Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon + fried chicken = shit yes
On Wednesday night a group of notable Hunter Valley winemakers came to town, bringing with them a swag of gold medal and trophy winning wines from this year’s 2014 Hunter Valley Wine Show, all open over dinner at renowned Sydney den of boozy delights Fix St James.
Sadly I still can’t drink, so for me the dinner was more like a ‘watching people drink’ affair, yet again the night rammed home how good the Hunter 2013 and 2014 vintages are looking.
On that note, Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas was amongst the throng of winemakers in the room and gave a very apt speech noting just how far Hunter Shiraz has come in the last fifteen years – from a period in the late 90s where the classic mid-weight style of Hunter Shiraz was all but abandoned, dropped in a bid for more ripeness and more extraction (which only brought more faults and shorter lived wines), to this years wine show, where beautiful, mid-weight 2013 Shiraz was the norm.
In turn, a closer look at filtration and winery hygiene, plus the wholesale move to screwcaps, has only made Hunter Shiraz more dependable, with the onerous ‘sweaty saddle’ brett issues now a real thing of the past.
It’s not all beer and skittles for Hunter wines though. While you could argue the wine standard has never been higher, they’re still ‘hard sells’ beyond NSW, with the quirks of Semillon not understood and the vitality of Hunter Shiraz often overruled by the bombastic richness of South Australian Shiraz.
Similarly, while the Hunter has now had two excellent years on the trot (2013 and 2014) there has been two seriously hard, seriously wet seasons in the last seven (2008 and 2012), just to reinforce that the Hunter is not a place for easy viticulture.
Still, the proof is in the booze and no doubting the glories of the best Hunter wines – as this duo attests too.