, large format French barrels, released with two to three years’ maturity.
2013 WANTED MAN ‘THREE STRIKES’ MARSANNE ROUSSANNE VIOGNIER Sustainably grown and made
This single vineyard Marsanne (33%) Roussanne and (33%) Viognier (33%) was grown on the 8-hectare Wanted Man site planted in 1992 on a north-facing slope of 500-million-year-old Cambrian volcanic soil. This wine was made at Shadowfax by Matt Harrop and Alister Timms. The grapes were handpicked at 1.5 tonnes to the acre, then destemmed and gently crushed followed by natural fermentation in aged French oak on lees, before being transferred to large format aging vats for further maturation. Minimal fining before bottling.
Golden straw hues; this Marsanne Roussanne Viognier displays high notes of hedgerows and mint, yellow nectarine and red gala apple orchard, with fresh grass and spring meadow flowers. There are soft, viscous notes of honey and pecan with a fine spine of Meyer lemon acidity driving the palate.
2013 WANTED MAN ‘THE WHISTLEBLOWER’ SHIRAZ Sustainably grown and made
This Art Series Shiraz (100%) is a blend of three different Heathcote vineyards across the region. The first parcel (44%) was grown on the Wanted Man vineyard planted in 1992 on red clay loams, quartz sands in the centre of the region and the second parcel (44%) from the undulating, well-drained, granitic soil at Coliban Glen vineyard in the south-west. The final parcel (12%) was from the Majors Creek vineyard located at Graytown in the east of the region sitting on red quartz and ironstone. Regional specialist Simon Osicka made this shiraz: the grapes were handpicked, and parcels fermented in small batch open top fermenters. The wine was matured for 12-months in old French oak (300 L hogshead barrels) before being blended, filtered and bottled in July 2014.
Dark crimson in hue; this shiraz is smoky, savoury and juicy. There are saddle leather, tomato vine notes and chalky tannins that open to ripe mulberry, blackberry bramble and liquorice notes, with underlying turned earth, ironstone and white pepper on the finish.
2013 WANTED MAN ‘SINGLE VINEYARD’ SHIRAZ Sustainably grown and made
2017 James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion – 91 points
This single vineyard Shiraz (95%) and Viognier (5%) was grown on the 8-hectare Wanted Man site planted in 1992. The north-facing slope sits on 500-million-year-old Cambrian volcanic soil on hard red and brown sandy clay loams, interspersed with quartz sands, fractured granite, ‘greenstones’ (copper-infused basalt). This wine was made at Shadowfax by Matt Harrop and Alister Timms. The fruit was handpicked at 1.5-tonnes to the acre and gently destemmed before being fermented with natural yeasts in open-top stainless-steel fermenters. It was hand plunged and then pressed off the skins and matured in new (20%) and seasoned (80%) French oak barrels for 12-months before blending and bottling without filtration.
Inky, ruby-garnet in hue; this wine is intense, earthy with copper-ironstone minerality. Classic Heathcote white pepper, opens into concentrated blackberry, blueberry on a silky, supple palate. There is an aromatic lift of apricot blossom and almond kernel contributed by the viognier, with notes of star anise, lavender, bay leaf and brazil nuts overlaying dense blackberry bramble, salty Dutch liquorice and saddle leather, with dusty tannins.
Vines are hand-planted, hand-plucked, hand-pruned and hand-picked and grapes are grown sustainably with minimal interventions. The grapes rely on natural annual rainfall and drip irrigation (depending on vintage conditions), with a low yield of one to two tonnes per acre creating intensely concentrated wines. Companion planting with peas naturally manages nitrogen levels, and extensive netting protects from wildlife as well as providing some shelter from the elements. The wines are made at Shadowfax winery, renowned for creating high quality, handcrafted, small batch wine.
Heathcote is around 120 kilometres north of Melbourne, and its prized Cambrian earth runs in two narrow bands from 35 kilometres north of Heathcote township and 5 kilometres to the south. The Mount Camel range itself is a result of a rift in the sea floor, capturing limestone in the lava. The Wanted Man vineyard is on a north-facing slope of 500-million-year-old Cambrian volcanic soil. Hard red and brown sandy clay loams and calcium-rich sodic clay, interspersed with quartz sands, fractured granite, weathered ‘greenstones’ (copper-infused basalt) formed by the Heathcote and McIvor faults slope down to alluvial floodplains mined by gold diggers in the 1880s. The Cambrian soils are deep (ideal for deep root penetration), near pH neutral (best for nutrient balance) and its gentle slopes are both well drained and above the frost line.
Australian wine journalist Max Allen described Heathcote as ‘some of the most exciting grape growing dirt in Australia,’ Weekend Australian. The region’s renowned volcanic red Cambrian soil is complemented by cool nights and the warm, reliable, dry climate days. The region sits at 160-380 metres above sea level (Wanted Man is at 230 m), which is key to the temperate climate and cool southerly winds. Summer is comparatively mild, resulting in an extended growing season.