Hunter Legends & Wine Industry Awards – the winners and the losers
Sadly, there was a loser too, as the event was held at the Wyndham Estate cellar door – which is now going to be mothballed as it was deemed ‘surplus to requirements’. I sat on a table with the Wyndham Estate staff, most of whom will be unemployed in just a few weeks time, and the celebration had a slightly sombre edge.
Still, this was a celebration and nothing was going to dent the atmosphere of the night (it’s always great fun). Fun which saw me still drinking (real) Peroni and drinking 06 Taittinger out of the bottle at 1am.
Anyway, I managed to drag myself out of bed on Friday morning for a catch-up with Scott McWilliam to look at the new Mount Pleasant wines (great. More of that to come), even though I was the mayor of Struggletown.
Following that was lunch at Roberts restaurant with a few of the winners and Hunter Legends (also great. Delicious food) capped off with what is one of the most interesting parts of this annual event – a large tasting of the (mostly unreleased) new vintage Hunter wines.
This year it was the turn of the 2014 whites and 2013 reds, featuring two vintages that the Hunter winemakers are more than excited by. While I was in quite a bad way (a slug of the brilliant 2011 Mount Pleasant O’Shea Shiraz helped a bit. But not much), I managed a whirlwind look at many of the wines and turned up a few highlights.
To be honest, picking highlights while many of these wines are still barrel/tank samples is an exercise fraught with danger, however no questioning just how strong a group this is. The ’14 Semillons seem quite open compared to the 13s, though it is a classical vintage, perhaps in the vein of 2007. The ’13 reds are superstars, right up there with 2009 or 2011, if also ripe and quite tannic like 2003 (which was another dry and low yielding vintage).
A few wine highlights
Brokenwood Oakey Creek Vineyard Semillon 2014
Finished wine, though not labelled.
All of the ’14 Brokenwood Sems look good, but this is a standout. There is something perfectly ‘right’ about the green apple acidity and lightest hints of lemon and hay here, an arch classic wine that will follow a generous and quite toasty form within years. A cellar stocker. 18.5/20, 94/100
Tinkler Reserve Semillon 2014
Finished wine, though not quite labelled.
Boom this is one dense white! Ballsy and back-palate driven, the thickness and firm acidity chewy and dry. Length and power in abundance. Long termer! Promise. 18/20, 93/100+
Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay 2013
Superb. Marries the butternut pumpkin oak and leesy richness of the nose with a dry, refreshing palate. Archetypal Chardonnay that takes its lemony acid profile from Hunter Semillon, but generosity of Chardonnay. Delicious, full tilt style, needing only an extra year or so in bottle to fully resolve. 18.1/20, 93/100+
Tyrrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz 2013
Currently available from cellar door.
Another incredibly fine Tyrrell’s red. Quite a contrast compared to the Old Patch which was sitting alongside this one and looked soft and simple in comparison. The joy here is the tannins, which are grippy and meaty, coupling perfectly with the beautiful purple fruit. This was utterly delicious – perhaps a bit firm and bold to be a ‘Hunter Burgundy’ and more like the beautiful old Lindemans style of the 80s. Excellent. My wine of the tasting. 18.6/20, 95/100