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Hunter Valley and New South Wales

by | Apr 10, 2022 | Online tastings, Richmond Wine Society, Teddington Wine Society

Our regular tastings on Zoom and live at Richmond and Teddington continued in February and March with a look at New South Wales and the key areas of Hunter Valley, Orange and Riverina. The principal aims of the tasting were to get a deeper insight into high quality Semillon from Hunter Valley and contrast local Shiraz with areas such as the Barossa. Over the three tastings, we also covered Riverina – not a well known wine region but very significant in terms of volume. It accounts for 75% of NSW wine production and is Australia’s second biggest wine region. It is hugely important for low cost, bulk wines where irrigation is routine and conditions are ideal for viticulture.

From the family Berton estate we tasted some good value varietals. The Vermentino was crisp and fresh; the Viognier was pleasantly aromatic with just enough varietal character and the Durif was earthy and fruity with good structure.

Brokenwood was a key winery in our tastings. Created in 1970, they are relatively new kids on the block and have established a top-class reputation. Their Cricket Pitch white – a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon was crisp and textured with good mouthfeel added by the Semillon; while their Cricket Pitch red was a delicious blend of Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot that over delivered on spicy fruit and balance. Both wines source some of the fruit from outside NSW so can’t use the Hunter Valley appellation. Their Semillon was young but really excellent. Vibrant, intense and with great length it belied the notion that Hunter Valley Semillon needs time. However, the Tyrells VAT 1 2014 Semillon was an absolute highlight of the tasting. The additional ageing really showed how well Semillon develops and these wines can age for 30+ years. Tyrells are an historic winery and their VAT 1 Semillon has won more awards than any other Australian wine.

We concluded the tasting with a Philip Shaw Orange Shiraz which was a spicy and lean – characterising the cool climate style of the area and enjoyed by all. This was followed by the small production Graveyard Shiraz from Brokenwood – their icon wine. Yes it was very good – but tasting the 2017 vintage was a bit early in its evolution and we all baulked at the £120.00 price tag particularly as the previous Shiraz was only £20.00!

All in all a fascinating event and a great opportunity to focus on an area that seems underrepresented in UK markets.

For details of the wines, and prices, see the wines we have tasted page.

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“Throughout the 17 years I have attended Tim’s wine tasting events, he has continued to deliver his extensive knowledge of wine and wine-making with great charm, and lots of humour, making the evenings not only informative, but also great fun. In the course of an average year, the tastings cover a kaleidoscope of different wine themes – interesting and entertaining for all, novices and experts alike. And the wines taste pretty good too!”

“We have been going to Teddington Wine Society events for a number of years. Tim runs the evenings with bonhomie and humour and wears his considerable knowledge lightly. The evenings are great fun, the wines are always a little bit different and help to expand knowledge and tasting horizons.”

“I have attended the Richmond Wine society for over ten years and always enjoyed Tim’s self-effacing style and gentle humour. His knowledge is globally eclectic and presented in a clear, interesting and always stimulating way. Every guest I have taken there has enjoyed the evening immensely. Tim also offers a wide range of wines to buy and my red cellar has provided great pleasure to my own dinner guests.”

“I’ve been enjoying Tim’s tastings for over 20 years – he is a great teacher, raconteur and wine expert. He is seriously passionate about his wine, but there is nothing serious about his tastings, which are always informal and relaxed. A lovely way to spend an evening and enjoy some fantastic wines.”

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