Philip White   InDaily

December 7, 2017

Sevenhill St Ignatius Clare Valley Cabernet Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2014 is already one step closer to heaven: the intelligence of its blending and structure have already got it hoisted way up past the rafters into the belfry. Lookout steeple! Oh? They haven’t built the steeple yet? Then lookout sky!

Leaving aside the mystifying notion that this upland ridge in dry old Australia manages to grow beautifully the Riesling of Germany and Austria alongside all these types which are classically the ingredients of great Bordeaux, let’s still point out that in 2014 vintage slowed and cooled after thick rain put an end to a burst of threatening heat, giving us mercifully elegant, beautifully aromatic wine like this.

After its petite, polite perfume, with all those fresh fruiterer’s berries and pretty confections wafting through from the lolly shop with the fairy floss next door, the flavours gear up with a touch of all those deep Cabernet greens: the teas and beet leaves. Meaning this wine still has a bit of a juvenile twist in it for now: three or five more years should see all that smooth out and shine over and you’ll reach a different altitude again. Which is not to say it’s not great fun now, chasing that big black angel around the steeple that will sure get built eventually.

James Halliday   2018 Wine Companion

August 11, 2017

52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 14% Malbec and 9% Cabernet Franc. Has more elegance than most of Sevenhill Cellars’ normally robust, full-bodied reds, but nonetheless has a full boat of purple and black fruits, slightly sandy tannins and cedary oak. Its undoubted balance will serve it well in the years to come. To 2029. 94 points

Philip White   InDaily

December 7, 2017

Sevenhill Inigo Estate Grown Clare Valley Shiraz 2015 is about as Clare as Clare ever gets: deep and furry and strong. There’d been lots of rain, then a last-minute heatwave ripened everything so quick vintage seemed to finish in a flash. Winemaker Liz Heidenreich and her team had to give those beautiful old Mintaro slate fermenters a total thrashing to give us this surly beauty.

The 70-plus years these vines have spent getting their roots into the Sevenhill rocks seem to have built up a head of pressure just for 2015: that intense Shiraz aroma seems to explode out of the bottle, then the glass, then from the drinker’s breath. It’s a thing of glory and joy.

I’m sure Vivaldi wrote a Gloria just for the release of wines like this. It seems to leave big angel feathers fluttering down from the rafters. I say big because this is one big brawny fully growed-up angel: there’s nothing cherubic about it.

While that alcohol number seems steep, it’s a lot more honest than the rivals from the region, which rather miraculously all claim to be 14.5 per cent, which can really mean 16 per cent, given the slack in the legislation.

It doesn’t seem that strong to drink, mind you, like it’s not porty, but instead offers that sort of hammered lozenge of concentrated Shiraz as a neat sweetie that sits about the laughing gear for a while, then it’s gone, leaving more of that feathery tannin. At this stage the drinker will notice them feathers are black.

Philip White   InDaily

December 7, 2017

Sevenhill Inigo Estate Grown Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015  is a more genteel critter. It has that meaty aroma of the blueberry dominant; somewhere between the charcuterie and confectioner’s musk it’s there, laying hints at the field mushrooms, beets and roast meats that would best suit it. Then there’s the flavours flooding through in a gentle, but persistent wave, hearty and human and as honest as the day is long.

Rarely is something so determined to be both raw and sensual in such a rustic unpolished manner. I mean, it’ll gain a polished sheen with another five or 10 years in the crypt but I’d rather enjoy it without the sophistry of age. It’s big, but never boisterous.

Toni Paterson MW

September, 2017

Good aromatic intensity of concentrated citrus and faint blossoms. The palate has excellent depth and presence, firmly in the lime spectrum. The acidity is perfectly balanced and integrated. A well-made and assertive Riesling with great energy and persistence. 92/100

Philip White   InDaily

September 21, 2017

“The 2017 Rieslings show the outstanding quality that flows from a mild vintage when warm days and cool nights allow even development and harvesting at optimum ripeness,” writes Sevenhill winemaker, Liz Heidenreich.

She goes on to echo what I suspected, and am beginning to hear from souls older than mine: this vintage was a lot more like it used to be “before the impact of changing climatic conditions pushed the first pick of harvest [forward] into early February”.

Liz picked this year’s whites in March and April.

After the brilliant O’Leary Walker ‘seventeens, and tasting other fresh babies around the barrels and tanks of these ranges, I can only say Liz is being typically modest: mercifully, in razor-sharp contrast to the northern hemisphere harvest underway right now, South Australia’s 2017 seems to be one of the great years of recent decades.

This blend of the fruit of four vineyards spread over lean slaty siltstone to rich ferruginous loam shows clearly the softening influence of the latter grounds, in which the vines have a much cushier life and produce more immediately gentle and approachable wines. Wrapped around the lean, bony fruit from the siltstone, this flesh makes what I call a Riesling for the drinker just graduating from Chardonnay.

It sports a creamy, almost lush texture, with 7.6 grams per litre of crisp, lemony, totally natural acid.

Following the typical Riesling citrus petals and pith of the bouquet, the flavours follow through gentle lime to lemon, making me wonder what the wine would be like with bubbles. At which point I bung some in the Soda King … yep: rock’n’roll.

Not to suggest that improves the wine: it simply helps with my theory that texturally and structurally this is very similar to good Champagne.

It’s tempting to make ‘well, in he goes’ jokes as this decorates one’s lucky gullet, but the wine is appropriately named after the Basque Inigo Lopez de Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits who established Clare’s first winery at Sevenhill in 1851.

Philip White   InDaily

September 21, 2017

This heavenly pearler is from the Weikert Vineyard, a priceless 0.85ha of Riesling in old loam on slaty shale.

Aromatically, it misses some of the softer lime flesh that makes the Inigo comfy. In its place is a dusty summer breeze, all the world like the whiff of the Mintaro slate quarry when a dumper drops a load of waste chips on the stack. This makes one feel dangerously hungry.

Below that, there’s a drip of leaner citrus: grapefruit; even a hint of the bitter Lohara orange that evolved on the Caribbean isle of Curaçao. It’s a stimulating, heady, adults-only zephyr. The glass is an arm’s length away across this messy desk but still I smell its parfumiers’ reek. Bring it closer to the olfactories and it’s both bracing and disarming.

Drink. Oooh. Just as you’d expect after that austere fragrance. It’s like the railway lines Ry Cooder strung on rubber slings in a warehouse to make giant slide guitar groans to indicate the crazy yearnings  that drove the late Harry Dean Stanton on his march across the desert to Paris, Texas. This drink makes me think of the contrast between his parched complexion and the smooth beauty of Nastassja Kinski.

This St Frank offers a much happier marriage than those poor characters had any chance of achieving.

It’ll be in the cellar 10 or 20 years hence. In the meantime, it’s a drink for the hard-core Riesling æsthete. Get a bottle. Sit back. Watch the movie. Amazing.