Tag Archives: Cellar Door

1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Happy New Year!

From all of us at Aussie Wine Guy, we hope that you are welcoming 2013 in style.  We had a bit of a break over the holiday season, enjoying the odd premium label as the days passed by.

Stay tuned for a number of new tasting notes, but we’ll start with this one.. behold a special label from the Hunter Valley’s Brokenwood wines.  This release, a cellar door only wine, was purchased a few years back (possibly in 2007) during one of our many journeys to the region.

Tasting Notes

The 1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz is a really fine wine.  Made from a blend of the best from Brokenwood’s Graveyard block (in the Hunter Valley) and from the best of the Rayner block (in McLaren Vale), the wine was bottled in 1997 and then held for over a decade at the vineyard – constituting a museum release.  Incidentally, the ‘HBA’ stands for the first initial of the surname of the three original partners of Brokenwood – James Halliday, John Beeston and Tony Albert .  The blending was inspired by some of the great regional blends of the early heydays in the region, particularly from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Our tasting began on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2012.  The wine was opened and the cork extracted carefully – the cork broke, but the remainder was extracted without corking the wine.  The wine was decanted into a Riedel decanter (as pictured) and then poured back and double decanted as there was a fair amount of very fine sediment – almost too small to be filtered.  You can see the sediment on the picture of the decanter – it is very, very fine.

The wine was left to breathe for several hours before being presented at the Christmas Eve dinner, where it was faithfully poured into Riedel vinum Shiraz glasses (why not?).  Brokenwood’s website lists the 1996 HBA Shiraz as a ‘good to outstanding aged style’ however, based on our experience the wine is brilliant at this age.  Provided the bottle has been carefully cellared (as this one had been) it should be drinking at its peak.

Brokenwood HBA Shiraz Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

The bouquet was simply outstanding, an array of delicate flavours resembling something of a well cared for Burgundy.  The extended hours breathing in the decanter really brought out the full complexity of the wine, the initial sips revealed something of a velvety texture; finely crafted and lush with an array of tastes from spices (slight cloves, etc.) to a silky oak flavour.  The wine finished with a long, but subtle aftertaste which resonated for quite a while between sips.

To say that this experience set the standard for our holiday break would be an understatement.  What struck me is that the wine has been so masterly crafted – the blend from the tighter, more complex nature of a McLaren Vale Shiraz coupled so perfectly with the softer ‘all-round’ nature of Hunter Valley Shiraz is simply inspiring! The extended bottle maturation obviously has something to do with the success of this wine – this is not something we’ve encountered regularly.

Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Stay tuned for more – new tasting notes coming soon.

[ Links ]

Brokenwood Vintage Chart    – http://www.brokenwood.com.au/wines/vintageChart/

Brokenwood’s Tasting Notes – http://www.brokenwood.com.au/wines/productRange/default.asp?emp=86

Further Reading about the HBA – http://www.theage.com.au/executive-style/top-drop/the-valley-of-the-kings-20110125-1a3jr.html

Tullock Wines – Hunter Valley

P2280053Our second destination in the Hunter was another veteran vineyard, located to the south of Tyrrell’s – Tullock wines.  Acquired a few years ago by Southcorp, the quality and style has really returned to the long-time Hunter estate with winemaker Jay Tullock having exceptional ability to source a great variety of fine grapes from many different regions.

An exceptional example?  The JYT Selection, a Hunter Valley Shiraz blended with 5% McLaren Vale Shiraz shows how Hunter winemakers can take complimentary styles and produce outstanding results.  Another popular blend is Adelaide Hills or Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc blended with Hunter Valley Semillon – a technique we’ve been applauding for over half a decade now, with stellar “SSB”s to show.

The cellar door is a welcoming location, with great views over the lower district and many of the vines.  We started, naturally, with Semillon and sampled a decent cross section.  It is worth noting, for fans of Tullock Shiraz, that the 2007 Hector Shiraz has been released!  This brilliant example of 100% Hunter Shiraz is not released every year – only when exceptional produce has developed.

White Wine

2010 Tullock JYT Semillon

Light pale colour, light body with a strong bouquet and taste of citrus/straw and a tangy aftertaste.

2010 Tullock Viognier

Light, pale straw colour, bouquet of apple (slight peach overtone) with a crisp finish and intense short aftertaste.

2010 Tullock Pinot Gris

An almost perfectly clear wine, medium bodied, ripe fruits with a surprising body (given colour), tapered finish and without that bland acidic taste we sometimes encounter with a Pinot Gris.  Nicely balanced.

2010 Tullock Late Picked Verdelho

Light straw colour, deep fruit flavour with a sweet bouquet.  A sort of “fruit salad” medley of tastes, hard to pick out any one particular flavour, although mango/apple and peach seem evident.  A nice lingering aftertaste.

Red Wine

2007 Tullock Pokolbin Dry Shiraz

Ruby red colour (purple hue), berries and a smoky bouquet give way to a peppery body and medium finish

2007 Tullock JYT Selection Shiraz

With the 5% McLaren Vale bended, this Hunter Shiraz is a pleasantly surprising wine.  A plum red colour with a mild bouquet (suggesting additional cellaring will provide fruitful results) a slightly chalky aftertaste but with a long finish and that little kick from the McLaren touch.

2007 Tullock Hector Shiraz

The wine everyone treks to Tullock for!  AWG first tasted the Hector a few years ago and was troubled when more could not be obtained.  A true limited release, the Hector is a beautiful example of Hunter Shiraz containing a nice purple/ruby hue, a smoky/sweet bouquet followed by a sublime combination of berries, currants and tannins.  Light oak with a long finish.  Another great vintage.