Scotchman’s Hill is located further along the Bellarine Peninsula in the Geelong region and is another multi-award winning winery well worth a visit. The wines are divided into three price-points: Swan Bay, Scotchman’s Hill and Cornelius.
2018 Swan Bay Pinot Grigio: OUR CHOICE FOR BEST WHITE. The soft yellow glow in the glass is accentuated by a touch of green, but unfortunately (maybe it was just this bottle) there was some cloudiness in the glass which was something of a curiosity. One sniff however and all was forgiven! The aroma was persistent without being demanding and was immediately recognisable as a Pinot Grigio. The palate is immediately present, no subtle developments happening here – exceptional amounts of fruit and a great length of taste, with the acidity developing as the initial flavours subside. Unfortunately a bit too much of the acid remains in the finish, because this is otherwise a genuinely good Pinot Grigio with exceptional length. $23 per bottle.
2013 Cornelius Pinot Gris: Similar colouring to the Pinot Grigio, but without the green tinge. The nose shows some nuttiness which can be typical of the French style of Pinot Gris (as opposed to the dryer Italian style Pinot Grigio). The nose is a bit more Chardonnay-like than some other examples of Pinot Gris, which is further testament to the wine maker staying traditional to the French style of this wine. The palate is rounder and softer than the Pinot Grigio but is not as long. $32 per bottle.
2015 Swan Bay Chardonnay: This was a nice wine, without being spectacular. The nose was soft, which will appeal to Chardonnay drinkers who are not fans of some of the overly oaked wines which were popular some 20 years ago in Australia. There is some oak present however in both the bouquet and the palate, but it is used with good restraint and assists rather than overtakes the flavours. The bouquet itself is faultless if a little on the weak side but there is plenty of fruit (always room for more…) with good oak playing a supporting role. The flavour of this wine grows nicely, but there is too much acid in the finish. Some cellaring would no doubt overcome this. $23 per bottle.
2016 Swan Bay Pinot Noir: This wine is good value for money without being anything too special. It is a nice enough wine (which is an achievement, as Pinot Noir is one of the easiest wines to get wrong…) but from the first pour where significant tinges of orange (not brown, but orange) can be seen in the glass, this just looks like a weak Pinot Noir. The bouquet backs this up, whilst managing to remain true to the Pinot Noir style with herbaceous notes mixed through the red fruit. The wine tastes better than it smells (which is very nice, but so much judgement of a wine has already happened by this time) with excellent fruit coming through, despite the length being a bit on the short side. The finish is reasonably well balanced, but again the acid is allowed to come through just a bit too much. $23 per bottle.
2016 Scotchman’s Hill Shiraz: OUR PICK FOR BEST RED. This wine is almost in complete contrast to the Swan Bay Pinot Noir from the first pour. The deep colour is BRILLIANT, although there is a bit too much of the black fruit coming through and disguising the depth (a really minor, if not irrelevant matter) and the nose is BIG. Whilst not stereotypical Shiraz, with some sweet scents coming through in addition to the expected Shiraz tones, the intensity is as close to perfect as any red wine can claim whilst remaining faultless in its appearance. The palate does not disappoint with its highly complex flavours, although some of the red and black fruits seem to remain a little hidden. There is not a lot of tannin present in the smooth finish and the slight bitterness in the aftertaste dampens an otherwise excellent Shiraz. $39 per bottle.
2013 Cornelius Shiraz: Browning at the edge shows the signs of some bottle-age in this wine, but otherwise the colour is very good. Some oak is present on the nose, otherwise a very typical Shiraz in terms of bouquet. The remarkable thing about this wine is that it actually tastes young, despite being 6 years old. The fruit is excellent, but this is not completely supported by the complexity of the palate. Although the flavours fade quickly they are very nice. $72 per bottle.