• Hillcot-Merlot-Grey-Label


Vineyard Range | Hillcot Merlot

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wine notes

2014 Hillcot Merlot

The Fruit:

Grant Burge was a pioneer of Merlot in the Barossa Valley and planted the first vineyard in the region and called it Hillcot, after the village his ancestors came from in England. When he produced his first straight Merlot there were only two others available in Australia, and although there are many more now, Grant Burge Hillcot is still amongst the topselling Merlot’s in its price bracket. The 2013 vintage in the Barossa saw a cool winter with rainfall well below average followed by a dry spring leading to a smaller than normal fruit set and berry size. Although crops were much lower than normal the resulting wines have great colour and impressive structure resulting in very high quality wines.

The Winemaking:

The fruit was crushed into static overhead fermenters and left on its skins for 6 to 8 days to extract the colour and flavours of the fruit. Some selected parcels spent
approximately 2 weeks on skins post fermentation to achieve extra flavour and colour. The juice was racked and returned every second day, and pumped over 3 times a day to further intensify the colour and flavour. The wine was then filled to American and European oak 500L puncheon barrels to complete fermentation. Finally it was blended and then transferred back to oak for a further 20 months maturation before being bottled.


2014 Hillcot Merlot

The Comments:

Merlots attraction is its soft approachable fruit and tannin combination, and Hillcot Merlot has delivered every year on these characteristics. The 2013 Hillcot Merlot is deep red in colour with strong aromas of cherry and plum, with hints of Christmas mince pies. The palate mirrors the nose, with sweet vanilla from the oak complementing the Christmas flavours. This wine is full flavoured, yet medium bodied,with elegant, soft and balanced tannins. A typical Barossa Merlot that is rich, luscious and flavoursome, just as Merlot should be.

awards and reviews

2014 Hillcot Merlot


  • 2012 Hillcot Merlot
    • Bronze | 2014 Royal Queensland Wine Show
    • Bronze | 2014 Sydney Royal Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2012 Perth Wine Show
    • Graeme Phillips | 4 Stars |Dec 2014
      Graeme PhillipsCairns Post

      Blackberry and mocha/chocolate aromas and an intense, high-powered and creamily textured palate tasting of blackberry pie, anise, and cinnamon spice, powerful and well-balanced.


  • 2011 Hillcot Merlot
    • Bronze – 2013 Spiegelau International Wine Competition
    • Tony Love
      Tony LoveDaily Telegraph, Sydney, Aug 2013

      Good everyday red with ripe fruit aromas, depth and body weight on the palate and a most drinkable balance where the wine's power means it's on the money with big meaty dishes. The blue to black fruit flavours are vibrant enough for a satisfying sip after dinner.

  • 2010 Hillcot Merlot
    • 92 Points | Huon Hooke
      Huon HookeSydney Morning Herald, the Maitland Mercury, Warrnambool Standard & the Wimmera Mail Times, March 2012

      This is merlot as I'd like to meet it all the time but seldom do. It's rich, plush, velvet-smooth and fleshy, as well as bright, fresh and youthful, with toasty barrel characters. Good structure, but that all-important fleshy suppleness wins out.

    • 90 Points – Tony Key
      Tony KeyOnline newsletter May 2012

      Burge says the Merlot was planted in 1980 which must make it amongst the oldest Merlot vineyards in Australia. A rounded wine well made and easy to drink it will have many fans…..

    • 90 Points – James Halliday
      James Halliday2013 Wine Companion

      If the Barossa barely tolerates cabernet sauvignon, merlot is event further away from where it should be, yet, despite this, Grant Burge is able to present a wine with as much plum, cassis and black olive as any cool region you care to name, oak a strong ally.

    • 17.8/20 – John Jens
      John JensWestern Suburbs Weekly, Perth, May 2012

      While having serious quality merlot fruit that has been handled in a modern and fresh way, this is soft, full, fruity, warm and round. This is everything that Australians would expect from a delicious and value merlot.

    • Silver – 2011 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Comp
    • Silver – 2011 Royal Queensland Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2012 Hobart Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2012 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2011 Hobart Wine Show
    • Graeme Phillips
      Graeme PhillipsFruit of the Vine, Sunday Tasmanian Oct 2012

      Richer, fuller-bodied and more fruitcake-ish than either of the previous two (Di Giorgio & Yellow Tail), not over-the-top, simply plump, ripe plums, prunes and black olive flavours supported and balanced by spicy oak and soft drying tannins.

    • Graeme Phillips
      Graeme PhillipsMecury, Hobart, Nov 2012

      Rich full-bodied and fruitcake-ish, not over-the-top, simply plump, rip plums, prunes and black olive flavours supported and balanced by spicy oak and soft drying tannins.

    • Jeff Collerson
      Jeff CollersonDaily Telegraph April 2012

      Arguably Australia's most consistent top-drawer merlot and from a vineyard planted in 1980. Vine maturity has injected more substance into the fruit. Ripe fruit aromas with fleshy palate.

    • John Lewis
      John LewisNewcastle Herald June 2012

      This multi-layered Barossa red comes from 24 year old vines on Grant Burge's Hillcot vineyard. It is crimson with purple tints and has bouquet garni scents. Smooth, ripe mulberry flavour comes through on the front of the palate and candied cherry, spearmint and mocca coffee fruit characters meld with cedary oak on the middle palate. Dusty tannins feature at the finish.

    • Michael Southern
      Michael SouthernPittwater Life, March 2012

      The merlot is a full fruit wine sourced from the Hilltop [sic] vineyard which was planted in 1980 and was made as a straight varietal in 1988. It has generous fruit showing the signs of a good season. The palate is balanced with delicious earthy flavours of oak and spice.

    • Ralph Kyte-Powell
      Ralph Kyte-PowellAge Melbourne Jun 2012

      Merlot continues to be a mystery for many consumers. Varietal character is hard to pin down, but this Barossa version does a better job than many. It has attractive plum and raspberry fruit on the nose. In the mouth, it has good flow and intensity.

    • Ross Noble
      Ross NobleMt Barker Courier, SA, May 2012

      Named for his family's ancestral village in Wiltshire, the Hillcot is from 30 year old merlot vines planted by GB to produce a straight varietal. The Hillcot vindicates the decision. It is a cracker of a wine which will get even better with a few years in the cellar.

  • 2009 Hillcot Merlot
    • Bronze – 2010 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2010 New Zealand International Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2010 Perth Royal Wine Show
    • Winestate. December 2010
      Winestate. December 2010

      Elegant, austere style that's ideal for cellaring, with excellent crisp varietal fruit and cedary oak.

  • 2008 Hillcot Merlot
    • Bronze – 2009 Canberra Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2009 Hobart Wine Show
  • 2007 Hillcot Merlot
    • 4.5 Stars | Winestate | June 2009
      Winestate - June 2009

      Gorgeous, rich concentration of liquorice and blackberry-like characters on a nose that has hints of smoky bacon. Very 'pretty' palate that's full-bodied and flavoursome.

    • Silver – 2009 International Wine Challenge
  • 2006 Hillcot Merlot
    • Silver – 2008 Perth Royal Wine Show
    • Darryl Thomas
      Darryl ThomasSunday Territorian 19.10.08

      This wine impresses year after year, a complex mix of ripe red fruit, spice and earthiness. Medium bodied, soft and smooth with lingering fruit flavours.
      Food Match: Lamb leg roast with rosemary and garlic

  • 2005 Hillcot Merlot
    • 92 Points & 4 Stars – Andrew Calliard MW, Huon Hooke
      Andrew Calliard MW, Huon HookeGourmet Traveller WINE April/May 2008

      We're Drinking Merlot. Calliard wrote; ‘sweet plummy aromas, with chocolate and herbs. Cassis and chocolate flavours with slinky, loose tannins. Long and lingering.’

      Hooke added, ‘it was light in structure, but has length, I loved the plump middle and the soft, supple tannins.’ It has classic merlot structure, even with a proportion of two cabernets. It’s fully ready and close to its best.

    • Bronze – 2007 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2008 Decanter World Wine Awards
    • Other (commended) – 2008 International Wine Challenge
    • Peter Bourne
      Peter BourneSydney Morning Herald September 2007

      Grant Burge planted merlot on the Hillcot vineyard in 1980 and is producing grapes with pure varietal character, good depth and concentration. Medium-bodied this wine displays bright cherry and plum aromas, a hint of all spice and a touch of oak.

  • 2004 Hillcot Merlot
    • 90 Points – James Halliday
      James Halliday2008 Australian Wine Companion July 2007

      Great colour, attractive redcurrant and blackcurrant mix; good control of alcohol, oak and tannins all help a stylish wine, particularly given the region.

    • Bronze – 2006 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2006 Macquarie Bank Sydney Royal Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2006 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2006 New Zealand International Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2006 Winpac Hong Kong Wine Challenge
    • Other (Seal of Approval) – 2006 International Wine Challenge London
    • Other (Commended) – 2007 International Wine Challenge
    • Other (5 Stars) – Decanter - August 2007
      Decanter - August 2007

      Little needs to be said about Barossan stalwart Grant Burge, and this Merlot of great finesse and fantastic value merely augments his reputation. There’s a touch of tobacco leaf on the vibrant nose while the palate bursts with ripe fruit and just a hint of bottle development. A long finish completes the picture

    • Harvey Steiman
      Harvey SteimanWine Spectator Sep 2006

      Ripe and spicy, with a cedary edge to the cherry and pepper flavours.

  • 2003 Hillcot Merlot
    • James Halliday
      James HallidayWine Companion 2006

      Spicy, savoury varietal character plus 10% Cabernet input; medium bodied; fine tannins, subtle oak.

    • Wine Enthusiast April 2006
      Wine Enthusiast April 2006

      Grant Burge 2003 Hillcot Merlot Barossa Valley Demonstrative aromas of jammy fruit and a touch of brown sugar usher in red cherry fruit flavours with an overlay of bread flour. Mouth feel is quite nice; pleasingly slender in size, with a tangy zip on the finish.

    • Winewise, February 2005
      Winewise, February 2005

      There’s still a glimmer of hope for merlot in Australia. To encounter a wine as good as this one at the price is very heartening. The plummy, spicy aromas and flavours are very appealing and the tannins are balanced, not over-extracted. Very enjoyable drinking.

  • 2002 Hillcot Merlot
    • Trophy – 2003 Barossa Wine Show
    • Gold – 2003 Barossa Wine Show
    • Silver – 2003 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2004 Brisbane Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2004 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2003 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2003 Perth Royal Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2003 Canberra Wine Show
  • 2001 Hillcot Merlot
    • Silver – 2003 NZ Liquorland International Wine Competition
    • Bronze – 2003 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2002 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2002 Perth Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2002 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Ralph Kyte-Powell
      Ralph Kyte-PowellSun Herald, 16 February 2003

      This Barossa merlot has 10 per cent cab sauvignon blended in. It smells like a summer pudding – raspberries and blackcurrants, with mouth-watering fruit dominating subtle spicy oak. The palate has plump middle of juicy flavour, medium body and soft tannins. Good with char-grilled summer vegetables.

    • The Age | Epicure | May 2003
      The Age - Epicure, May 2003

      The is an attractive Barossa merlot of succulent gulpable personality. Its fresh nose reminds of raspberries and blackcurrant, and a light seasoning of spicy oak sets things off perfectly. In the mouth there’s medium body, juicy flavour and soft tannins. Food – roast veal. Ageing – drink over three years.

    • Warwick Randall
      Warwick RandallWaverley Leader, 14 January 2003

      Grant Burge’s 2001 Hillcot Merlot is worth looking around for. The bouquet of ripe raspberries and American oak leads to a rich softness on the generous, fruity palate. The smooth, long finish is icing on the cake. Try it, you’ll love it.

  • 2000 Hillcot Merlot
    • Bronze – 2002 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2001 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2001 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2002 Adelaide Wine Show
    • Bronze – 2002 Winpac, Hong Kong Wine Challenge
    • Other (4 Stars) – Winestate Magazine March 2002
      Winestate Magazine March 2002

      Quite complex dusty/minty/menthol bouquet with a stalky strawberry lift. Fresh, lively sweet plum palate has plenty of length. Soft tannins.

tasting notes