The Best Vineyards in the Hunter Valley
To say I am partial to Australian wine is an understatement. In fact, it is a complete lie. I am 100% biased towards the Aussie grape. Since packing up my Australian life over two years ago and moving to the UK, I find myself scouring the aisles of supermarkets looking for the earthy taste of my homeland’s sweet nectar.
Hailing from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, it's only natural that I know my way around a bottle of Shiraz or Chardonnay (two of the biggest varieties produced in Hunter). On a recent trip home, I took some time to wander through the numerous vineyards, taste some wonderful bottles and enjoy the summer sun. Below are my top five favourites, which make any visit to the Hunter Valley a must:
A family owned vineyard, Tyrrell’s has been producing wine for over 150 years. It is well known for its use of old oak vats, which provide the bursting flavours of its Shiraz and crisp taste of its Semillon. If you visit Tyrrell’s my recommendation is the award-winning 2014 Hunter Valley Shiraz.
Located in the exquisite area of Lovedale, Gartelmann Wines is a newcomer to the wine-making business. Founded in 1996, this vineyard has proved its muscle in the thriving Hunter Valley. Despite being a small cellar door, it provides an array of whites and reds and is well known for its Semillon and Shiraz. Sit back with a glass of its 2017 Benjamin Semillon (a crisp backbone with hints of lemon and lime) and take in the spectacular views across the land here. For more information, check out the Gartelmann website or chat to a Flight Centre Aussie Travel Expert.
Constable Estate Vineyard
Out of all the cellar doors I have had the privilege of visiting, this would have to be one of my favourites. Located in Pokolbin, the Constable Estate Vineyard includes Shiraz, Cabernet, Semillon and Verdelho, planted across 17 acres. It has a reputation for producing some of the most dramatic and bold Shiraz and Semillon in the region.
Take the time to wander through its stunning gardens and surrounds, taking in some of most exquisite natural sites in the Hunter Valley. When visiting this vineyard I would highly recommend the Matilda Rosé. This is made from its Shiraz grape and has nicely blended flavours of strawberry and Turkish delight. I would also recommend the homemade pastes and chutneys.
As the name would suggest, I fell in love here. Every time I head back to the Hunter Valley this is always one of my first stops. Its cellar door is unlike others, where you are able to listen to the interesting history of the vineyard and the family owned business whilst tasting some simple and elegant varietals. It is evident that the wine makers here take incredible care when producing their bottles. My selections at this vineyard include the 2016 Barrel Fermented Rose, made from Hunter Valley Shiraz grapes. The vibrant colour of this rosé is matched by the unique taste (a wine that is initially sweet finishes dry).
For something a little different try the 2016 Hunter Shiraz, which is made solely from the grapes of the Mistletoe Home Vineyard. With a deep earthiness, lined with a spicy fruit flavour, this is a must buy.
Tempus Two Wines
A trip to the Hunter Valley vineyards would not be complete without stopping in at Tempus Two. Located in Pokolbin, Tempus Two was founded by the McGuigan family, making their history and knowledge of wine second to none. Tempus Two has a number of different collections, each embodying their own wine-making process. Sticking to my favourites, I recommend the Shiraz and Semillon from the Copper Series. The Shiraz has a strong but smooth fruity taste, whilst the Semillon is well balanced with a hint of citrus.
And, whilst not explicitly originating from the Hunter Valley, I also recommend the Copper Series Chardonnay.
Sip wines in the Hunter Valley on one of our tailor-made holidays to New South Wales.