Deep purple-crimson; destemmed and crushed to small open top stainless steel pots for co-fermentation with 1.24% viognier. After 10 days on skins, was pressed, settled and racked to French barriques (35% new) for 18 months maturation, during which time it was only racked once prior to being readied for bottling. The bouquet is flush with black fruits, a whiff of cracked pepper and of briar, the palate medium to full-bodied. Its undoubted power does not rely on tannins so much as the intensity and persistence of the flavours from a low-yielding vintage, the berries and bunches smaller than usual. Vine maturity, meticulous viticulture of the highest standard, and the use of high tech grape sorting machines are unseen but critically important contributors to the quality of Helen’s Hill’s wines. Prior history in the Yarra Valley would suggest a minimum life span of 20-plus years. 95 points

James Halliday – October 2016