(2022) From soils of red volcanic clay and 50-year-old vines, fermentation was with 'neutral' cultured yeasts, and the wine bottled early to preserve freshness. There is lemony freshness here, but even a hint of succulent pear and peach. Already there are nuances of flowers and Acacia honey in the mix. The palate has lovely fruit, a burst of tangerine juiciness that is a little different from the usual lemony character one might expect. Lovely, ripe style.
(2022) The vineyard here is 116 years old, on free-draining sandy soils. Again, this was made in steel and bottled early. There is a wonderfully honeyed and almondy nose, the toast of 7 years in bottle has already developed so that you would swear this has seen some high quality oak. On the palate there's a lovely sweet edge to the fruit, with real juiciness of ripe red apple and lime, then that thrilling acid, touched with salinity but pure and lemon-juicy, extends the finish. HVD stands for 'Hunter Valley Distillery', as it was originally planted as a source for making brandy.
(2022) Younger vines here, around 10 years old, on sandy alluvial soil. The recipe is very similar: no oak, no malolactic, and bottled early from stainless steel. Again, that beautiful development here, adding a touch of flint to toast and lemon curd. The palate has a little more weight that the Tyrell's it feels to me (though slightly lower alcohol), and a bursting orangy brightness to the fruit. Delicious lemon jelly purity swept up in acidity in the finish, gives this salty savouriness as well as pleasing fruit brightness.
(2022) Surprisingly, this 'alternative' variety is from a vineyard planted 24 years ago - the first in the Hunter. It was fermented in steel, then matured in in a mix of barriques and larger puncheon barrels, all French oak, and no new barrels for 12 months. Creamy oak and a bright raspberry fruit on the nose, the fruit red in character. The palate has a lovely succulence and sweetness; there's intense cherry and ripe plum, some intense spiciness, and lip-smacking acidity. Tannins are chocolaty and rich in a deliciously full and satisfying wine.
(2022) From red clay soils, the Shiraz vineyard is 35 years old, and the 10% Cabernet in the blend is from a 20-year-old vineyard. After fermentaion parcels were matured separately before blending several months later, followed by further ageing in French oak barriques for six months or so. Bruce Tyrell says the Cab not only adds some tannic heft, but gives it a bit more upfront punch. There's a herbaceous aspect to the aroma, a little green olive and fresh black berry fruit. On the palate there is spice and grippy, tight tannin, giving the palate an edge that keeps things lively and fresh, without any sense of heaviness or 'dead fruit'. The finish is fruity, spicy and zippy.
(2022) These vineyards on red clay are 25 years old, the wine matured in French oak, 90% big 500-litre puncheons, and around 12% new oak overall. Riper, fuller and creamier than the Tyrrell's, there is more black fruit character and hints of gravel and coffee. On the palate again there's that spicy, racy edge to this, the pure black fruits underpinned by spice and gravel. There's crispness and elegant freshness aplenty here once again, great juicy clarity and drinkability.
(2022) Winemaker Emma Norbiato explains that this late-ripening variety is still green in the heat of summer, so its acidity holds on well towards harvest. On the other hand, she finds many Italian examples of Montepulciano have a more dry tannin structure. Vibrant crimson in colour, this has a plum and cherry pie creaminess and red fruit character, then sweet, ripe, juicy and mouthfilling berries on the palate, spices and again, a hint of toast and creaminess helped by six months in older oak for 40% of the blend. Vines are 15 years old, on loamy sand over limestone. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2022) First released in 1982, Noble One has become one of the world's most famous Botrytis Semillons wines, certainly outside of Sauternes, the inspiration for its creation. Again Winemaker Julie Mortlock talks of unusual climate/ripening in recent years, with the harvest much earlier than usual. Vines range from 20- to 60-years old, grown on sandy loam. After 12 months in barrel the wine is bottled with 250g/l of residual sugar. Full on, barley sugar and marmalade Botrytis onslaught here, with that dry mushroomy undertone. The oiliness and weight of the palate is in contrast to the Berton's lighter style. So much flavour and texture, the luscious tropical richness shot through with juicy orange, plenty of acidity and the oak adding a custardy creaminess. Terrific stuff as usual from this cuvée. Price for a half bottle, and for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2022) From vines planted in 1968 on sandy loam soils, this was fermented in a combination of steel and French oak barriques. It was aged nine months in barriques, 20% new, with minimal lees stirring. A glint of green to the colour here, and a fine, subtley nutty nose, something gastronomic, almost like a fruity olive oil, and ripe pear and melon fruit. The palate has a terrifically sparky line of acidity that is juicy, citrus-fresh and yet sweetly rounded too. The fruit has plenty of mandarin orange brightness, lovely succulence and texture, but a beautifully focused, smile-inducing and approachable style.
(2022) Again, from lower-lying vineyards around 600 metres, this is a selection of the best Shiraz, matured in French oak puncheons for 12 months, around 30% new oak. It's been in bottle for a couple of years longer than the Ross Hill, and is a much meatier style aromatically with bacon fat, spices and some coffee grounds, but a ripe core of red plum fruit is there. On the palate that sweetness bursts through, a lovely weight of ripe fruit, but constrained and finessed by very fine-grained tannins and plenty of cool climate acid structure.