Tim's Musings Summer 2023
One of things I most enjoy at Huntington Estate is making a diverse range of wines. Most regions can produce one or two particular styles but in Mudgee we are blessed with an all-rounder set of terroirs with each excelling according to the increasing capriciousness of seasons.
In hot dry years shiraz comes to the fore, while in the cooler and wetter years cabernet and chardonnay star alongside our pinot. Very few other vineyards can match our wide spectrum of styles that can accompany any stage in a dinner party, from beginning to end.
First, there is our fine bubbles, made specifically for my superhuman wife Nicky, who came from a champagne lifestyle and now happily lives a country family one after moving to Mudgee. You read it here first - we will make another next vintage - we know you miss it too!
At home our fridge(s) are overflowing with both lighter and fuller white wines courtesy of old semillon vines and newer chardonnay clones. These chilled white sisters have had to make some room recently for a precocious younger brother, the Nouveau red, best served cooler at lunch on a warm day under the shade of a big English elm tree.
Cabernet based wines were our flagship in the first decades of Huntington's existence last century, particularly those based around our famous grapes from blocks 3 and 9. As elegant and juicy as most from Bordeaux, those from the 70's and 80's still drink well today.
The unstoppable rise of our shiraz wines has mirrored the steady global march of Australian regional reds based on this variety. We produce fresher, pretty shiraz, fruity in their youth and light on the wallet. Our Reserve level wines are deep, complex and unique in style, supremely age worthy. These days our flagship is the Grand Reserve, a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet, only made in years when deemed worthy, but our Estate blend is consistent and brilliant.
A few years back I was enjoying a sticky date pudding and realised the one wine I was missing was a dessert wine, prompting me to leave some Semillon to ripen much longer, and sugar-up. It was an incredibly difficult wine to make, has won many trophies, but good lord, what was I thinking?
At the end of the dinner party the cheese is served for everyone but me – I have developed a dairy intolerance late in life – and out comes my old favourite, the Vintage Fortified. This wine is my unprofitable indulgence. Help me out here people, buy some tomorrow, put it away for another decade, or preferably two, and then drink! It is the most ageable and complex of all wines – together we can preserve its legacy. We've got a fantastic vertical fortified 6 pack in this newsletter, so you can try it for yourself.
This year we won five trophies at the Mudgee wine show, all for our reds, and we were given gold and silver awards for new and aged whites. Most pleasing (to me if no-one else) was another trophy for the Vintage Fortified. Woohoo.