My dad dragged out a bottle of ‘86 Grange for Christmas lunch. It was great, always is.
Between arguments over Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson (my Dad won, it was his Grange after all), we got to talking about this unique wine which over the past decade has evolved to be one of Australia’s biggest commodi ed luxury items. Miraculously while production has increased dramatically, quality and consistency has also improved thanks to the ability of the winemaking team to source fruit from many vineyards across many regions.
At the same Christmas lunch we also had a magnum of my own Single Estate grown, produced and bottled Reserve ‘99 Shiraz. This wine was not “perfect” but it was full of character, a true expression of place, and extremely enjoyable - packed with vibrant fruits, earthiness and complexity. Yes, I am biased, but my Dad thought so too. So there.
Australia’s most respected wine writer and critic, Huon Hooke, recently raised the issue of Single Estate vs Regionally Blended in an article where
a winemaker for a multi-national argued for the blends sourced from multiple regions selling for well above $50 per bottle. Blending was essential, he said, to make the ‘best wine we can’.
All of which begs the question ‘what defines wine quality?’. Do the aesthetics of regional, and even sub-regional, variation count for anything in this globalised world?
Robert Paul, former Mudgee winemaker and great intellect, fteen years ago hoaxed our local newspaper into running a front page story that he was o to the Ord River to grow and make a Grange-style wine in temperature-controlled hydroponic sheds. It proved quite prophetic.
I think there is authenticity and value in knowing and nurturing my own vines year after year, and using the grapes my team and I work hard to grow ourselves to make my own wine. A genuine connection and commitment to nature, speci c place and people lives in every bottle. I also enjoy the di erent expressions of the variety and terroir across the vintages of Single Estate Wines.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the ’86 Grange and I will happily drink it again given the good fortune. But for me, the spotlight of ‘Estate Grown, Produced and Bottled’ is a more important starting point for judging a wine’s aesthetic.
In a word, wet. Another word, bloody. Bloody wet sums it up nicely actually.The vines are as happy as pigs in muck, the Vineyard team not so much...With over 50 times more winter rain than last year so far, and more days of rain than not, pruning was an absolute nightmare to finish. There is [...]
Happy vines make happy wine. And happy wines make a happy winemaker.So it was with the 2016 Vintage just finished.In one of my recent Ravings I may have given the wrong impression that I wasn’t happy when I moaned about all of the hurdles in front of us poor vignerons; from droughts to floods, frosts to heatwaves. [...]
Vignerons do not have a natural inclination towards optimism, and I’ll tell you why.It starts in winter each when pruners brave freezing cold and bitter winds to prune the dormant vines. It takes many months and is always a race to beat Spring’s wake-up call for the sleeping vineThen comes budburst, when the vine starts [...]
You would all be well aware by now that Huntington Estate does not follow fashions nor does it chase fads. For instance we warned against Justin Bieber then said the same about One Direction, we said it would end in tears. I said the same about The Beatles. Haha, told you so. It all started back [...]
Alcohol abuse is a scourge. It destroys lives and comes at a huge economic and social cost. Taxation is a good way to discourage abuse, just like with cigarettes right? Well not with the current system.While I’m sure there are a couple of billionaires rotting their livers with three bottles of Grange a day, and [...]
Dear Aunt Wine Agony,I have a particular grievance that may be ruining my life. It prevents me from enjoying dinner parties and I am even afraid to invite friends around for drinks anymore. I am a social outcast, desolated by blandness.In short, the wines I see lately in bottle shops are overpriced, overhyped and just plain boring. The Wine World seems [...]
Tannin is a strange beast, it is responsible not just for astringency and grip but also helps a red wine feel smooth and even sweet. The fact that one element can be responsible for both bitterness and silkiness is one of the most beguiling aspects of making wine.Mudgee – and Huntington Estate in particular – has some of the best, most [...]
Enough already of my ravings, it's time instead to tell you all about what we’re doing at Huntington Estate. I promise I’ll get good and riled up in the next newsletter but I have so much good stuff to tell you now.Winter pruning is finished. We’re largely doing it in house this year and it’s [...]
I want to “talk” about wine bottles. Thrilling I know. Why? They are no more or less than a means to get wine to you, and for you to store it. Well exactly. Confused? Bear with me for just a minute longer.A recent conversation with a wine distributor triggered this column; the gentleman in question [...]