Australia’s oldest continuous wine producing region, the Hunter Valley, dates back to the 1820’s. Less than an hour from Newcastle airport, it is an ideal weekend escape to get amongst the vines.
Characterised by a warm maritime and sub-tropical climate, early migrant settlers named the region Pokolbin. This is the area around which most wineries reside. Pokolbin can be translated to Hell Hole, such was the summer heat they experienced. Sitting in the shadows of the Broken Back Range, cool nights counterbalance warm days making conditions ideal for grape growing. Temperatures fall to as low as 2 to 4 degrees Celsius during the winter months. Perfect conditions for a fireside glass of red.
Most famously recognised for its incredible ability to produce the world’s best semillon coming off the ancient riverbed alluvial soils, shiraz is the other glamour of the region. Beautifully medium-bodied in all its glory with the best vineyards sitting on red soils, perched on a hill that is east facing. These sites hug the range which shelters the vines from the afternoon sun and wind. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule too.
Although the Hunter Valley has some treasured brands and labels, the emergence of a new fleet of producers forging their way forward ought to be on your radar. A label really taking it to the old firms is De Iuliis. Classy, contemporary wines, Mike De Iuliis’s Limited Release Shiraz was highly regarded and preferred by many in a line-up of soon-to-be released 2019 shiraz at a media tasting event in May. Mike’s Shiraz Touriga blend is gold-plated taking out numerous wine show trophies and gold medals year after year. Did I mention that De Iuliis was also awarded the Hunter Valley’s Cellar Door of the Year for 2022?
Spring Wine Picks:
Contemporary medium bodied shiraz at its best. Less than half the price of many iconic Hunter labels, this takes the challenge to them. Layered with generous berrs and dark cherries leaving a trail of super find spices that sizzle. This is classy and then some.