Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hunter Valley Shiraz Should Be Revisited

I was at the Wine Media Conference in the Hunter Valley for the last three days. This conference used to be called wine bloggers conference, and was held once a year in the US. This year it moved, for the first time, to Australia, the Hunter Valley, and with a new name.

Cooking up a Paella storm

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 It is a good time in the Hunter. Typically, a good vintage happens here every four years or so. Summer rains are a problem, as much as heat spikes. However, recently it has looked different. The 2014 vintage was great, and so are the 2017 to 2019 vintages.

This was on display during the Live Wine Social session, a kind of speed dating, where wineries move from table to table every five minutes and have the chance to present one of their top wines.

Some of the Shiraz were very big, as if to say, look we can do 15% alcohol, too. These included the 2018 Ivanhoe Pressings Shiraz, the only pressings wine in the Hunter, the 2017 Audrey Wilkinson The Lake Shiraz, the 2017 1813 The Governor Shiraz, and the 2009 Wombat Crossing Hermit’s Block Shiraz.

A very good wine was the 2017 First Creek Winemakers Reserve. This was a medium-bodied, soft Shiraz. Blackberry flavours and ripe tannins are well integrated. The wine has been matured in new and old 500l barrels, which is now the dominant storage barrel in the Hunter Valley(94 points).

The 2018 Briar Ridge Dairy Hill showed complex flavours of dark cherry, spices and mocca. This is an appealing fresh and soft wine (92 points).

Then there were a couple of different variety wines, which speak to the experimentation in the context of climate change. The 2018 De Iuliis Shiraz/Touriga, a 70/30 blend, is grown on heavy clay. The wine is spicy, earthy, but also lifted with medium length (92 points).

Glendore has made Tempranillo since 2004. The 2017 Glendore Tempranillo is red fruited, savoury, spicy, and an elegant wine. It is slightly short on the finish (93 points).

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