Hay Shed Hill is a winery in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, way down there in the bottom left corner of the country. Click on the map I drew and look for the tiny sliver of red next to the big star. This vineyard was originally a dairy farm that was home to returning veterans of WWI (remember the Diggers on ANZAC Day). Vines were first planted in 1973. The land has changed hands several times since then and it's currently run by winemaker Michael Kerrigan.
As I've said before, most wine in Australia comes from the big producers of South Australia, but it's worth checking out the other regions. Western Australia has always fascinated me because I think it's about as far as you can get from the United States without leaving the planet, but the folks there speak English and the area was settled by British emigrants in the 1800s, just like my ancestors. And when it comes to wine, Western Australia makes me think of Washington and Oregon: a bit off the beaten path, a little lighter and more restrained, but certainly individual and interesting.
Here's four wines from Hay Shed Hill, all enclosed with convenient screwcaps:
2007 Hay Shed Hill Shiraz
86% Shiraz, 14% Tempranillo
$16, 13.5% abv
Touch of black cherry and licorice, a bold start with a light lingering finish. Very ripe and almost tart towards the end. The Tempranillo is a delightful addition, and gives this wine more of a Spanish feel than your typical giant Shiraz fruit bomb.
2008 Hay Shed Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
$19, 14.5% abv
Nice green pepper aroma at first, giving way to rich dark plum flavors and hints of leather and smoke. Very Bordeaux-like in its profile, and while higher in alcohol than the Shiraz it's nowhere near hot. I would love to see this one with a few more years of cellaring. Good now, could be spectacular in about five years.
2008 Hay Shed Hill Chardonnay
$19, 12.5% abv.
Aromas of pear and ginger. Initially tart with a bold green apple and ripe pear flavor, that gives way to a long and more mellow finish. A little cream and vanilla from the 11 months in French oak, but it's not buttery or over-oaked.
2008 Hay Shed Hill Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon
$16, 12.5% abv
51% Sauvignon Blanc, 49% Semillon
Another Bordeaux blend, this fun little white has a grassy, earthy nose with aromas of lemongrass and a touch of honey. Lime curd flavors, tart and fairly acidic, with a quick, clean finish. This made me crave crab cakes so much I almost capped the bottle and ran to the store. I would recommend it with something like a salade niçoise or lobster roll, where you want something cold and crisp to cut through the savory mayo-seafood combination.
These wines were received as samples from The Country Vintner.