Regarded as the oldest and one of the most successful wine regions in Australia, the Hunter Valley is a place like no other.
From the heights of Mount View to the foothills of the Brokenback Range and the rolling countryside of the Lower Hunter, it has a beauty both austere and inviting.
Stretching some 200km north to south and 275km east to west, the region is situated near two of Australia’s oldest cities, Sydney and Newcastle.
Hugely influential in the evolution of Australian wine, it is perhaps the country’s hottest, wettest growing region, and is home to some of the oldest vine stock in the world.
This variable and challenging climate requires winemakers to be constantly adapting, reflected in a new generation absorbing the heritage of the region, and exploring more modern expressions of traditional styles.
LEGENDS OLD AND NEW
The Hunter is, in every sense, a meeting place of the old and new, of legacy winemaking and tireless innovation.
One of the most-visited wine regions in the country, not only does it enjoy a global reputation for its Shiraz, Semillon and Chardonnay, it is also seeing growing acclaim for the quality of its alternative varietals.
Regarding the classic varieties, few do them better than Mount Pleasant.
Brought to the world’s attention by the legendary winemaker Maurice O’Shea, their Rosehill and Elizabeth Vineyards are famed for their Shiraz and Semillon.
Indeed, their Rosehill Vineyard Shiraz 2017 and their B-Side CF17 Dry Red 2017 are superb reflections of their legacy in dry table wines.
Phil Ryan, who led Mount Pleasant’s winemaking efforts for years before founding his own label, also shows just how good the Hunter is for another beloved variety, with the Phil Ryan Chardonnay 2018 over-delivering with its plush flavours and style.
Yet in keeping with the region’s pioneering spirit, there is a new wave rising in Hunter Valley wine with the growing popularity of alternatives.
One of the champions of these Italian and Spanish grapes is Suzanne Little who, with her husband Ian, operates the Little Wine Company.
Having first planted Sangiovese in 1999, the Littles’ have since had great success with it, as well as with Tempranillo, Gewürztraminer and most recently, Vermentino.
Their proficiency with new wave styles is particularly evident in The Little Wine Company Barbera 2018 – vibrant, savoury and juicy, it’s a testament to just how good the Hunter is when winemaking smarts meets good soil.
It’s a region that truly spoils the wine lover with its diversity – whether you’re after the class of yesteryear or the cutting edge, the Hunter delivers.
And with its sustained emphasis on refinement and experimentation, we expect its reputation for world-class wines will extend for many decades to come.