|The Hunter Valley, Australia’s most famous wine region, is situated within a two-hour drive north of Sydney. It encompasses two main regions, the Upper Hunter and the Lower Hunter, with each offering its own amazing wine experience.
The Lower Hunter region had its beginnings in the 1820s with the likes of James Busby and George Wyndham. In the 1850s, families such as Lindemans, Draytons and Tyrrells emerged. The first Hunter plantings were made at Kirkton, Dalwood and Pokolbin.
The Upper Hunter is situated around the towns of Muswellbrook, Denman and Scone. It is approximately one hour’s drive northwest of Pokolbin. This area really began in the 1960s with Penfolds (later selling to Rosemount), Arrowfield, Reynolds and Horseshoe. More recently, producers have started to promote themselves as sub-regions like Lovedale Road, Mount View, Brokenback and Broke Fordwich.
Semillon and Shiraz are the two outstanding varieties of the region. Hunter Semillon has a unique style not found anywhere else in Australia. When young, the wine is fresh and austere, showing characteristic lemon and lime nuances, making it an ideal accompaniment to fresh seafood. Over time, the wine transforms itself into rich toast and honey-like flavours with extraordinary complexity. Some can last up to 20 years!
Equally unique is Hunter Shiraz. Commonly known in the past as Hermitage, the variety has thrived in the Valley with virtually every producer making one. When young, the wine displays wonderful red berry flavours, along with a peppery, earthy character. The more emotive description of a ‘sweaty saddle’ is sometimes true.