Regions > Victoria > Central Victorian zone >Heathcote region

: Downing Estate


Downing Estate

19 Drummonds Lane, Heathcote, 3523

Cellar Door: Long weekends and public holidays. other times by appointment

Ph: (03) 5433 3387

This family winery specialising in reds is located north of Heathcote on the gentle slopes of Sheoak Hill. It was established by Joy and Bob Downing in 1994.

The plantings are mainly devoted to Shiraz (75%) but there is also Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Merlot (5%). The wines are made at the estate. They are matured in barriques for 24 months and then cellared for a further twelve months before release.

Downing Stall at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Docklands
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2021

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2016,  powerful black cherry and blackberry with white pepper, violet and aniseed notes, focussed medium-full bodied palate with slaty minerality and charry cedar/vanilla French oak (****)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2011

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, from a cold vintage, aromatic mulberry, raspberry and plum with anise, violet and mint notes, minerally and medium bodied palate, dusty tannins and charry vanilla/cedar French oak, good length for the difficult vintage (***1/2)

Downing Estate Merlot 2010

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, spicy stewed plum, cherry, dark chocolate and redcurrant, plump and medium-full bodied with ripe, earthy back half with chalky tannins and rich cedar/clove oak (***1/2)

Downing Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Purchased: Not ($39)

Drink: 2018+

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, like many other areas in South-East Australia I called 2006 as a strong regional vintage for Cabernet that generally outperformed the Shiraz even in the traditional Shiraz strongholds like the Heathcote or McLaren Vale, the extra bottle age on this rather delayed release has confirmed my earlier impressions, perfumed and deep set cassis, violet and mint with some savoury meaty complexity and glycerolly mid-palate smoothness, a tight line and is underpinned with slaty minerality and gravelly tannins, finishes with cedar and toasty oak spice, expressive and varietal with my only quibble being the 15% alcohol (****1/2)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2006

Purchased: Not ($39)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, while overshadowed by the Cabernet in this vintage this is a solid regional effort with powerful blackberry and black cherry with pepper, leather and anise notes, the broad medium-full bodied palate has some earthy barnyard complexity, fine chalky tannins with the sweet oak and bottle age bringing a cherry ripe confectionary aspect to the finish (***1/2)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2003

Purchased: Not ($39)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: June 2007, rather sweet and concentrated stewed plum and cassis, earthy with some varietal black pepper, with creamy vanilla oak, a bit below the usual high standards with the fruit showing stress from the hot vintage (***)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2002

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: July 2006, regional style showing concentrated cassis, sweet palate with some earthy and savoury notes and big charry cedar-vanilla oak (***1/2)

Downing Estate Shiraz 2001

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, restrained nose shows plum, blackberry, clove and pepper, fruit-driven palate with hint of mint with the sweet vanilla oaking, soft tannins, hot finish (****)

Downing Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, nose shows blackcurrant and vanilla with some cooked meat notes, palate shows similar but with a slight leafy astringency and higher acid, sweet vanilla oak finish with hint of mint (***1/2)

Downing Estate Merlot 2002

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, aromatic nose showing sweet dark and red fruits, cloves and vanilla, quite sweet and fruity palate shows similar with rhubarb notes, soft tannins, with smooth vanilla oaking (***1/2)