About this WINE
Mount Pleasant Estate
The Mount Pleasant Winery sits in the McWilliams portfolio, one of Australia’s most renowned wine families and the family have enthusiastically embraced the concept of making single vineyard wines to demonstrate the diversity of which Australia is capable.
In 1880, English immigrant Charles King planted vines on rich, volcanic soil in the Parish of Pokolbin, at the southern end of the Hunter Valley. In 1921, legendary winemaker Maurice O’Shea purchased and extended the 16.3ha property and named it Mount Pleasant, after the peak that rises behind the winery.
The winery is today one of the most awarded in Australia having won an incredible 6 Championships, 154 trophies, 682 gold, 818 silver and 1731 bronze medals since the late 1960s. When the McWilliam family acquired ownership of Mount Pleasasnt in 1941, Maurice O’Shea was retained as Chief Winemaker and went on to make some of Australia’s most highly regarded wines. O’Shea’s groundbreaking work has been kept alive by revered winemakers Brian Walsh (1956-1978) and Phil Ryan (1978-current).
The fact that there have been just three Chief Winemakers at Mount Pleasant since 1921 has ensured consistency of wine style and quality. As was O’Shea’s tradition, Mount Pleasant winemakers continue to bottle age commercial quantities of wines until they are considered at their peak.
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.