|I like Petit Verdot. A maligned grape|
13.5%, Screwcap, $16
The Upper Hunter seems to have been forgotten in recent times, what with Rosemount completely moving out of the region in 2010 (as the Rosemount winery was bought in 2010 by chemical/mining services/explosives company Orica to be used as a storage facility for ammonium nitrate) and others (like Arrowfield) somewhat disappearing.
Like James Estate, most of these Upper Hunter producers have moved their public 'face' (ie cellar door) to the Lower Hunter (though James Estate retains a cellar door in the Upper Hunter).
Still, there remains plenty of Upper Hunter vineyards that are yet to be swallowed up by mining interests, and the wines, generally, remain rather good value indeed (if occasionally rather unremarkable).
This wine, at least, has character to match the value, presenting as something more like a Hunter-meets-Hilltops style. It's ridiculously darkly coloured for the Hunter too (which I rather like. Maybe I'm a colourist after all. Nahh) and carries a slightly baked, red dirt nose with a super ferrous earthen style whcih is all about less fruit and more savoury leanings.
There is more juicinesss on the palate though, which is more about simple earthen chocolate blackberries with some spirit drenched plum warmth. Sweet and sour and just a little bulky, this certainly has some appeal, again it's very regional though and capped off with very bitter tannins and really great length.
Odd wine this, but no questioning that it has earthen 'I'm from the Hunter Valley' character. 16.5/88+