Most of the grapes from Mick Cann's property are destined for neighbouring Wild Duck Creek, where they are vinified into Heathcote's most prestigious wines. Like all good vignerons, Mick retains what he believes is the very pick of the crop for his own personal use. Showcasing samples directly from oak barrel, he was overwhelmed by the interest and the decision was made to design a label and to bottle the inaugural St Michaels Vineyard. He has released an extremely limited, small batch Shiraz, with remarkable structure and stately palate.
Planted in the 1990s, the Shiraz block within St Michaels Vineyard is a scant two and a half acres of superlative Terra rosa earth, sited under the east face of the Mt Camel Range. The fine red Cambrian clay loams overlay textured calcareous soils that can retain ground water, nourishing the vines when drought can be most vehement. Hand pruning and the most exacting standards of bunch thinning were applied to a select parcel of vines to encourage the growth of the most excellent Shiraz. Following hand picking, open fermentation on skins, hand plunging and a basket press, St Michael is treated to two years maturation in a combination of French and Russian oak hogsheads.
Crimson black to the rim of glass. A nose of blackberries and dark chocolate over luxurious, cream and anise oak. Flavours of black and red cherries are kept juicy and vital by fine acidity and persistent length of polished tannins. A lingering wisp of violet, coffee grounds and turned earth counterbalancing the warmth of alcohol. Fans of lighter Shiraz will not like St Micheals, but paladins of the big rich red style surely will.