By Danielle Kennedy @DKwinesup
Some stylish sippers enjoying the Next Gen wines at The Landing Bar & Kitchen in Newcastle. Image by Danielle Kennedy
The Hunter Valley’s vinous history is longer than any other wine region in Australia. Thanks to the region’s proximity to the landing of the first fleet and an astute foresighted few, vines were planted in the region almost 200 years ago. Generations of prominent and celebrated families have been making wine there since the late 1800s; iconic names such as Tyrrell, McGuigan and McWilliam.
And then there are the faces of the Hunter Valley Next Generation.
Nick Paterson, Mistletoe Wines at The Landing. Image by Danielle Kennedy
Half a dozen five-star James Halliday rated producers, all first generation winemakers, are taking the region’s wine to the next level while respecting the traditions of long established families, some of whom they trained under. Then once a year these lads take to the road, intent on sassing up the image of the Hunter Valley and showing us enthusiastic sippers why the Hunter is so much more than we used to believe.
David Hook, David Hook Wines. Image by Danielle Kennedy
Rhys Eather, Meerea Park. Image by Danielle Kennedy.
The Next Generation Hunter Valley crew consists of David Hook (David Hook wines), Andrew Thomas (Thomas Wines), Rhys Eather (Meerea Park), Nick Paterson (Mistletoe Wines), Mike de Iuliis (De Iuliis wines) and Andrew Margan (Margan wines). This is the third year these lads have taken their travelling wine bar up the east coast, previously kicking off in Melbourne and finishing in Brisbane. This time they’re moving in the opposite direction so if you’re in Sydney (on Friday 10 May) Canberra (Thurs 16 May) or Melbourne (Fri 17 May) you still have a chance to get along to their pop-up bars in your city. Details here.
Mike De Iuliis, De Iuliis Wines. Image by Danielle Kennedy
By all accounts Brisbane’s pop-up last Friday (May 3rd) was a colossal success. David Hook summed it up with “jeez they like a drink!”. Andrew Margan commented, “We’ve been to Brisbane for the last two years and it’s never been like that before. I’ve never seen so many people asking for semillon!” The following day they flew in to Newcastle for a beautiful sunny afternoon pouring wine at The Landing Bar and Restaurant on Newcastle’s foreshore.
Andrew Thomas, Thomas Wines. Image by Danielle Kennedy
A crowd of people sipped their way through 24 wines while chatting with the winemakers. The Next Generation lads enjoy a little healthy competition amongst them but are honest in their admiration for the others. Andrew Thomas commented, “Nick Paterson is, in my opinion, probably the best chardonnay producer in the Hunter Valley.” Rhys Eather praised Mike de Iuliis saying his wines “have seen the biggest improvement in recent years, particularly the reds. Since the 2007 vintage these wines have really been taken to another level.”
Andrew Margan, Margan Wines. Image by Danielle Kennedy
More sippers enjoy one more for the road at The Landing Bar & Kitchen, Newcastle. Image by Danielle Kennedy
Join the gents for one more for the road in Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne.
By Katrina Holden
Whilst well-known for its world class semillon, the Hunter Valley Next Gen also presents an opportunity to try some of the other varieties of wine coming out of the region, created by this stylish sip-making sextet.
Check out these and other wines at the remaining Caravan of Courage events in Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne – or seek them out from the producers themselves.
David Hook Pinot Grigio 2012
David Hook has a number of Italian grape varieties he produces and has become known for his pinot grigio. This 2012 is a worthy example of the style – with clean green fruit flavours of apples and pears. A crisp, juicy and refreshing pinot grigio with good depth, and generosity of flavour that lingers. Equally enjoyable to sip on its own or with food.
Mistletoe Reserve Chardonnay 2011
Made by 2012 Hunter Valley’s Winemaker of the Year, Nick Paterson (known as Dog), here’s a beautiful and sophisticated chardonnay full of flavour and character. Stonefruit aromas of nectarines and also roast hazelnuts. The use of whole bunch pressed fruit contributes to a rounded wine with a creamy texture, exceptional length and well balanced oak influence.
De Iuliis LDR Vineyard Shiraz 2011
Effortless drinking with this medium-bodied, smooth shiraz. Fleshy and plush red fruit flavours in the mouth of cherries and perfumed violets, complemented by more earthy, savoury spice elements. Seamless and soft, easy to sip this on its own with everything in harmony.
Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz 2011
Released this month alongside other signature Thomas wines such as the Kiss Shiraz 2011 (RRP: $60), this Sweetwater Shiraz has an appealing prominent perfumed edge of spice and blueberries mingled with bolder, richer, deeper nuances of dark fruits. A finely textured and balanced wine with silky tannins, a solid acid backbone, and lingering length of flavour.
Meerea Park Indie Shiraz Pinot 2010
Meerea Park is owned by brothers Rhys and Garth Eather. Winemaker Rhys has the nickname ‘softest hair in the industry’ – so you’ll have to get along to a Next Gen event to discover why. He loves a chat too so enjoy wines such as this classic blend while he tells you a tale. This blend of shiraz and pinot noir is actually a classic Hunter Valley blend, and honoured here in this inaugural Indie release with shiraz from the landmark Ben Ean vineyard. The shiraz provides earthy, black pepper spice and dark fruit flavours while the 20 per cent of pinot noir adds some dark sour cherry notes as well as a richness, elegance and vibrancy. Great length – definitely worth a try if you’ve not sipped this blend before.
Margan White Label Limited Release Barbera 2011
Launched in 1997, Margan Wines is run by Andrew Margan and his wife Lisa. They produce a range of exciting wine styles including several ‘Italians’ including this Barbera. This limited-volume wine has a nose of rustic character with herbs such as sage and dark berries. A ripe and rich wine with complexity, length and good acidity, making it a very food friendly wine, for which Italian wines are well loved.