Joe Czerwinski - 29/12/2017
About this WINE
Brokenwood Wines was established in 1970. Starting with a small vineyard located at Pokolbin in Hunter Valley, it has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia's most reputable wine labels. Today it produces 17 different wines from McLaren Vale, Bechworth King Valley, Padthaway and Cowra in addition to the Hunter Valley. A syndicate of 23 and run owns it by the extremely capable Ian Riggs. Recently the winemaking team has been strengthened by the hiring of Peter-James Charteris, who was responsible for the creation of Yattarna at Penfolds.
Brokenwood's Semillon was first produced in 1983, along with a wood-matured version. Both wines were made until 1989, when Iain Riggs took the decision - bravely to discontinue the wooded style. It is now widely recognised as one of the Hunter Valley's finest examples of unwooded Semillon.
The 3,000-hectare Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest viticultural area. Located inland from Newcastle in New South Wales, bordering Mudgee to the west, the region was built not on gold but coal in the late 18th century; the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association (HVVA) was founded in 1847. Depression followed until the red wine boom of the 1960s and 1970s, even if it was Murray Tyrrell’s Chardonnay wines that proved the most successful.
The region’s loamy vineyards are located at between 100 and 240 metres above sea level. The warm to hot sub-humid climate makes rot an issue. Sémillon (often at circa 11 percent ABV) and Shiraz are favoured. The finest Sémillon should have an almost limey, hay-like purity.
Recommended producers: Brokenwood, Tyrrell’s and Molly Morgan
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.