Following on from our Red Wines of the Hunter Valley article this month (read it here), here are our top Big Red picks! The wide array we have picked encompasses all that you can taste in the Hunter - from fruit driven to spicy, there is sure to be one for every taste!
2016 Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon, Alison’s Selection – $50
This wine is intense dark black olive in colour with bright and vibrant cerise and purple hues.
TASTING The palate is wonderfully full, ripe, layered and dry. The upfront fruit flavours are of cassis and boysenberry jam. The mid palate is complex and layered with flavours of smoky bacon, Chinese five spice and dark bitter chocolate. The back palate is dry with firm and persistent typical Cabernet tannins.
FOOD MATCH Aged seared lamb rump with lavender infused red wine jus, venison backstrap with wild field mushrooms, hard aged goat’s cheeses.
CELLARING 4 – 8 years.
2018 Tempranillo – $32
This wine is from the Ben Ean Hunter Valley vineyard.
TASTING The 2018 Savannah Estate Tempranillo is vibrant ruby red in colour with crimson and cerise hues. Lifted aromas of stewed raspberries and sour cherry. There are wafts of leather and earth and dried mixed herbs. There are also nuances of wood smoke and a slight gaminess. The palate is mid weight, savoury, spicy, juicy and dry. The upfront flavours are of cherry cola and rhubarb. The mid palate is spicy and herbal with flavours of clove, vanilla and cardamom. The back palate is soft, dry and persistent.
FOOD MATCH Pan fried field mushrooms in butter on toasted sourdough topped with crumbled feta, milk fed veal medallions seared then poached in a pink peppercorn sauce, paella with extra chorizo.
CELLARING Now or up to 5 years.
2017 Grand Reserve Shiraz – $75
This wine is from the acclaimed 2017 Hunter Valley Vintage, a single vineyard wine harvested from the Hunter. This is a quintessential top Hunter Shiraz that shows just how good Hunter Shiraz can be when all the pieces in the puzzle fall into place.
TASTING This wine has amazing mid palate fruit and great length that combine to give this wine near perfect balance.
FOOD MATCH Superb with roast beef, lamb and any game dishes. A wonderful Winter wine.
CELLARING A wine to enjoy for many decades to come. Drink now to 2040.
Le Fruit Défendu [the forbidden fruit] 2018 Pinot Noir & Syrah – $48
In the world of French winemaking, blending Pinot Noir and Syrah is traditionally forbidden. However, in the Hunter Valley, the blend has become one of the region’s most celebrated exports, and for good reason too. A blend characterised by subtlety and grace. Medal Winner 2019: The Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show.
TASTING A little bit of magic occurs when the perfumed and elegant Pinot Noir is blended with the spicy and herbal Syrah. Juicy red and floral aromas are complimented by spicy peppery characters with a touch of herbal undergrowth on the finish. Not too light, not too heavy.
FOOD MATCH Perfectly matched to the Estate cheese and charcuterie platters served onsite, or a herb infused rack of lamb or mushroom risotto.
CELLARING Now or up to 5 years.
BLACK CREEK FARM – THELÉMÈ WINES
2019 Cabernet-Merlot – $32
This 2019 Cabernet Merlot is made using 50% of Cabernet and 50% of Merlot, undergoing a secondary fermentation and matured in French oak barrels.
TASTING Dense in colour, glossy and bright, it has fresh Cabernet varietals on the nose with some cassis. Ripe fruit core appears on the palate, the Merlot component softening the fruit and tannins. This wine develops elegant and smooth flavours that flow through the nose and palate. It is an elegant and powerful wine that delivers complex fruity flavours, with a well balanced finish.
FOOD MATCH Best paired with fine food, such as roasted lamb with herbs or mushroom risotto.
CELLARING 7 to 8 years will give this blend additional depth and will enhance its roundness and full-bodied character.
2019 Tempranillo – $26
A handpicked selection of the finest fruit from an outstanding vintage.
TASTING A bold traditional Tempranillo with dark cherries, plums and raspberry fruits on the palate, plus the smoked meats characteristic of the variety. Bright colour, wonderful nose. Beautiful drinking now and will reward cellaring.
FOOD MATCH Tapas, of course, plus cheese and salami platters, pasta with duck ragout, roast chicken or lamb chops. Great with pizza!
CELLARING Ready to drink now and will continue to develop for 10+ years.
2017 H.A.E Single Vineyard Shiraz – $65
2017 was an outstanding Hunter vintage given the hot and dry conditions. Only 150 dozen cases of this high quality Shiraz were produced from single vineyard estate grown fruit. Hand pruned and handpicked to ensure exceptional quality.
TASTING Intense black/purple colour, with ripe dark fruits and pepper on the nose. A well structured and balanced palate, with loads of spice and layers to complement the outstanding fruit weight. Framed magnificently with skillful use of high quality French oak barriques. A big red, from a big Hunter vintage!
FOOD MATCH A perfect accompaniment to beef burgundy.
CELLARING Drink now or cellar for 25+ years.
Catherine di’M Sangiovese Merlot – $35
Tintilla have become renowned for their Sangiovese over the years, selling out quickly as soon as it hits the cellar door. Each vintage is different, and the fruit treated according to the conditions it was grown in, with some years becoming a blend rather than a straight variety. Either way, this wine is definitely worth a taste!
TASTING Medium ruby in colour with aromas of blackberries, cherries and redcurrant. The tannins are soft, dry and persistent.
FOOD MATCH As a classic Italian style it goes well with any Mediterranean food.
CELLARING Until 2030.
Gartelmann 2017 Diedrich Shiraz – $50
The Diedrich is Gartelmann Wines flagship Shiraz and sees the 2017 vintage sourced from an iconic single vineyard in the Hunter Valley. This wine was recently awarded 96/100 in the James Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Gartelmann Wines is also a 5-star rated winery!
TASTING Aromas of florals, red berried fruits and a dusting of spice which elegantly flow onto the palate. Medium-bodied with supple, sleek tannins and a beautiful soft rounded finish.
FOOD MATCH Rare roast beef or a juicy steak with pepper sauce, served with roasted root vegetables.
CELLARING Drink from 2020, great in 2022 or cellar until 2025+.
MT EYRE VINEYARDS – AVAIL. AT THE GARDEN CELLARS
2017 Three Ponds Holman Nero D’Avola – $45
The Nero D’Avola varietal is most famous in Sicily, on the slopes of the Etna Volcano. Mt Eyre Vineyards has pioneered the varietal in the Hunter Valley in the volcanic soils of Holman Estate Vineyard. Tasting of this wine is available daily at The Garden Cellars.
TASTING A rich palate displaying sweet cherries and plums with subtle oak, black pepper notes and subtle tannins.
FOOD MATCH Red meat and poultry as well as cheeses.
CELLARING Best enjoyed now or until 2030.
MOUNT PLEASANT WINES
2018 Mount Henry Shiraz Pinot – $35
Maurice O’Shea was famous for making blends of Shiraz Pinot back in the 1930’s and 40's. This blend originates at Mount Pleasant and is now being produced all over Australia for its freshness, complexity and great drinkability.
TASTING Red and dark fruits, spice and floral notes. The palate is rich and full with a sublime tannin structure and amazing length.
FOOD MATCH Roast lamb cutlets.
CELLARING Drink now and will cellar for at least 25 years.
HANGING TREE WINES
2017 Signature Shiraz – $40
Just like your very own signature, the Hanging Tree Signature Shiraz has it’s own identity as a truly unique Hunter Valley wine. Produced from a single vineyard with the vines over 40 years old, in the foothills of Brokenback Mountains, this exceptional wine truly encapsulates the flavours of Hanging Tree Wines.
TASTING A well constructed wine that displays a balance of fruit sweetness with aromas of nutmeg, peppercorns, plum, blackberry, blackcurrant and hints of aniseed and smokey oak. The palate is peppery and earthy, beautifully balanced with subtle oak and tannins giving a complete and pleasant long lasting finish.
FOOD MATCH This wine will go well with a Wagyu steak and red wine jus, served with duck fat roasted kipler potatoes.
CELLARING 10–15 years.