Regions > Victoria > Central Victorian zone >Heathcote region

: Jasper Hill

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Jasper Hill

www.jasperhill.com

Drummonds Lane, Heathcote, 3523

Cellar Door: By appointment

Ph: (03) 5433 2528

Jasper Hill vineyard and cellar door at sunset

Jasper Hill, located on the Cambrian Greenstone soils is the region's flagship winery and was the first to regularly command premium prices. The Laughton family's Jasper Hill vineyards were established back in 1975 and have become one of Victoria's iconic red wine producers.

Their wines are produced entirely on the estate using organic/biodynamic principles: they produce their own organic compost, have never used synthetic chemicals on either the vines or the soils, own rooted vines (ie. not grafted on to American rootstocks to confer phylloxera resistance), no irrigation whatsoever, minimal tillage, and natural inter-row mulching leading to broad bio-diversity. The vines are hand pruned and hand harvested. Malolactic fermentaton occurs naturally, the wines are unfined and only go through a coarse filtration just prior to bottling.

The impact of recent hot, dry vintages on unirrigated vineyards in the Heathcote has pushed up the alcohol levels with some critics complaining that they are chasing the US Robert Parker driven market. The easing of the drought in 2009, followed by a very wet 2010 has alleviated these pressures for the time being.

wine label

Ron Laughton (pictured left) responds that he picks the grapes for what he judges to be the optimal ripeness rather than high alcohol levels. The impressive portfolio includes the Emily's Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc, Georgia's Paddock Shiraz, Georgia's Paddock Nebbiolo, the Cornella Vineyard Grenache and the Georgia's Paddock Riesling. The Viognier had its first release in 2009.

Daughter, Emily has her own Occam's Razor brand and is taking on an increasing role in the wine-making, leaving more time for Ron to do the talking.

Ron is a passionate advocate for retaining the use of quality cork over screwtops for premium, long cellaring wines. He argues that the spoilage associated with cork arises from the use of cheap, inferior cork. He is concerned about the impact of the plastic seals inside the screwcaps on the long term development in the bottle.

The cellar door is only open publicly one day a year (usually around the last Sunday of August but check their website, they do open by appointment) as the wines rapidly sell out.

As well as the new releases (and lots of tasty finger food) the Laughtons sometimes open up some of their "library" of back vintages for the day (notes from a couple are listed under the Sept 2009 entries). They proved that the classic releases from the early 1990s that established Jasper Hill's reputation have lived up to the hype.

expo
Emily and Ron at the 2011 Return To Terroir biodynamic wine expo (photo: genxywines)
lunch
Graham, Dale (our skipper) and Helen at the 2011 Jasper Hill New Release weekend (photo: genxywines)
lunch
Free lunch at Jasper Hill on the 2010 annual open day (photo: genxywines)
Avenmore Tastings
Taking in the views on our Jasper Hill 2010 trip (photo: genxywines)
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)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2015

Purchased: Not ($81)

Drink: 2026

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2016, perfumed and spicy black cherry, dark plum and mulberry with white pepper, violet and  pepper notes, lithe,long and medium-full bodied palate with ferrous minerality, firm dusty tannins and a slightly warm finish (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Nebbiolo 2015

Purchased: Not ($70)

Drink: 2028+:

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2016, aromatic red cherry, blackberry and strawberry with bay leaf notes rose petal florals, long and savoury with a powdery texture, earthy and slightly meaty with firm chalky tannins (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Semillon 2015

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2021

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2016, the Semillon has made a comeback, brightly flavoured, grassy and silky lemon sherbet and melon with a touch of lanolin, tobacco and honeysuckle, good acidity and persistence (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Hill Riesling 2016

Purchased: Not ($38)

Drink: 2018 or 2026 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2016, floral lemon rind, apple and passionfruit with white flower, lanolin and flint notes, slightly broad, chalky palate with bright lemony acidity and a wet pebble finish (***1/2)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not ($105)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2014, has the usual splash of 3% Cabernet Franc, firmer and concentrated than the previous couple of mild/wet vintages, perfumed black cherry, redcurrant and dark plums with black pepper, dried fennel, menthol and musky spices, medium-full bodied with slaty minerality, creamy cedar/vanilla/dark chocolate oak with a backbone of drying chalky tannins (*****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not ($85)

Drink: 2029+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2014, aromatic, spicy and fairly plush black cherry, plum and mulberry with dried herb, violet and white pepper notes, lithe and medium-full bodied with fresh sappy acidity, underpinned with graphite minerality and a backbone of pliant tannins, charry mocha-cedar oak (*****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Nebbiolo 2013

Purchased: Not ($70)

Drink: 2024

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2014, a bit firmer, tarry and more intense than the 2012, aromatic redcurrant and black cherry with rose petal, eucalypt and herbal meat complexity, medium bodied with drying, firm and savoury tannins on the finish, charry cedar/clove oak (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2015 or 2022+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2014, developed warm vintage expression, floral and rounded golden apple and lemon with white flower and musky spice notes, slightly waxy and honeyed palate with a wet slate finish (***1/2)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($100)

Drink: 2026+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, there’s also 3% Cabernet Franc in there, aromatic and silky blueberry, blackberry and cranberry fruit with fennel, musky spices and just a hint of menthol, medium bodied palate with slaty minerality, quite linear and taut with creamy mocha-chocolate-cedar oak, backbone of dusty tannins and vibrant acidity, precise and harmonious wine with a long cellaring life (*****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, perfumed, glossy and tightly wound core of redcurrant, blueberry and mulberry fruits with sage, white pepper and savoury meat notes, silky, medium bodied and minerally, the fine, pliant tannins provide the right amount of grip, charry mocha-cedar oak in a support role, one of the best recent releases (*****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Nebbiolo 2012

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($59)

Drink: 2021

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, much better depth than the 2011 release without losing all the mild vintage elegance, perfumed redcurrant and red cherries cherry with rose petals, musky spices, bay leaf and herbal meat notes, savoury and medium bodied with firmish chalky tannins (but nothing as grippy as those you find in firmer traditional Barolos), lightly charred cedary/clove oak (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Cornella Vineyard Grenache 2012

Purchased: Not($45)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, perfumed, silky and lithe, similar to the 2010 release, long, medium bodied core of pristine redcurrant and raspberry fruit with rose petal, white pepper, dark earth and dried sage notes, just the right level of savoury tannic grip, balanced cedar/cinnamon oak, only quibble is some warmth on the finish from the 15.5% alcohol (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2013

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2014 or 2021 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2013, a bit more brightly flavoured and developed than the last couple of releases at this stage reflecting the return to warmer vintages, rounded passionfruit and apple with musky spices, and some lanolin on the mid-palate and white flower notes, crisp chalky lemony acidity leading with some wet slate on the finish (***1/2)

Jasper Hill The Sisters Shiraz 2011

Purchased: Cellar Door ($73)

Drink: 2018+

(GXY) Tasting:  Aug 2012, due to the challenging wet vintage, particularly for biodynamic producers who can’t use fungicides, the Emily’s Paddock and Georgia’s Paddock were not produced, this is a blend of 80% Georgia’s Paddock and 20% Emily’s Paddock Shiraz, perfumed and medium bodied, silky core of red fruits such as cherry and redcurrant with white pepper, violet and salami notes, shows plenty of the Cambrian soil minerality, vibrant acidity with well integrated coffee/cedar oak letting the fruit do the talking, this won’t be as long lived as the standard premiums but its good to see the Laughtons using the vintage to try a one off in a lighter, elegant, Northern Rhone style (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Semillon 2010

Purchased: Gift from Laughtons (N/A)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting:  Aug 2012, this is the end of the line for the Semillon as the  1 ha of vines planted in Georgia’s Paddock in 1992 have been grafted over, this is shame as this is one of the best Victorian Semillons I have ever had and is a fine example for biodynamic viticulture, pure and vibrant lemon sherbert, cut grass, dried fennel and tobacco with subtle oxidative nuances adding complexity, waxy palate with good length and integrated French oak  (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Viognier 2011

Purchased: Cellar Door ($42)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting:  Aug 2012, crisp, pure and lighter style than the 2009, more focussed and less viscous, lemon and peach with a hint of apricot peel, ginger and chamomile, well balanced acidity and fine phenolics, plenty of drive and poise (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Nebbiolo 2011

Purchased: ($75)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting:  Aug 2012, much lighter bodied than usual due to the vintage, glycerolly red cherry and dark plum with fennel, olive, rose petal and white pepper notes, vibrant acidity, the tannic structure is finer and softer as well although there is some chalky, Italiante grip, early drinking style (****)

Jasper Hill Riesling 2012

Purchased: ($35)

Drink: 2014 or 2024+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting:  Aug 2012, fragrant, spicy green apple and nectarine with rose petal, white flowers, lanolin and wet stone notes, fruit is wrapped in vibrant chalky grapefruit acidity leading to a flinty, lemon sherbert finish, palate is a bit broader for a higher score but has better drive and persistence than the 2011 (****)

Jasper Hill Cornella Vineyard Grenache 2010

Purchased: Cellar Door ($45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, perfumed, silky and supple redcurrant, raspberry and strawberry with rose petal, white pepper and dried sage notes, long and medium bodied with emerging chamomile texture, lingering dusty tannins with cedar/cinnamon, harmonious and simply delicious, the end of drought has really lifted this to a new level, we bought a boot load from the cellar door (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, the milder vintage and relief from drought has brought out the supple red fruits more commonly seen in the 1990s vintages, taut entry with redcurrant, cherry and mulberry fruits opening up to sage, white pepper, savoury meat and anise notes, medium bodied and minerally with a fine chalky texture, web of mouth-coating but pliant tannins, mocha-cedar oak, tightly wound and fairly closed, needs plenty of time (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2010

Purchased: Not ($96)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, more open at the moment than the Georgia’s Paddock, floral and silky blueberry, blackberry and boysenberry with fennel and mint notes, long, minerally and medium bodied with spicy mocha-chocolate-cedar oak, lingering dusty tannins (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Nebbiolo 2010

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, tiny release that sells out rapidly, aromatic and firm redcurrant and sour cherry with musk and dried herb notes, earthy and medium bodied with firmish powdery tannins and lightly charry cedar oak (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2011

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2014 or 2022+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, fragrant lime, green apple and musk, viscous and savoury with a light touch of wet stone alongside the lemon rind acidity (***1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Cellar Door ($73)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2010, the best Georgia’s Paddock in years as the long drought in central northern Victoria since 2002 began to ease although the 2010 may be even better, silky core of minerally mulberry, red cherry and blackberry with anise, violet and dried herb complexity, mouth-coating and persistent powdery tannins, balanced mocha-cedar French and American oak, vibrant acidity for long term cellaring, less intense than the drought vintages but starting to regain the ethereal Northern Rhone qualities of its classic releases in the 1990s (*****)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($96)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2010, as usual there is a 5% Cabernet Franc input, has also benefitted from the loosening of the drought, perfumed and focussed mulberry, red cherry and a touch of raspberry and mint, taut entry but opens up to savoury and meaty mid-palate with fennel and anise notes, richly infused with the Cambrian soil minerality, creamy and spicy oak inputs (mainly Alliers), firm but supple tannins and acid structure for cellaring over a couple of decades (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Cornella Vineyard Grenache 2009

Purchased: Cellar Door ($45)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2010, lively raspberry and dark plum flavours but in a dry, savoury and meaty style rather than confectionary, dusting of cinnamon and pepper, the medium-full bodied palate is infused with powdery tannins, nicely balanced oak, the more modest 14.5% alcohol is a step forward from last vintage (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2010

Purchased: Cellar Door ($35)

Drink: 2012 or 2018 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2010, really need to wait till a least X-mas to drink this but my impression is that this is a bit more focussed than the 2009 which I also tried at this early stage of development, spicy kaffir lime and green apple with passionfruit and musk notes, lingering grapefruit acidity, will develop honeyed and waxy/lanolin texture with bottle age (****)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Cellar Door ($96)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, as usual there is a 5% Cabernet Franc co-ferment, taut and focused showing blackberry and mulberry with menthol, dried herb and white pepper notes, minerally texture, medium bodied with a firm backbone of pliant and savoury tannins, excellent length and cellaring potential although the creamy/spicy cedar-vanilla oak is bit overt compared to the fruit at the moment (I tasted it on the day of the cellar door release), back vintages indicate that the balance will be restored with cellaring (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Cellar Door ($73)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, a continuation of the intense and meaty style of recent drought affected vintages but still has the structure and texture lacking in many red wines from this region, silky and vibrant blackberry, raspberry and ripe plum without any sign of dead fruit characters, medium-full bodied with savoury/dried herb and mint aspects contrasting with the chalky minerality, lingering powdery tannins with well balanced mocha-coffee-vanilla oak inputs (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 1992

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, terrific vibrancy for a 17 year old wine, fresh red cherry and mulberry with fennel, anise and mint notes, medium bodied with handsome chalky minerality, the oak brings caramel and cedar aspects but does not dominate the palate, tannins and acid balance are still structured enough to keep this drinking well until at least the middle of the next decade (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 1993

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, another standout from the Laughton’s cellar door library of back vintages, silky and perfumed blackberry, raspberry and liqueur cherry with evolved savoury meat notes and fennel and anise notes, the caramelised cedar-coffee oak is in harmony with the fruit, has the acid and tannins to be drinking near its peak for another five years (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2009

Purchased: Cellar Door ($35)

Drink: 2011 or 2018 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, seems a bit broader than the 2008, quite dry but showing generous lime kaffir, passionfruit and green apple flavours with floral acacia, musk and brown spice notes, chalky texture, backbone of zesty grapefruit and tangy lemon acidity (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Nebbiolo 2008

Purchased: Not ($60) (sold out before cellar door release)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, only 90 dozen produced, a big and meaty interpretation of this northern Italian variety, red cherry and prune flavours with enough tar and roses aspects to show genuine varietal character, the full bodied palate is quite earthy and savoury with dried thyme and white pepper notes, slightly charry oak with chewy, dusty tannins (****)

Jasper Hill Cornella Vineyard Grenache 2008

Purchased: Cellar Door ($45)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, I was worried by the 16% alcohol but it carries it with ease and maintains a similar flavour profile as the 2007 with even better length, meaty and earthy plum and mulberry with cinnamon and pepper notes although the overall impression is more savoury rather than intensely spicy, balanced finish with cedar-vanilla oak with persistent dusty tannins, a long way from the lifted spice and confectionary style now common in the Barossa Valley, this is a serious Grenache in the vein of best Rhone Valley producers (****)

Jasper Hill Occam’s Razor Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Cellar Door ($42)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, sourced from the vineyard manager’s land at Mia Mia, wine-making daughter, Emily, makes this in a more contemporary style than the Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz, minerally, spicy and full bodied mulberry and blackberry but has still kept its focus, good texture and fruit depth, creamy mocha-chocolate oak, firm and linear tannic structure (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Viognier 2009

Purchased: Not ($39)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, first release, from eight year old vines, partial barrel ferment in French barriques, admirably controlled phenolics with a creamy rather than oily mouth feel, gentle apricot and pear with ginger and honeysuckle features and a faint whisper of vanilla bean, crisp orange rind acidity on the chalky finish, will be fascinating to see how this develops in the medium term as there very few top notch examples of this variety in Australasia (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($90)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, the most powerful wine in the portfolio without losing the structure and elegance, dense core of blackberry, plum and red cherry with liquorice, black olive, dried herb and mint features, full bodied with a complex savoury and earthy interplay with chalky minerally base, persistent and finely shaped tannic structure (*****)

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($120)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, includes a small Cabernet Franc input, taut and slightly austere style showing blackberry and blueberry with light contrasting touches of tar and cleansing menthol, minerally and medium-full bodied palate with attractive dried herb and lavendar notes, persistent web of finely spun savoury tannins, just needs a bit more fruit sweetness and depth to get to my personal top rank but it is unquestionably a finely crafted wine, albeit with the Laughton’s minimal interventionist approach (****1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, flinty and vibrant style showing lime, grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours along with some spice and acacia notes, dry powdery texture leads to a slatey finish with a twist of mandarin citrus (****)

Occam’s Razor Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($47)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, the Occam’s Razor brand is owned by Emily and developed while she was working out how to make the Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz, the grapes are sourced from the vineyard manager’s own Heathcote plot at Conforti estate, spicy mulberry and blackberry, very minerally and finely textured wine, deep set but not quite as much as the Georgia’s Paddock, well judged coffee and chocolate support with a firm tannic backbone, impressive for Jasper Hill’s second tier Shiraz (****)

Jasper Hill Cornella Vineyard Grenache 2007

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, earthy plum and raspberry with a tapestry of cinnamon, black pepper and clove spices, medium-full bodied and veers away from the confectionary style while maintaining the up front varietal sweetness, balanced cedar-vanilla oak, fine, slightly dusty tannins (***1/2)

Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($85)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, more elegant than some recent vintages, medium bodied with well defined black cherry, raspberry and dark plum and anise flavours, earthy and savoury with some dried herb complexity, well judged chocolate/vanilla/cedar oak, long and slightly dusty tannins, only 13.5% alcohol, good response to those claiming the winery was chasing Parker points (****)

Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Riesling 2004

Purchased: King and Godfreys, Carlton ($30)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: May 2005, fragrant nose of honeysuckle and lemon, fruit is a touch subdued on palate but has attractive structure and minerality, slightly too sweet on the finish for my taste (***)