THE CCL Hunter Valley Wine Show is usually held in August, but COVID-19 put it off until it came back last week with extraordinary performances by the De Iuliis, First Creek and Silkman brands.
With the reigning chief judge Sarah Crowe stranded in Victoria by the lockdown, leading Hunter-based winemaker and current Sydney Wine Show chair of judges PJ Charteris stepped into the Hunter chair role and declared the show a great showcase of wines of character, definition and purity.
Although entries were down the judging had provided a "fantastic" medal strike rate, he said.
Silkman Wines, the eight-year-old boutique venture of Shaun and Liz Silkman, had nine gold medal wines of which two won trophies.
The Silkman 2017 Silk Chardonnay, which won the Murray Tyrrell Trophy for best chardonnay and the Henry John Lindeman Trophy for best two-year-old and older chardonnay, can be bought for $40 at the Hunter Valley Wine House, McDonald's Road, Pokolbin.
In their day jobs the husband-and-wife team are respectively chief of production and bottling and chief winemaker at the First Creek winery headed by Shaun's father Greg Silkman.
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First Creek wines won 10 gold medals of which five went to the First Creek 2014 Single Vineyard Black Cluster Semillon, which is available at $55 a bottle at the First Creek winery, in McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, and on firstcreekwines.com.au. The sixth trophy for the best any vintage rose went to the First Creek 2021 FCR Merlot Rose.
The 2014 Black Cluster took the Petrie-Drinan Trophy for best white wine of the show, the Maurice O'Shea Trophy for best semillon, the Len Evans Trophy for best named vineyard wine, the Maurice O'Shea Trophy for best semillon and the Tyrrell Family Trophy for best single vineyard white wine.
The prized 142-hectare Black Cluster shiraz and semillon vineyard in Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin, was planted under the consultancy of Brian McGuigan in 1968 for the Hermitage Estate company and in 2020 was bought by Bill and Vicki Widin's Leogate Estate.
Australian Vintage's Tempus Two arm won the other white variety trophy with its $30 Tempus Two 2021 Copper Vermentino, which can be bought at tempustwo.com.au and at the cellar door at Roche Estate in Broke Road, Pokolbin.
With six trophies, the De Iuliis family wine company matched First Creek's sterling performance with the De Iuliis 2019 Limited Release Shiraz claiming the Doug Seabrook Trophy for best red wine of the show, the Hector Tulloch Trophy for best shiraz and the Elliott Family Trophy for best two-year-old shiraz.
The 2019 Limited Release Shiraz won't be released for 12 months but happily available now at $40 at the Broke Road, Pokolbin, cellar door and dewine.com.au is the double-trophy De Iuliis 2019 LDR Vineyard Shiraz-Touriga Nacional.
The blend of shiraz and the Portuguese-origin touriga nacional grape variety won the best other red varieties trophy and the Drayton Family Trophy for best single vineyard red wine.
Also online and at cellar door is the $25 De Iuliis 2021 Semillon, a gold winner in the 2021 semillon class.
In only the second year it has entered the Hunter Wine Show, the Hermitage Road, Pokolbin, Keith Tulloch winery took the George Wyndham Trophy for the best current-vintage and one-year-old chardonnay trophy with the Keith Tulloch 2021 Estate Chardonnay. It sells for $35 at keithtullochwine.com.au and cellar door.
The Keith Tulloch 2017 Field of Mars B3 Semillon, which isn't currently available, won a gold medal in the 2019 and older semillon class.
The brand had further success when vineyard manager Brent Hutton won the Advanced Viticulture Scholarship Award.
Tyrrell's claimed trophies and golds with its Tyrrell's 2006 Vat 1 Semillon and currently available $60 Tyrrell's 2018 Old Hillside Shiraz.
The Old Hillside won the James Busby Trophy for best mature three-year-old and older shiraz, a 2018 and older class in which the $45 Tyrrell's 2018 Stevens Shiraz won gold. Both wines are at the Broke Road, Pokolbin, winery, tyrrells.com.au and fine wine shops.
The 2006 Vat 1, which exists only in archive stocks, won the Graham Gregory Trophy for the best museum white and gold medals the any variety dry white class were given to the Tyrrell's 2011 Stevens Semillon gold and the Tyrrell's 2011 Johnno's Semillon. Both wines are unavailable as is the Tyrrell's 2013 Vat 9 Shiraz a gold medal winner in the any variety dry red class.
The Ridgeview 2018 Tipples Gold Late-Harvest Viognier took the Doug Galbraith Trophy for best off-dry or sweet wine. The 500ml bottle sells for $30 at ridgeview.com.au and the Sweetwater Road, Pokolbin, cellar door of owners Darren Scott and wife Tracey.
Aaron Mercer whose eponymous wine operation was only established 18 months ago, claimed early show success when his $30 Mercer Wines 2021 Shiraz Nouveau won the Alexander Munro Trophy or best current vintage and one year old shiraz. Buy it on mercerwines.com.au.
A SUBLIME SEMILLON
THIS sublime five-trophy First Creek 2014 Single Vineyard Black Cluster Semillon shines brassy gold in the glass and has scents of pear and croissants. The front palate beguiles with ripe golden peach flavour, the middle palate shows green apple, lemon curd and honey and toast and slatey acid refreshes at the finish.
DRINK WITH: sardines with wasabi mayonnaise.
AGEING: 12 years.
RATING: 6 stars (out of 6)
WITH two trophies to its credit, the De Iuliis 2019 LDR Vineyard Shiraz-Touriga Nacional has 14% alcohol, glows deep garnet and entices with berry pastille aromas. Vibrant cassis flavour features on the front palate, plum, bramble jelly, spice, spearmint and savoury oak integrate on the middle palate and dusty tannins play at the finish.
DRINK WITH: osso bucco.
AGEING: 10 years.
RATING: 5 stars
A WINE of fresh, pristine characters and great balance, the Keith Tulloch 2021 Estate Chardonnay has green-tinted straw hues, tropical fruit salad scents and elegant yellow nectarine front-palate flavour. Fig, melon, marzipan and vanillin oak meld on the middle palate and flinty acid shows at the finish.
DRINK WITH: grilled snapper and preserved lemon dressing.
AGEING: 12 years.
RATING: 5.5 stars
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