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Regions In Focus:

The Hunter Valley

Established during the 1860’s, the Hunter Valley is considered the birthplace of Australian wine.

James Busby, the founder of Australian Wine, is estimated to have smuggled as many as 20,000 vines from some 350 varietals out of Spain and France in 1832 and spirited them back to Australia’s shores.

Legend suggests Busby gifted these vines to fifty or so local vignerons with the intention of cultivating the Hunter Valley into Australia’s first established wine region. They quickly saw the success of certain varietals and it wasn’t long before cuttings from these vines and their clones started to be planted all over the country. This vine cultivation helped found regions like the Barossa, Margaret River and the Yarra Valley.

Spreading north-west from the outskirts of Newcastle; the Hunter Valley is not only the country’s oldest wine region but also the country’s most visited.

A wine region with a warm, humid climate and red clay loam soils, the Hunter is famous for many wine varietals however it is most notable for its age-worthy Shiraz and the globally lauded Hunter Valley Sémillon.

Ripening Sémillon grapes on the vine

Sémillon

Wine Critic, Jancis Robinson, describes Hunter Valley Sémillon as “…Australia’s unique gift to the world”.

Hunter Valley Sémillon is considered a benchmark. Many local winemakers insisting that nowhere else in the world can a winemaker replicate what they’re achieving in the Hunter Valley.

Bryan Currie, of Hungerford Hill fame, says the reason is simple, like any form of prized real estate it’s all about location, location, location.

“Hunter Valley wine is unique, you can’t make it anywhere else in the world. It’s a perfect match of variety, climate and site.”

Hunter Valley Sémillon is usually picked early, before the sugar concentrations becomes so high the wine becomes too high in alcohol. The style has been defined by the aged vintages where the wines’ fruit characteristics give way to lemon curds, popcorn and a softened, toasty texture.

Shiraz grapes on the vine turn almost blue when ripe and ready for harvest

Shiraz

The most outstanding red wine in the region, Hunter Shiraz is distinctive.

Hunter Shiraz is noted for its medium body, subtle fruit flavours and an emphasis on earthy notes such as leather or forest herbs. Often considered the perfect Shiraz for ageing; the wine takes on rich complex characteristics and softer tannins over time.

Jodie Belleville and Damien Stevens own and operate Hart & Hunter; a winery devoted to single vineyard wines from specific sites across the region. Their attitude to Shiraz is to find and highlight the unique characteristics the terroir of specific sites provides to their grapes.

“…the fruit shows some unusual characteristics which are different from traditional Hunter Shiraz. Very strong natural acidity. Because of this we’re able to get riper fruit than most Hunter vineyards.”

Unripe Chardonnay grapes maturing on the vine slowly turn from green to an almost golden yellow

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of Australia’s most common grapes. Every region has Chardonnay vines and the Hunter Valley is no exception.

Much of Chardonnay’s popularity could be attributed to its initial success in the Hunter Valley, when James Busby’s vines first took root. The beauty of Australian Chardonnay is in its variety. From the full-bodied, ‘Butter bomb’ Chardonnays of the past, to its modern incarnation which favours leaner, fruit forward, citrus flavours, it remains one of the more popular, yet polarising wines in Australia.

It’s not just wine lovers who revel in the complexity and variable nature of Chardonnay. Winemakers, like Damien Stevens of Hart & Hunter, consider it their go to wine. Damien said, “Chardonnay is one of the few [varietals] where you get to work a little bit more than the others. Every barrel has a different character and different potential… How that ends up is always a work in progress for a good eight months. There’s that ongoing process and journey with Chardonnay. It’s exciting.”

The Huntery Valley is a wine region with much to offer. It is a land where age and history inform the modern-day wines that are grown and crafted there. It’s a place so unique, both critics and wine lovers from around the world treasure the National treasure that is The Hunter Valley.

 

To see our range of wines from the Hunter Valley click on the link below or any of the products displayed.

Hart & Hunter 2014 The Hill Shiraz
Hart & Hunter 2014 The Hill Shiraz
Hart & Hunter 2017 Black Series Rosé
Hart & Hunter 2017 Black Series Rosé
Hungerford Hill 2017 Classic Hunter Valley Sémillon
Hungerford Hill 2017 Classic Hunter Valley Sémillon
Hungerford Hill 2017 Classic Tumbarumba Pinot Noir
Hungerford Hill 2017 Classic Tumbarumba Pinot Noir
Hungerford Hill 2015 Heavy Metal Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
Hungerford Hill 2015 Heavy Metal Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon