The top echelon of red wine producers in the Hunter Valley consists of Tyrrell's, Mount Pleasant, and Brokenwood. But they do not have it all their own way. Some newer wineries are issuing a challenge. I recently tasted two outstanding examples from the excellent 2014 vintage.
The 2014 Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz is the lead Shiraz by Andrew Thomas, and the 2014 Silkman Reserve Shiraz is of the same caliber. If you drink these wines side by side, you are first struck by the similarities. These are typical Hunter Valley wines: not South Australian blockbusters, nor spicy cool climate wines. The wines are full-bodied, yet fresh and elegant, with silky tannins. Now to the (subtle) differences.
The Silkman Shiraz is slightly more aromatic on the nose. Blood plum flavours develop with poise. This is a more female expression of Shiraz, with fine acidity, some pepper, and a long finish.
The Thomas 'Kiss' is a little bigger, ripe plum, a bit more masculine, with sweeter chocolate flavours from the core, but not like a South Australian wine on these dimensions. A very round wine, still energetic, with a bigger mouthfeel and finish.