Every time you look, the range of wines from Hunter Valley-based winemaker Gundog Estate keeps expanding, now with more Hunter & Canberra wines than ever.
Gundog recently took over the old Capital Wines cellar door in Gundaroo too, following news that the Mooney’s have exited Capital to concentrate on the Man From Snowy River Hotel (with Andrew McEwin taking over the wine business).
As for Gundog, it’s not hard to see why they’re are on the way up. Even from what was a rather mixed 2016 Semillon vintage in the Hunter, Matt Burton and crew have delivered some very smart wines.
Gundog Estate The Chase Semillon 2016
The more serious of the Gundog Sems and looks the part. Linear, with green apple fruit and just a little lemon grapefruit, it’s long and sprightly, although the acidity is not harsh. Indeed it’s quite full in the scheme of things, with mid-palate flesh making this entirely drinkable. Lovely lines here, and I smashed a whole bottle on a warm Sydney summer night. Best drinking: 2017-2028. 18/20, 93/100. 10.5%, $30. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle and drink most of it.
Gundog Estate Marksman’s Shiraz 2015
Sourced from the Dahlberg Vineyard in Murrumbateman, this spends 14 months in 30% new oak. What a polished beast it is too, with a cosseting, silky texture of blood plum fruit and a generous, if slightly warm finish. The precision of texture is the winner here, with the odd hint of mint a counterpoint to rather ripe fruit. No shrinking violet, but still medium bodied, with the finessed texture the highlight. Classy Canberra Shiraz in a ripe and full form, if still coming together. Best drinking: 2019-2030. 18/20, 93/100. 14.4%, $60. Would I buy it? I’d go a few glasses. More later
Gundog Estate Shiraz 2015
This year the Estate Shiraz is also from the Dahlberg Vineyard, though this spends 2 months less in oak. Light ruby purple, it’s very much the modern Canberra Shiraz – plush, generous, purple fruited and warm-hearted yet still with the hints of almond and late spice. I picked out the 5% Viognier without reading the notes (I’m calling that a win), but it seems to just help along what is a lovely generous style. Nice wine this. Best drinking: 2017-2027. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $40. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass or two for sure.
Gundog Estate Hunter’s Semillon 2016
An early drinking style from the ‘most generous parcels’ it is designed to be enjoyed as a young wine. Indeed you’d almost pick it as having residual sugar such is the soft fleshiness. That grapefruit and green apple flavour almost heads into ripe stone fruit territory, with very soft acid in the context of Hunter Sem. A pleasant and approachable style, if missing a little intensity – though still has the length to drive it forward (and I enjoyed the two glasses I had). Best drinking: 2017-2020. 17.5/20. 11%, $30. Would I buy it? A glass.
Gundog Estate Hilltops Shiraz No.2 2015
From the Freeman Vineyards, this sees 25% new French oak. Plum and mulberry. All fruit all the time. Sticky plum too. Almost furry. It’s just a little warm, the alcohol fanning out through the black and mulberry finish. All that plump purple fruit and the full mouthfeel guarantees this will be well-received. Best drinking: 2017- 2025. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14.5%, $35. Would I buy it?
Gundog Estate Wild Hunter Valley Semillon 2016
Glad to see more experimentation with Hunter Semillon. Outside of say, Harkham, it seems Hunter Sem winemaking styles are somewhat fixed. with just tinkering at the edges. This Semillon is wild fermented, spends time on skins and is just off-dry.
I’m still not convinced by the sweetness, but the balance is better this vintage, the nose all grapefruit and just a little green apple, then more grapefruit and green apple on the finish. It is sprightly and tangy, and the sweetness definitely plays a part in taming that acidity, but whether it would be a better wine with less sugar remains the sticking point. That said, the length here marks it down as quality and bumps the score up.
Best drinking: 2017-2020. 17/20, 90/100. 10.5%, $30. Would I buy it? Not quite.