At the moment, wine lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding unique and high-quality offerings from the vineyards of Victoria. Even though it’s the mainland’s smallest state in terms of land mass, Victoria’s climatic diversity, in particular, makes it possible for the state to excel in a myriad of varieties.

But it’s just not the climate that gives Victoria its edge. The state is also home to some of the oldest soils in the world. This is particularly true for the Heathcote appellation in Central Victoria, which is famous for its complex volcanic Cambrian soils that are over 500 million years old. Collectively known as “Cambrian Greenstones”, the strata of fine red calcareous sodic clay soils, dark brown gravels and ironstone create a mineral rich environment for the vine roots as well offering great moisture retention benefits that ensure that the dry-grown shiraz grapes mature more slowly in the hot summer weather. Coupled with cooling winds that bring down the nighttime temperatures, this unique combination of soil and climate helps the grapes to retain a perfect level of acidity. Litte wonder then that Heathcote consistently produces complex, superbly balanced shiraz wines that are both rich and elegant.

Many of the best wineries in Heathcote are boutique family run operations where the skills and experience of the owner/winemaker are now being passed onto the second generation. Some of the top wines from the area include:

Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck Shiraz –  Duck Muck gained cult status when the 1997 was awarded 99 out of 100 by US wine guru Robert Parker – prompting single bottles at the time to fetch up to $1400 at Australian auctions. Fortunately, you can now find vintages at more realistic price levels (At the moment, the Cellarit Wine Market has the 2013 … Read the rest