2019 Paul Osicka Heathcote Shiraz
Established in 1955 by former Czech vigneron Paul Osicka, this is Heathcote’s oldest producer, 2021 marking the 66th anniversary of the planting of the vineyard. Today, grandson Simon tends the 10 hectares of Shiraz vineyard producing a rich, highly revered Shiraz that always disappears quickly off the shelves. Fruit grown on different soil types was picked and fermented separately in small open top pots. With extended time on skins the wine was pressed and then matured in French Oak for 14 months, including 20% new oak.
Packed with rich, succulent fruit, this is a powerful Heathcote Shiraz that perfectly marries freshness with a plush feel.
Pitch black in colour with a deep bright dark purple black tinged hue. Alluring scents of freshly crushed ripe blackberry, liquorice and dark plum sail through the olfactory senses followed by vanillin oak, a whiff of blueberry, dried herbs and spicy pepper. Youthful yet already quite complex, the palate is rich, plush and powerful with bright juicy blackberry, blueberry, liquorice and plum fruits underpinned by a surprising level of freshness. Elements of vanillin cedar, crushed rocks, faint dried herbs and blackpepper chime in on the back half. Finishes fresh with velvety tannins and a long lively aftertaste that shows plenty of succulence.
Drink over the next 8-10 years.
Hand picked in separate parcels according to soil type, fermented separately in small open pots, 3–4 weeks on skins, maturation in French oak (20% new) prior to blending. The maker reported low yields from small bunches and tiny berries in 2019, evident in the concentration of fruit flavour here. The big man, Simon Osicka, delivers nuance like few others, the juxtaposition of black cherry and fennel here, the dollop of lilting spice and anise there, and all the while a quiet, driving power and intensity, but also elegance. A wine for contemplation in a COVID-weary world. Drink by 2034.
Jeni Port – James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion
Bittersweet bottling that commemorates the passing of Paul Peter Osicka while welcoming the new arrival of Matilda Ruth Osicka. It’s great that some winemakers have the ability to reflect such personal things on their labels. These sit in the Marius/Wendouree kind of zone for me, as I have said before. Distinct for the region through positive idiosyncrasies and sites, and great for it.
Strong regional character as this is a hearty red, packed full of character, stuffed to the gills with briary, dark berry fruit, sweet earth, turned earth, salted liquorice, green herbs and faint eucalyptus. The defining, unique character of Osicka wines is that Aussie bush thing going, the elevation is in the quality of tannin – both here in surround sound. Awesome texture, fine, emery board tannins wrap the palate and drive the wine long and to a fresh, fine finish. Excellent, bolshy red. Drink 2021-2035+
Mike Bennie – The Wine Front
The lively bouquet offers fluttering wafts of spices crossing into dabs of French oak, but gives little advance notice of the depth and intensity of the black fruits wrapped in a fine skein of ripe tannins. A Grampians-like twist is all the better for that in the hands of Simon Osicka.
James Halliday's Top 100 2021