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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Significance of Signature Wines


The Hunter Valley, considered one of Australia's longest established wine regions, is renowned for producing some of the world's best and most distinctive styles of Semillon and Shiraz, which are the hallmarks of this region.


 

Perhaps the most recognisable of these is Hunter Valley Semillon – the Hunter Valley’s flagship variety and a truly outstanding wine in terms of quality and taste with a style that has not been replicated anywhere else in the world.


Other varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Verdelho, which all produce great Hunter wines.


The region is also home to a talented list of winemakers who have adopted some alternative varieties that include Grenache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Durif, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Tannat, Petit Verdot and Chambourcin amongst the reds and Vermentino, Sauvignon, Fiano, Pinot Grigio and Viognier amongst the whites – and with fantastic results.


Of the more than 150 cellar doors making up the various Hunter Valley wine trails, you would be hard-pressed to find one that did not include a Semillon or Shiraz amongst their flagship or most awarded wines.


The term ’Signature’ or ‘Flagship’ wine does not have a specific definition within the wine industry, so there are no hard and fast rules dictating how a winery chooses its flagship wine or even if they have one. What is common to all flagship wines is that they are all wines of exceptional quality, are good examples of the style, and embody the grape variety and region in which it was grown.


If a winery does have a flagship wine, it could be based on their most awarded wine, a winemaker’s favourite wine that he or she produced, a wine that is only produced in the most exceptional vintages, or one that the winemaker believes best represents the style that he or she is trying to achieve.


This principle also applies to wine-growing regions worldwide, with some wine regions receiving global recognition for producing excellent wines amongst certain varieties.


Just like Shiraz in Australia, countries around the world have their own flagship wine varieties and styles. These wines make up a part of each country’s unique wine identity. It’s Chenin Blanc and the unique red variety Pinotage for South Africa. In Argentina, it’s Malbec; for Chile, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon and in Italy (particularly Tuscany), it’s Sangiovese. For the major Spanish wine regions, it’s Tempranillo and in the Rias Baixas region, it's Albarino. In California (USA), it's Zinfandel, which also happens to be home to some of the oldest Zinfandel wines in the world. Bordeaux is France's most famous wine region and the reference point for Cabernet Sauvignon.


Closer to home, the flagship variety for the Swan Valley is Verdelho, and South Australia’s Clare Valley is better known for its Riesling. In the Yarra Valley and the Tamar Valley in Tasmania, the flagship varieties are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


These flagship varieties serve to attract consumers to a wine region or a particular winery and to experience all the other varieties and everything else on offer in the area – wines that are of exceptional quality, that are emblematic of the region, terroir, winemaker, and grape..

 

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