Winemaker’s Selection – New Vintage Release
October 1st marked the 2020 new vintage release of our Winemaker’s Selection wines; 2015 Vat 1 Semillon, 2018 Vat 47 Chardonnay, 2018 Vat 9 Shiraz and 2018 Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet.
The 2018 vintage was the middle year of three great ones for the Hunter. In the great years one variety always pokes its nose above the others, and in 2018 that was the Shiraz. We were still well and truly in drought conditions, and so our berry size was a little smaller than normal, which gave the Shiraz great colour and flavour concentration.
Chris Tyrrell comments, “In our first red classification tasting in May 2018 most of the wines tasted all received the highest grading. They had better colours and greater concentration than the 2017s, with generally lower alcohols and better chemistry.”
Bruce Tyrrell AM says, “The great vineyards always have the ability to retain their acid structure. So all of the reds are deep in colour, have lots of fruit on the palate and have a wonderful balanced tannin and acid finish. The Shiraz and the Chardonnay will both continue to live for some time.”
All the 2018 Chardonnays are at the bigger end of the scale, but are not overly alcoholic and have good acid balance.
The 2015 Vat 1 Semillon is the product of a long, cool summer – one where we needed to hold our nerve to let the fruit develop the necessary flavours. The 2015 Vat 1 has now developed an amazingly complex nose and palate, with plenty of fresh acid on the finish.
These wines represent the absolute quality of our Estate.
This vintage comes entirely from our Short Flat vineyard. This vineyard features ideal sandy, free draining soils that give this wine its unique character. The oldest block on the short flat was planted in 1923. All of the fruit was hand picked and lightly pressed before fermentation. After fermentation the wine spent a minimal time on yeast lees before being bottled early to maintain its freshness. No oak fermentation or maturation. The palate is seamless showing the typical powerful fruit core which is balanced by the wine’s texture and soft acid profile. This wine shows a length of flavour only produced from great vineyards.
Vat 47 Chardonnay comes entirely from our Short Flat vineyard, where the original Chardonnay vines were planted by Murray Tyrrell in the late 1960s. This vineyard features ideal sandy soils and is dry grown. All of the fruit was handpicked before immediately being basket pressed, the juice was then cold settled for two days before being racked to another stainless steel tank to begin fermentation. The fermenting juice was then transferred to French oak barriques to complete fermentation and maturation before bottling in October. The palate is where the power of the Short Flat vineyard comes to the fore, exhibiting an intensity and length not often seen in other Chardonnays. Impeccably balanced between primary fruit characters, some secondary lees components and the fine-grained French oak.
Vat 9 is a blend of the best old blocks that sit on the strip of red soil that runs through the winery. Weinkeller (1970), NVC (1921), 8 Acres (1892), and the Short Flat (1968) make up the 2018 blend. Handpicked and meticulously sorted in the vineyard. A percentage of whole bunches were included in the ferment and the majority of the fruit was destemmed but not crushed, ensuring as many whole berries as possible were in the fermenter. All blocks were fermented separately and matured in mostly 1 and 2 year old large format French Oak (2,700L) until December 2018 when they were blended to create the Vat 9 blend. The wine returned to those same casks for further maturation until bottling in May 2019. No finings were used. The palate is medium bodied showing soft sweet fruits, subtle oak enhances the mid palate which is complimented by the fine, clean acid structure and long tannins. A classic Vat 9 that will have a long life in the cellar.
Vat 8 Shiraz Cabernet is sourced from Shiraz grown on the Ashmans property with an average vine age of 35 years and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on Pokolbin Hills Estate planted in 2009. The 2018 vintage blend is 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. After fermentation in stainless-steel vats, both parcels were matured separately before blending in November 2018. The blended wine then finished its maturation in French-oak barriques until bottling in May 2019. A modern style of Australian red that also respects the tradition of using varietal blending to make a more rounded wine. The wine shows intense plum fruit sweetness from the Shiraz with dark berry and chocolate characters. The Cabernet component adds to the length and fullness of the wine.