About Higher Plane

VINEYARD MARGARET RIVER

The Higher Plane property is located in the Forest Grove locality of the Margaret River wine region, 15km south of the Margaret River town site.

The location in the southern part of the region experiences a slightly cooler climate, due to sea breezes off both the Southern and Indian Oceans as well as increased cloud cover in spring and summer. This moderates the spikes of summer heat, and the fruit is characterised by more elevated perfume, higher natural acidity and silky tannins.

The property sits at an average elevation of 90 meters above sea level in the headwaters of the Chapman Creek, which flows into the mighty Blackwood River. Three streams enter the property, feeding the dam, and these undulating creek formations provide slopes for cooling air movements to allow the night-time temperatures to fall. This enables the retention of natural acidity that we seek in the wines.

The north-facing aspect increases sun exposure for the vines and also reduces stress on the vines from the south winds.

The property is a distinctive site of the highest quality viticultural soils and aspects.

Soil
The soils across the site are the Forest Grove type; duplex soils on a clay sub-soil which is the ideal soil type for wine production in the region. These soils have a significant gravel component which aids drainage and reflects heat back to the vines in the evening. The sandy loam component of the soil gives it its water holding capacity, and in combination with the high gravel content, tends to promote low vigour.

Each variety has been planted on blocks where the soil and the aspect match its precise requirements. For example; the Cabernet Sauvignon is on a freely draining, northern facing slope, with no trees on the western side, which enables a long afternoon of ripening and provides a ripe fruit and tannin profile. The Chardonnay on the other hand, is planted to the western side of the tree line, which provides shelter to the early season weather that can damage the Chardonnay crop, and also allows good early morning sun exposure when ripening the fruit in summer, whilst shading the fruit from the heat of the late afternoon sun. This maintains the delicate flavours and natural acidity that we seek in our wines.

Vines
The property is 49 hectares (123 acres) in size, and has 16 hectares of vines. Each variety and clone has been selected from the best source possible.
The vineyard is planted to a high density of up to 4000 vines per hectare. Whilst this is much more work for the vineyard crew than on a more conventional vineyard in Margaret River (or Australia generally), it means that the cropping level for each individual vine is less than half of normal. Hence the vines produce wines of great flavour intensity, ripeness of tannin and are harvested earlier than neighbouring blocks, which avoids the risk of weather events reducing this quality.

During the growing season, shoot positioning, leaf removal and shoot trimming are used as necessary to achieve good fruit exposure. Later in the season, when the berries change colour, bunches are removed to achieve a balanced yield level and to remove unripe fruit. The aim of these activities is to achieve optimal sugar, flavour and tannin ripeness simultaneously.

HISTORY SINCE 1997

Higher Plane is a family owned vineyard located in the heart of the Margaret River wine region. It was established in 1997 with the planting of the first vines on the Wintarru Road site, in the Forest Grove sub-region.

The property was founded by Craig and Cathy Smith, and its discovery was the result of an extensive search to find a site to create handcrafted, precise wines, which are a genuine expression of their origin. Their passions lead them to assess over a hundred properties across the region for soil quality and aspect, of which thirty two were visited before the Wintarru Rise site was selected.

The early developments on the site included the construction of a 60 megalitre dam and the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon (the Houghton clone), Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay (the Gingin clone), Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

In 2006 the vineyard was purchased by the late Roger Hill and his wife Gillian Anderson.

Progressive plantings have included Chardonnay (several Burgundian clones), Tempranillo (five different clones), Shiraz and Fiano. By 2008 the area under vine expanded to 16 hectares.

Higher Plane Wines

Higher Plane is a family-owned, close-planted, sheltered vineyard located in Forest Grove, 15km south of the township of Margaret River. Management of the vineyard is sympathetic to preserving the pristine nature of this unspoilt environment by utilising natural practices such as the use of predatory insects for pest control, cover-cropping, and the application of manures and mulch.

OWNERS : Gillian Anderson
WINEMAKERS : Mark Messenger and Don Pople
ESTABLISHED : 1998
VINEYARD LOCATION : Forest Grove
ANNUAL CRUSH : 40 tonnes
VARIETIES : Chardonnay, Semillon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Shiraz, Sauvingnon Blanc, Fiano

PHONE : 9755 9000
EMAIL : cellar@higherplanewines.com.au
WEBSITE : www.higherplanewines.com.au
DISTRIBUTION : Cellar Door, Wholesaler, Crush, Mail Order, Retail

Higher Plane Forest Grove chardonnay 2016 ($25)

Sourced from fruit off this southern vineyard in Margaret River. This is a medium-bodied and elegant expression with light cereal and stone fruit worked with typical grapefruit edginess to balance. Has a light touch of oak with a crisp minerally finish.
SCORE 90/100 CELLAR 3 Years

Higher Plane The Messenger 2013 ($50)

This is a blend of the five Bordeaux varieties. It is already complex in its primary state, before it starts to evolve in the bottle. A feature is the beautiful textured mouth feel of loam gravel. It provides such a stable base to the wine. Really comes together so well.
SCORE 95/100 CELLAR 12 years

Higher Plane Reserve cabernet sauvignon 2013 ($38)

These cabernets off the Higher Plane vineyard in recent years have been superb. The more southern cooler climes seem ideal, with the vine now more mature and delivering consistently good fruit. Such impeccable balance and poise with a fine structure supporting the rich fruit
SCORE 95/100 CELLAR 10 years

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Australian wine producers have arguably embraced the notion that ‘more is better’ (more ripeness, more alcohol, more weight, more oak…) whereas at Higher Plane we are more inclined to the belief that ‘less is more’; winemaking with delicacy, elegance and complexity as the aim.

The property selected has ideal exposure and gravelly duplex soils (and adjoins the Devil’s Lair vineyard). The varieties planted were carefully selected clones and closely-planted to produce low yields and increase fruit intensity, with defined varietal expression.
Higher Plane’s aim is to produce the highest possible quality wine from this exceptional vineyard site.

To assist in this, the management of the vineyard is sympathetic to preserving the pristine nature of this unspoilt environment by utilising natural practices wherever possible.


Site

The Higher Plane property is located in the Forest Grove locality of the Margaret River wine region, 15km south of the Margaret River town site.

The location in the southern part of the region experiences a slightly cooler climate, due to sea breezes off both the Southern and Indian Oceans as well as increased cloud cover in spring and summer. This moderates the spikes of summer heat, and the fruit is characterised by more elevated perfume, higher natural acidity and silky tannins.

The property sits at an average elevation of 90 meters above sea level in the headwaters of the Chapman Creek, which flows into the mighty Blackwood River. Three streams enter the property, feeding the dam, and these undulating creek formations provide slopes for cooling air movements to allow the night-time temperatures to fall. This enables the retention of natural acidity that we seek in the wines.

The north-facing aspect increases sun exposure for the vines and also reduces stress on the vines from the south winds.

The property is a distinctive site of the highest quality viticultural soils and aspects.

Wine Making Process

Our Winemakers

 

OUR WINEMAKERS

Mark Messenger is the Chief Winemaker at Higher Plane Wines, assisted by Winemaker Don Pople. Mark has responsibility for production of all Higher Plane Wines wines and is supported by an experienced team in the winery and the vineyard. Mark was Assistant Winemaker at Cape Mentelle, in Margaret River, from 1990 to 1998. Mark’s experience lies in producing premium Margaret River wines, using the best quality grapes, oak and other materials, and that is his mission at Higher Plane Wines.

Higher Plane

98 Tom Cullity Drive, Cowaramup Western Australia, 6284

CONTACT

Phone Tel: (08) 9258 9437
Fax Fax: (08) 9458 6015
hal@juniperestate.com.au

Website

https://www.higherplanewines.com.au/

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017