Langhorne Creek is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, and also one of the best-kept secrets in our viticultural treasure trove. Its magic has long been known among astute producers who’ve turned to it for succulent, fresh fruit presence.
Its cool maritime climate is predominantly shaped by the onshore southerly winds blowing directly from the Southern Ocean across Lake Alexandrina. Summers tend to be long, dry and warm with reliable afternoon breezes retaining natural acidity in the ripening grapes.
The Heartland story began in the late 1990s when winemaker Ben Glaetzer got hooked on the outstanding quality of fruit being grown here. Since Heartland’s first vintage in 2001, Ben has been celebrating this generous approachability in gracefully evolving wines of high quality and excellent value.
2019 Heartland Stickleback Red $16
Each individual variety for Heartland Stickleback Red was fermented on skins for five days before pressing. Maturation in two and three-year-old oak barrels. All ferments were kept cool to enhance the aromatics and to keep the tannins soft. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz give this wine a rich, savoury character and good structure. A splash of Lagrein contributes spice & tannin. The tightness and structure of the Lagrein, pulls the wine together and makes this blend a perfect match with food. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
2018 Heartland Foreign Correspondent $26
A blend of Dolcetto (95%) and Lagrein (5%) from Langhorne Creek. The Dolcetto and Lagrein were picked early for maximum freshness. The two were then fermented for 24 hours at very low temperature before being taken off skins for a remarkable lightness of colour and tannin. No oak was used for this wine which was left in stainless steel for six months before cold stabilisation and bottling. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
Brilliant, clear crimson; fresh and juicy red cherries and berries. Really attractive.91 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2020
Well. It’s a very good drink. You don’t have to pay the big bucks. Red licorice, black cherries, drifts of aromatic dried herbs. Fresh and juicy in the best of ways. A gentle tether of tannin; just enough. Good stuff. Thumbs up.90 points. Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
2016 Heartland Sposa e Sposa $22
The Lagrein (55%) was matured new French oak barrels after fermentation to create a rounder, softer texture. The Dolcetto (45%) was cool fermented on skins for seven days before being crushed and matured in stainless steel in order to preserve the fresh, floral notes of the variety. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
55% Lagrein, 45% Dolcetto from Langhorne Creek, the Lagrein matured in new French hogsheads, the Dolcetto in stainless steel. Typical Ben Glaetzer, weaving seductive mouthfeel and flavours for the price of a tram ticket.91 points. James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
2017 Heartland Spice Trader Cabernet/Shiraz $19
The wine comprises 70% Cabernet and 30% Shiraz from vines with an average age of more than 25 years, growing on the sandy loam soils of cool-climate Langhorne Creek. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are fermented separately with specific parcels included for their ability to offer greater complexity and character. Time in barrel permits a softening of the wine’s structure. It also offers a complex expression of the fruit and helps the exotic notes of spice to be discovered.
The very dark core of this wine stretches all the way to the ruby rim. The aromas are of freshly crushed blackberries and preserved cherries accented by hints of dark chocolate and cardamom. The palate echoes this with soft forward black fruit dominating anisette, persimmon and classic fruit cake notes. A long mellow finish completes the picture. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
2016 Heartland Spice Trader Shiraz $19
Heartland Spice Trader Shiraz was de-stemmed, crushed and pumped over twice a day for ten days. The wine matured for 12 months in oak prior to bottling. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
A four-year-old Shiraz (five if you can hold onto any over the summer ’21 barbecue season) below $20. That’s pretty good going already for this dark-berried, plum-and-spice wine that’s had plenty of time to find its groove. Full bodied, rich and generous to the core.90 points. Tony Love, James Halliday Wine Companion
2015 Heartland Spice Trader Cabernet Sauvignon $19
The fruit was crushed into 8-tonne open fermenters and left on skins to cold macerate for three days prior to fermentation. The wine underwent its malolactic transformation in oak, was then racked and returned to French and American oak for a 12-month maturation. Blending was completed just prior to bottling. – Ben Glaetzer
Like its Spice Trader Shiraz sibling, 5-6 years have allowed this wine to relax and find an appealing balance in the palate. The nose is pure Cabernet leafiness, and while this echoes softly as you drink, the forest fruits and crimson-berry feels here are the dominant force. It’s bright and lifted, with varietal tannins adding structure. Crazily good value. 90 points. Tony Love, Halliday Wine Companion March 202190 points. Tony Love, James Halliday Wine Companion
2018 Heartland Shiraz $24
Steady winter rainfall and multiple flood events gave us a good storage of moisture and healthy vines leading into the growing season. Higher than average summer temperatures have offered up robust fruit characters that Shiraz loves to present. The Shiraz was destemmed, crushed and pumped over twice a day for ten days. The wine was matured in older oak barrels for twelve months prior to bottling. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
There’s a genuine honesty to this wine. No affectations: it’s all about pure shiraz in its plum-fruit expression with neatly teased spice – a touch peppery – that gives lift and energy to the fleshy palate. Older-oak maturation over 12 months has added backbone, too. The sweet varietal fruit is more than celebrated, in an everyday manner that still has a note of tannin definition and finish. Excellent value.92 points. Tony Love, Halliday Wine Companion
2018 Heartland Cabernet Sauvignon $24
The fruit was crushed into 8-tonne open fermenters, left on skins to cold macerate for three days prior to fermentation. Fermentation occurred at or under 23°C (with a Rhône isolate yeast). This helped to extract the skin tannin while maintaining aromatics. The wine underwent its malolactic conversion in oak, and was then racked and returned to French and American oak for a 12-month maturation.
An imperial purple cloak gives ample warning of the power in the glass. The sweet fragrance of dark forest berries immediately floods the senses, offset by a diverse spice rack of secondary aromas. Clean bright fruit dominates the palate complemented by dusty tannins, with surprising depth and length of finish. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
2018 Heartland Directors’ Cut Shiraz $40
The grapes for Directors’ Cut Shiraz are selected from some of the best Shiraz vineyards in the region. These vineyards are chosen for the consistent intensity and texture of the fruit. The strictest pruning techniques are used. The fruit was harvested at night and then crushed to small open-top stainless-steel fermenters. After 24 hours of skin contact, fermentation kicked off with our Rhône isolate yeast. Following 10 days of cool fermentation on skins and pumped over three times daily, the wine was transferred to French and American oak hogsheads for 14 months maturation. In the 2018 vintage we limited ourselves to 40% new oak to ensure the fruit remained the focus.
The dark purple colour is a clear indication of the intensity that awaits in your glass. The nose is inundated with berry compote and a decorative topping of fresh berries. These are accented by whispers of spice. The palate offers juicy plums and chocolate dipped dried fruits. There are hints of oregano and thyme to be sort out. The finish is long and the freshness unmistakable. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
2016 Heartland Directors’ Cut Cabernet Sauvignon $40
Heartland Directors’ Cut Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines aged 70+ years, grown on sandy loam soils in cool-climate Langhorne Creek. The old-vine fruit is the cornerstone of this wine’s character. The fruit was harvested at night to retain freshness. Initial skin contact was followed by seven days of cool fermentation with our Rhône isolate yeast and hand-plunging three times daily. Maturation then occurred in new oak hogsheads (both French and American) for approximately 14 months. – Ben Glaetzer, Heartland
This has cedary, blackcurrant and blueberry aromas with a nice patina of smart oak augmenting some stylish cabernet fruit. It’s rich and fruit-sweet, full-bodied but elegantly cast and superbly harmonious. An excellent cabernet that shows a touch of class.92 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review