HUNTER VALLEY WINERIES

Written by James Hindle

If you need wine in Singapore, PopUpWine and their same day delivery service are the answer.  But what to do when you are abroad…

In the first of a new regular series, James Hindle details his favourite Vineyards (and Cellar Doors) in Australia’s Hunter Valley.

hunterMapHunter Valley, the birthplace of the Australian wine industry, is an easy two-hour drive north of Sydney.  Wine has been grown in “The Hunter” since the 1830s, when Scottish immigrant James Busby planted Syrah (Shiraz) cuttings taken from the Rhône valley.  With the original French stock devastated by the nineteenth-century phylloxera plague, New South Wales are able to claim some of the oldest Shiraz vines on the planet.  The region is also known for its distinctive dry Semillon (curiously sometimes mislabelled as Hunter Valley Riesling) and Chardonnay.

My favourite vineyards to visit in the Hunter Valley are:

  1. Gundog Estate

Named for failed Gundog, “Karl Marx”, this young but award-winning vineyard is a must visit.  Both the Shiraz and Tawny are superb.  My wife is yet to forgive me for polishing off a bottle of the Tawny in her absence…

  1. Brokenwood Cellar Door

Brokenwood Cricket Pitch (one of our best-selling wines in Singapore) is grown here on land that was, sadly, never a cricket pitch.  The land was intended to be the parish playing fields for a turn of the 19th / 20th century new town which did not come to fruition.

Update 14/4/16: We are sad to report that Brokenwood have sold the Cricket Pitch vineyard to McGuigan Wines (who live next door).  As you will see from the below photograph, McGuigans have ripped up the vines in order to make way for a large car park. Brokenwood refused to confirm rumours that they will be rebranding their popular Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot blend to “Brokenwood Car Park”.  They further denied they had “any plans whatsoever” for a “Manager’s Spot” special release.

Brokenwood ex cricket pitch

  1. Peacock Hill Vineyard

You are likely to leave Peacock Hill with Fond Memories, as the charismatic owner – George Tsiros – is a bundle of fun.  The wines are excellent, too.

  1. Petersons Wines

Not to be confused with the awful “Champagne House” north of Cessnock.  This 40-year old family owned vineyard is a delight.  Ask to a sample the limited release Madeira – you will not regret it.

  1. Moorebank Private Vineyard

A charming little winery surrounded by sleeping Kangaroos.  Moorebank produce some exceptional Muscat, and are worth visiting for that alone.  Wines are named for the proprietor’s children.

In addition to wine, proprietor Ian Burgess also produces some very pleasant Balsamic Vinegar which he sells in the cellar door.  He claims to be deeply frustrated by his wife’s habit of introducing this Balsamic with the line “My husband has been producing vinegar for 20 years…”.

Should you have a favourite we haven’t included above, please let us know…

James Hindle, 8/3/16


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