As much as I have frequented many wine tastings over the years, there is nothing like visiting a cellar door to taste somebody’s wines. There is really no comparison is there?
I have been lucky enough to try De Iuliis wines thanks to a very good friend of mine, Steve Leszczynski (Qwine), organising a wine swap two or three years ago. Since then, it has always been our intention to visit the Hunter Valley, a place that has, for some reason, eluded my wine region curiosity senses.
When the decision was made to visit the Hunter Valley, it was a no-brainer to call into De Iuliis cellar door. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there but, driving up to it, it is quite a picture. The lawns and gardens are immaculate (love a good garden) and the setting is inviting and serene.
Walking into the cellar door there is a sense of ‘organised’ yet ‘relaxed’ and we were soon relaxed. Gail welcomed us at the door guiding us to a table beside the window giving us an uninterrupted view of the outside vista, and it wasn’t long before we were offered a taste of the zesty and fresh 2019 Sparkling Chardonnay that led into a great tasting experience.
We started with the 2022 Garden Vineyard Semillon that had gentle acidity and is nicely balanced, then the 2017 Aged Release Semillon which showed a little of a toasty character and some lovely fine acidity.
Moving on, the 2022 Estate Chardonnay is fresh and such an easy-going drink while the 2019 Limited Release Chardonnay has texture, a lovely mouth-feel and beautifully balanced.
I could not miss the 2023 Estate Rosé. It exudes ripe strawberries, finishing savoury and dry, and bound to be popular anytime of the year.
I was definitely looking forward to trying the Shirazes and they did not disappoint. The 2021 Estate Shiraz is nicely fruit-forward thanks mainly to purple fruits with a red-fruit like lift and freshness, while the 2020 Steven Vineyard Shiraz has lush fruit and so silky and elegant. The 2020 LDR Vineyard Shiraz is perfectly fruited (can’t put it any other way), generous and with great length. Beautiful aromatics kick things off with the 2020 LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga while dark fruits present on the elegant and long palate. It was a pleasure to get to try the 2018 Limited Release Shiraz which is all about lovely dark fruits and mid-palate plums, and while it is medium bodied, there is good intensity on the palate too.
Hats off to winemaker Mike De Iuliis and his team for producing a line-up of lovely drinking wines that will please anyone and everyone at anytime of the year.
I can’t remember how long we were there, and I don’t remember looking at my watch at any stage. Gail was so engaging and conversational (as were we) that it didn’t matter because we didn’t have to be anywhere, and we lapped up her knowledge and stories.
This is yet another Hunter Valley cellar door I would not hesitate to recommend to my wine enthusiastic friends.
Thanks to Tony for visiting us, and you can check out his entire blog over here.