When the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard label was first released by the US-based Jackson Family Wines with the 2012 vintage, it’s fair to say that in Australia and in Singapore, it fell under the radar of many potential buyers. Buyers in both those locations are familiar with Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Vineyard and so perhaps there was confusion or lack of clarity around the differentiation.
So to clarify, the Hickinbotham vineyard in McLaren Vale, then owned by the Hickinbotham family, had long been a supplier of grapes to prestigious labels such as Hardy’s Eileen Hardy and Penflds Grange, and of course to Clarendon Hills.
When the Jackson Family bought the vineyard, they decided to distribute their own wine under the label Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard as a reflection of the strong reputation the vineyard had achieved. Their strategy is to continue to grow exceptional quality fruit, and put it in the hands of two very skilled winemakers, namely Charlie Seppelt from Australia and Chris Carpenter from Jackson Family’s California vineyards. Chris has under his belt seven 100 pointers by Robert Parker, all Cabernets from Jackson’s Lokoya Wines.
It’s fair to say that the vineyard and the winemaking are in good hands.
This wine retails in Australia at A$150, so the price here of S$139 shows how the alcohol tax system in Singapore, so derided by many, starts to work in your favour once you climb up into the premium levels.
This is a brand to watch. The money is there, the talent is there, the determination is there, and importantly, the quality and the results are there.
If there’s one wine to splurge on for yourself this festive season, this could be it.
I caught up with Steve on his flying visit through Singapore earlier this year. He was on his way to Europe on his annual “holiday” making and learning about wine and grape varieties in different parts of the world. He let slip to me then that he thought they’d won a fairly prestigious award as he was asked to detour to London.
Just the odd award or two!
I’m not surprised though. Every time I go to Tasmania (which is around 3 times a year) I never miss a visit to Stefano Lubiana Wines just north east of Hobart overlooking the Derwent River. Steve and Monique have put in the hard yards over many years, taken risks, and experimented with new styles and varieties, and even dabbling in grappa. I was once asked by Steve whether I thought biodynamic wines would be accepted in Asia. To my great embarrassment, I replied that I didn’t think anyone in Asia cared about biodynamic. How wrong I was.
This wine used to be called “Estate” but they dropped the word for the 2014 vintage, now listing it on their website under “single vineyard”.
It’s sold out at the winery but I’ve got 50 bottles in Singapore.
Steve’s a great winemaker and Land Rover Defender owner to boot. All round nice guy!
See the attached for details.
(PS – the 2015 Pinot Noir recently won Best Australian Pinot Noir at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. It will arrive in January but I don’t have a lot so let me know ASAP if you are interested)