Six first generation Hunter Valley brands have set their sights on a common goal-to put the new Hunter wine styles out for all of us to see.
And after all they have been doing this for some time, probably over a decade.
Now it is so obvious that they had to do something further than just talking. New Generation Hunter Valley has been born amongst the Pokolbin boys.
The makers are De Iuliis, Hook, Margan, Meerea Park, Mistletoe and Thomas. The guys took their wines on the road dropping in at as many surf clubs as they could gather between Sydney and Noosa recently.
I caught the new vibes at The Surf Club in Southbank in Brisbane.
David Hook Pinot Grigio 2010; (USD 19.25); 12.5%, +++, juicy nose, pale and fresh, good slippery texture and powerful flavour. A wine style that has been around a long time, from the Adina vineyard in Lovedale Road planted twenty years ago.
David Hook Viognier 2009; (USD 26.75); 14.5%, +++1/2, heavenly aromas of the grape-ginger and melon, the palate solid and full, just as viognier is, more full-bodied than today’s chardonnay, a big elixir, and this finishes fresh and very drinkable. Aged in old barrels where the variety enjoys the aging without obvious oak ingress.
Thomas Six Degrees Semillon 2010; (USD 23.50); 9.5%, ++++, as a fresh and zippy white this is outstanding, a competitor for the FGR riesling styles coming out of Tasmania (forty grams residual), early picked and full of lime juice expressions as a wine finished at 42 grams/litre residual.
Styles similar are the kabinett rieslings coming from the Mosel and Rheingau. “Thommo” feels free to innovate, and this would be great with Sichuan style chicken where the chilli heat needs quelling.
Since last reviewing Thomas Wines there has been a profusion of single, select vineyard shiraz-Sweetwater 2009 and Motel Block 2009 now join his flagship Kiss 2009, and then there is the blended shiraz, DJV 2009.
Motel Block was a vineyard planted in 1969 by the Sydney notable John Walker, with the grapes more recently going to a corporate buyer but now in the hands of a specialist who will give them a lot more love.
Thomas Sweetwater Shiraz 2009; (USD 37.40); 13.7%, ++++1/2; good attractiveness in the glass, freshly aromatic from its new oak, including American, great mouth sweetness, fruit char, black fruits and the delicious softness of Hunter shiraz made in the most modern vein.
The Eather brothers of Meerea Park were there with their newest reds plus smart semillon and chardonnay.
Meerea Park Hell Hole Semillon 2010; (USD 26.75); 10.9%, ++++; very pale, very lemony, very taut as we expect for this variety from this region-of course it’s the hallmark variety. This has fineness and puckering acidity that matches it with a freshly bbq’d crustacean; just a must.
Pokolbin when translated in an Eastern European language, Polish I think, means “hell hole”.
Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2006; (USD 37.40); 10.5%, ++++1/2, shows how these taut examples age, and does it well. This is a touch cheesy, semillon speak for age character, still nose restrained, then taut with a lash of honey to recognise some age. Still young wine.
Meerea Park Hell Hole Shiraz2007; (USD 53.40); 13.6%, ++++, looks brilliant, holds its purple colour, is rich yet medium bodied, lovely savoury sensations, but soft and easy, the fruit keeps toying with the palate, then it finishes taut. Outstanding wine. Made with 40% new barrels, 40% whole bunches yet inky wine.
Keep surfing with the boys from New Generation Hunter Valley-it’s all serious stuff.
Peter Scudamore-Smith is a Brisbane-based Master of Wine, winemaker and educator www.uncorkedandcultivated.com.au
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