Wilton Hill is comprised of an old vine vineyard, perched atop the Barossa Ranges as it encroaches on the Eden Valley. The soil, a complex polyglot of sandy loams, limestone and ferrous ironstone over a substrata of mottled quartz. The geology is arguably more intrinsic to the makeup of the wine than the variety, or maker Alex Head’s deft hand. This is top- drawer Barossa Grand Cru speaking. Make no mistake! Think a swirl of dark fruits, aromas of iodine, lilac and violet, punctuated with a swab of tapenade-encrusted tannins. Dig deeper and there are scents of smoked meats, thyme, lavender and mocha, trailing across a peppery trail of freshness that tows this full-bodied wine long. Sumptuous gear that is ready for an aggressive decant, or extended time in the cellar.
Barossa ValleyColonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
Alex Head is part of the new generation of small Barossa winemakers creating wines in a new, more elegant style. Inspired by the wines of the Rhone valley, Alex Head sources small-parcels of old vine fruit and uses traditional vinification techniques to produce wines with perfume, vibrant fruit and savoury complexity. Head’s aim is maximum drinkability, which he successfully achieves by emphasising freshness, balance, texture and fruit purity. Eight wines are made under the Head label, including the Blonde and the Brunette inspired by the legendary wines of the Northern Rhone.