2019 was a golden year for the Hunter's illustrious Mount Pleasant brand, but this year has begun devastatingly with the parent McWilliam's company going into voluntary administration.
Along with other parts of the 143-year-old McWilliam's family wine group, Mount Pleasant faces an uncertain future as KMPG administrators look at recapitalising the group or finding a buyer. It brings poignancy to my choice of the Mount Pleasant 2018 Full-Bodied Mountain D Shiraz as Newcastle Herald 2019 wine of the year, best red and best shiraz (out of 400 wines that I reviewed during 2019).
It caps off a remarkable year of awards for Mount Pleasant, including the 2018 Mountain D winning the State Governor's Trophy for the champion wine of the 2019 NSW Wine Awards and trophies for the best red and the best shiraz.
Here are my other varietal champions:
Semillon: Brokenwood 2013 ILR Reserve Semillon It has jasmine scents and elegant lemon front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows apple, sherbet, mineral and lime marmalade and toast and a gunmetal acid finish. $75 at brokenwood.com.au and the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, winery.
Cabernet Sauvignon:Moss Wood 2016 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon This exceptional, 14% alcohol cab sav has mulberry and violet scents. Intense blackberry flavour beguiles on the front palate and the middle palate has cassis, blueberry, spice, mint chocolate and vanillin oak. The finish melds berry fruit and savoury tannins. $128 at mosswood.com.au and fine wine shops.
Chardonnay: Robert Stein 2017 Mudgee Reserve Chardonnay It's cumquat-scented and has elegant nectarine front palate flavour. Lemon curd, melon, mineral and cashew oak show on the middle palate and slatey acid at the finish. $40 at robertstein.com.au and the Pipeclay Lane, Mudgee, winery.
Pinot Noir: Shaw and Smith 2017 Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir With 13.5% alcohol and ruby red hues, it has scents of violets and vibrant raspberry front-palate flavour. Spicy cherry, spearmint, cloves and vanillin oak show on the middle palate and the finish has savoury tannins. $49 on shawandsmith.com, at the 136 Jones Road, Balhannah, cellar door and fine wine stores.
Riesling: McGuigan 2013 The Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling A gold medallist in London at the2019 International Wine Challenge, it has ginger blossom scents and crisp grapefruit front-palate flavour. The middle palate has lime zest, sherbet, cumquat and gunmetal and the finish slatey acid. $50 at the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, cellar door.
Other Red Varieties: Tamburlaine 2018 Orange Reserve Malbec With 14.7% alcohol and cassis and lavender scents, the front palate displays vibrant cherry flavour, the middle palate bramble jelly, raspberry, spice and savoury oak and the finish smooth minty tannins. $64 at tamburlaine.com.au and the McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, winery.
Pinot Gris: Cockfighter's Ghost 2017 Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris Grassy scented, this zingy great-value white shows crisp pear front-palate flavour. The middle palate has white peach, apple peel and gunmetal and the finish flinty acid. $25 at cockfightersghost.com.au and the De Beyers Road, Pokolbin, cellar door.
Rosé: Allandale 2018 Hilltops Rosé A blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre, it is pale salmon pink and has 14% alcohol, violet scents and lifted blueberry front-palate flavour. The middle palate shows strawberries and cream, spice and mint and the finish steely acid. $25 at allandalewinery.com.au and the Lovedale Road, Lovedale, winery.
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