Yankee accent on McLaren Vale reds
California’s Jackson Family Wines has suddenly become a major player in Australian wine after adding the Hickinbotham Clarendon Estate to its McLaren Vale holding, which includes Yangarra Estate. Hickinbotham adds 300 acres of vines to the 240 acres already at Yangarra.
Jackson is the estate of Jess Jackson, who died last year aged 81 years, the founder of highly successful winery Kendall Jackson. Ten years ago, the Jackson family bought an old McLaren Vale vineyard which they re-named Yangarra Estate. The latest purchase substantially increases their commitment to Australian wine.
The Hickinbotham vineyard was established by the descendants of Alan Hickinbotham, who was the first oenology lecturer at Roseworthy Agricultural College and hence the first wine educator in Australia. The Hickinbotham Clarendon vineyard is on a 186-hectare property and has provided fruit for some famous wines, including Penfolds Grange, Eileen Hardy shiraz and Clarendon Hills. It’s known for its shiraz, grenache and cabernet sauvignon grapes.
Clarendon Hills and others will continue to take fruit, according to Yangarra winemaker Peter Fraser. Fraser says a new range of wines will be created, and although the brand-name is not decided, the names Clarendon and Hickinbotham Vineyard have been trademarked.
Jackson’s American winemaker Chris Carpenter, a cabernet specialist, is making wine with Fraser this vintage and their lead project is a cabernet shiraz – Carpenter is making the cabernet and Fraser the shiraz, and the wines will be blended.