Sevenhill ‘St. Ingatius’
St Ignatius is an elegant, classic ‘Bordeaux blend’ made from the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc grapes. The wine is then aged in old and new French oak for at least 36 months.
All four varieties are crushed in to open slate fermenters where they stay on skins for 12-14 days, with gentle hand plunging three times a day. After basket pressing, ageing is undertaken in a combination of old and new French oak.
Sevenhill’s irreplaceable 100-year old slate tanks were made from large slate slabs quarried from the nearby town of Mintaro. These open top fermenting vats are a perfect size for fermenting red grapes – a large surface area of wine in contact with the fermenting skins gives the best extraction of colour and flavour, and allows heat to escape – still better than anything invented in the past 100 years!
St Ignatius on one of Sevenhill’s ‘Saints Range’. While the inspiration for this wine stems from France’s Bordeaux region, the varieties are suited to Sevenhill’s cooler, later-ripening conditions and the wine reflects the Clare Valley’s intense regional style.
Aromas of violets, cloves and cigar box underline the prominence of Cabernet Sauvignon in the St Ignatius blend. Flavours of bright, red berry fruit are the backbone of the palate, with an underlay of firm tannins.
About the Producer
Sevenhill Cellars was the first winery to be established in the Clare Valley, In 1851 a small number of Austrian immigrants purchased 100 acres of land, naming it Sevenhills after the seven hills of Rome. The first grapes grown by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in the community provided sacremental wine and began a long tradition of winemaking. Sevenhills is the only remaining Jesuit-owned winery in Australia the wines supports their Missions charitable work.
The underground cellar was excavated by hand and the winery constructed from the slate stone quarried from nearby, which is also used to build other notable landmarks – St Aloysius’ Church and the College. Sevenhills 72ha of vineyards are planted with 20 grape varieties, the average age of the vines is 75 years. The altitude of 400m ensures cool nights during the hot summer months, critical to the rich and concentrated ripening of the fruit. With a committment to low yields Sevenhill is highly regarded for its premium wines and the regional qualities that have put the Clare Valley on the world stage.
There have been seven Jesuit winemakers at Sevenhill, the most recent of whom is Brother John May who still works closely with the current winemaking team. Due to the shortage of Jesuits, the winery had to advertise for its first lay winemaker and Liz Heidenreich became the first non Jesuit winemaker in 2006 She is also the first professionally trained winemaker at Sevenhill, a nice counterpoint to Brother May, now in his 80s, being one of the longest serving untrained winemakers in the land. Liz has also been winemaker for Sir Cliff Richard and his Vida Nova wine label in Portugal, joking “I tell people one of my bosses is the Pope and the other is Cliff Richard.”