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5 Minutes with Bryan Currie of

Hungerford Hill

How is the overall progress of vintage 2018 and what is looking promising?

“Vintage 2018 finished early in the Hunter. Started early finished early. The quality is fantastic. Really low yields in the Hunter and really intense red wines and flavorsome, ripe white wines. So, it’s a really great vintage on par with the 2017 vintage which is two in a row.”

 

Is there any particular Varietal that’s standing out to you?

“I think Shiraz is a standout. Very low yield this year, probably a tonne an acre. So, really intense wine but still carrying the Hunter personality; Medium bodied personality. Their not monsters, their just fragrant and they have that feminine Hunter edge.”

“Cabernet is looking really good, which is a bit unusual for the Hunter, it’s fantastic. Plenty of power.”

“Sémillon’s very ripe, probably riper than usual. So, very expressive and full of flavour.”

 

With your 2017 vintage what wine stood out that we wine lovers are about to experience?

“It’s a really classic Hunter range. Hunter Sémillon and Shiraz. They’re really strong. Great acidity and freshness in the Sémillon with nice, low alcohol. Shiraz is riper so it’s a bit more intense. Just really fantastic fruit purity. Both are looking fantastic. And, you know we don’t always get a great Hunter vintage so we better enjoy them.”

 

Word is that both the 2017 and 2014 vintages were exceptional years with 2014 being called once in a lifetime. What insights as a winemaker do you have on both of those vintages?

“’14 was fantastic, better for red than white.

’17 white was probably better. Both extremely good. They still have that medium-bodied frame, they’re not monsters. There’s just a bit more ripeness due to the heat of both years which gives the wine more concentration. But, I think ’18 reds will be better than ’17 reds. This year’s been more of a Goldilocks year for reds; not too cold, not too hot, just right.”

The Hungerford Hill unique barrel-shaped cellar door, known as the “Tasting Room”

Now, hopefully, I’m not overstepping, but obviously, Hunter Valley Sémillon is the global standard.

“Hunter Valley Sémillon is just Unique. It’s a unique wine. You can’t do it anywhere else in the world.”

 

And why is that?

“I think it’s just a perfect match in variety, climate, and site. A perfect spot in the world. It’s the beautiful white fruit characters, low alcohol, and level acidity, that allows it to age for a long time giving us a beautiful, tasty, white wine. It’s just that unique combination of variety, climate, and site. No one else can do it in the world.

 

And whether it’s Sémillon or something else what is your favourite wine to drink?

“Myself? My favourite wine is Tumbarumba Chardonnay. Which is why I work at Hungerford Hill. It was the number one condition on my checklist when I looked at taking the job – ‘Where’s their Chardonnay from is it Tumbarumba. It’s my favourite region. Yeah, I love it,  it’s just amazing. Complex, intense fruit, fantastic acidity that’s just a real class wine. And, it’s a huge opportunity to make them.

Chardonnay’s my favourite wine full stop. You’ve got to have your favourites.

 

Hungerford Hill has been making wines with fruit sourced from all over the Hunter Valley and greater New South Wales but, up until recently, your top shelf reds like the ‘Epic’ and the ‘Heavy Metal’ are a blend of varietals from South Australian regions. Why have you ceased using South Australian fruit for your wines?

“The original Hungerford Hill back in the ‘60s had vineyards in the Coonawarra but they were all sold off. So there was a long association with South Australia. We’re not turning it off forever it’s more of a ‘Lets concentrate on what we’re known for.’ We’ve got a range of climates in New South Wales from the Hunter Valley that’s a very warm climate, Tumbarumba which is very cool-climate and Hilltops in between where we can make all of the varietals we use to make the Epic and Heavey Metal. So, we’re going to bring them up here.

Our passion, my passion is New South Wales Wines. I’ve only ever made New South Wales wine my entire career.

 

Thank you very much Bryan.

“Cheers.”