Hunter Valley – vineyards and cellar doors

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Best reds in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales
Vineyard views, Arrowfield Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW
Vineyard views, Hunter Valley, New South Wales

 

Hunter Valley viticulture includes small, family-owned operations as well as those of large corporate bodies. Its total vineyard area in 2007 amounted to 4696ha of vines, making it (surprisingly) the smallest of Australia’s long-established winegrowing regions.

Soils in the Hunter vary from sandy alluvial flats to friable red duplex and black silty loams.

The Hunter Valley is acknowledged as the home of an uniquely Australian and internationally renowned wine style: bottle-aged Semillon. Well-cellared examples can last for many decades. In rare instances, some may have a lifespan of half a century or more.

Indeed, the Hunter is predominantly white wine country. Over 60 percent of its vineyard area is planted to white wine grapes. Chardonnay (1539ha) dominates the landscape. It is used almost exclusively for dry table wines.

Semillon and Verdelho plantings underscore the region’s long viticultural history. Recent white wine plantings include small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc.

Among the red wine grapes, Shiraz (1126ha) reigns supreme in quality and quantity. Recent Merlot additions have seen the popular varietal challenging Cabernet Sauvignon as the region’s second-string red.

The Semillons of Audrey Wilkinson, McWilliams Mount Pleasant, Tulloch, and Tyrrell’s are uniquely Hunter Valley in style and expression. Lakes Folly and Tyrrell’s Vat 47 provide the region’s most revered Chardonnays.

In years gone by, Lindemans Hunter River reds helped lay the foundations for the region’s reputation as a premium Shiraz producer. Today, the Hunter relies on the continuing successes of long-time producers McWilliams Mount Pleasant and Tyrrell’s and that of relative newcomers Brokenwood and Tower Estate.

Regions

  • Lower Hunter (NSW)
  • Hunter including Newcastle (NSW)
  • Upper Hunter Valley (NSW)
  • Hunter Valley (NSW)

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