14 Aug HEATHCOTE & BENDIGO OVERVIEW
When you think about the gold rush period of the 1850s, wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, some of the first grape vines of the Bendigo and Heathcote region were planted in 1856, just after the massive gold rushes that defined the culture of the era. The ancient deep soils of the region turned out to be a different kind of gold for early winemakers, producing some of the state’s finest Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With a Mediterranean climate of dry summers and wet winters, it’s not surprising that the region produces fantastic red wines. Culturally, Bendigo is one of Victoria’s most elegant cities, with a vibrant mix of sidewalk cafes, art galleries, antique stores, stunning gold rush architecture and century-old gardens.
It was not until the 1960s that the real wave of development occurred in neighbouring Heathcote, with the Heathcote Shiraz now renowned for its unique character. Equally charming, Heathcote is worth a dedicated visit to enjoy the wines of the local region and the unique accommodation, which range from five-star offerings through to farms stays. Beautiful gold rush era architecture lines the main street of Heathcote where you can also enjoy a great cup of coffee, sweet boutiques, good food and, of course, wine tasting.
With diverse character and a rich history, this charming region boasts an impressive number of cellar doors open year-round, as well as the food and wine festivals Heathcote and Bendigo have become known for.
In October, the region comes alive with the Heathcote Wine and Food Festival on the 5th and 6th of October, with Bendigo Uncorked running from the 4th to the 12th of the month, culminating with the Bendigo Heritage Uncorked walking wine and food festival on Saturday the 12th. This event allows participants to stroll from one venue to the next within Central Bendigo, sampling local food and wine, learning about the history of famous historic landmarks.
Today, the region boasts an impressive number of vineyards and cellar doors, showcasing the variation in conditions due to elevation, slope and aspect – from the cooler foothills of the Central Highlands to the warmer undulating plains north and west of Bendigo.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM HEATHCOTE AND BENDIGO WINES
If this region were to have a ‘hero wine’, Shiraz would take top honours. The wine has a voluptuous, mouth-filling flavour and texture. More exotic pepper and spice flavours support the red berry and cherry notes. The wines are long-living and have excellent cellaring potential.
Cabernet Sauvignons from this region have a great depth of colour, and rich texture with abundant tannins. Fruit flavours range from faintly tobacco and herbaceous through to blackberry and blackcurrant flavours. The trademark regional eucalypt-peppermint character is ever-present, and although it varies in intensity, is seldom absent.
EDWIN’S WINE CLUB: In August, we’ll be exploring the wines of the Heathcote and Bendigo area, with five weeks of sampling some of the region’s finest. To make sure you don’t miss out, be sure to sign up to our mailing list : HERE