Summer is coming and with it, a thirst for light, crisp, refreshing dry whites. Aussie semillons, sauvignon blancs and blends of the two are just the shot for slaking the thirst and accompanying summery meals which are big on fish and seafood, salads, cold meats and vegetables.
Briar Ridge Dairy Hill Semillon, Hunter Valley 2015 $35 This is a textbook young semillon, with a pale colour and a pristine lemon and straw bouquet. The flavours are not too grassy but more lemon and lime, the finish bell-clear and lingering. With springwater-like mouth-feel,
Single-vineyard semillons are becoming quite the thing in the Hunter Valley, as are aged releases. Brokenwood, Tyrrell’s (tastings) and others have long had individual vineyard bottlings which are often then subjected to extended bottle-ageing pre-release, and they are often outstanding. Brokenwood’s latest is the six
With summer here and the holiday season starting up, it’s time for light-bodied, fresh, young, dry white wines, and I have just uploaded about 120 sauvignon blancs, semillons and blends of the two. Most of these are uncomplicated everyday-drinking, fridgeable whites which won’t break the
Seven wine regions shared in the gold medals at the recent 2014 NSW Small Winemakers Show. They are the Hunter Valley, Canberra District, Hilltops, South Coast, Central Ranges, Orange and Tumbarumba. The trophies were shared among five of those regions: 2013 Moppity Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
In a wine sector that is not exactly enjoying boom times, the NSW wine industry is looking rather positive. After several years of increasing sales, NSW wine has plateau-ed, and is showing only modest growth, “But at least it hasn’t gone backwards” says Stuart McGrath-Kerr, executive officer of the NSW Wine Industry Association. “2.5 per cent is lower than the growth-rate for all wine*, but at least it is growth.”
I’m not the only person who has long believed that the red soil in many of the best vineyards of the Hunter Valley was volcanic in origin. It’s enshrined in all of the reference books and taught in schools. Now, I know better. It is in fact terra rossa, derived from underlying limestone – similar to the famous soils of Coonawarra. A marine soil, not volcanic. “Close your eyes and open them again and you’d swear you were in Coonawarra,” says John Davis, owner of Pepper Tree winery. In fact there is plenty of limestone in the Hunter Valley, says Davis, and he can prove it by taking you for a quick tour of his Tallavera Grove vineyard, in the Hunter’s picturesque Mount View sub-region.
The Hunter Valley is one of our most idiosyncratic wine regions, for many reasons, not least its climate – which doggedly follows its own pattern, different from any other Australian region. Its wine styles are also highly distinctive – in the case of dry white semillon arguably unique; in the case of its other great wine, shiraz, also a style that’s quite different to most other regions.