Region: Hunter Valley
Background: The name Pokolbin as legend has it, is derived from the early Hungarian migrant settlers to the area and means ’hot as hell’ or ’hell hole’, referring to the hot, dry and sometimes inhospitable summers that regularly top 45ºC.
Fruit Source: As with the previous three vintages, this is made from fruit harvested off a north facing block on the low yielding, 40 year-old Howard family’s “Somerset” vineyard in Pokolbin.
Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then transferred into French oak hogsheads and matured for 18 months, then bottled with minimum filtration in November 2007.
Winemakers Comments: 2006 was a very hot Hunter Valley vintage with 47ºC recorded on New Years Day. What we love about the old Howard vines is that despite this heat and ongoing drought, they gave us perfectly ripe fruit at a very low baume by current standards.
Deep crimson in colour; aromas of blackberries, plums, earth and spice on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied but very flavoursome with a core of plum fruit. The silky tannins combine with the fruit for a very long finish with near perfect balance.
Cellaring: Medium to long term. 10 years.
What the experts say:
“I liked this wine so much that I felt like a better person the moment I started drinking it. It’s perfumed and musky and outrageously plummy, its earthy, spicy foundations evident, but discreet. A fine flourish of scented flavour bursts through the finish; as do superfine tannins. Wow. Classic Hunter, in the best possible way. Drink 2012—2020.
Campbell Mattinson—The Big Red Wine Book—May 2008
“Two tastings of this now, one in February and one a couple of days ago, and both times I’ve scribbled in a 94-95 point range. The first tasting was amongst its siblings (Alexander Munro and Aunts) and the second amongst its peers (Graveyard and KISS).
It’s aromatic and fresh with berries, plum, spice, a bit of earthiness and some liquorice richness coming through with a bit of airing – quite Rhôney even. Again the theme is replayed on the palate – medium bodied, bright and very lively with refreshing acidity, fine lightly grippy tannins and a real sense of vigour throughout. It has flavours of plum, spice and earth with a deft application of tasteful malty oak and a very long dry finish. Serious and stylish but really needing a bit of cellar time to show its best.”
Gary Walsh – Winorama – 26th May 2008
“This is a poised, taut Hunter shiraz, which is ready to pounce, but demands a long time in the cellar to really come out of itself. When it does, its elegant black fruits, spice and fine , minerally tannins will confirm it as one of the greats in the Meerea Park cellar”.
Tyson Stelzer – Wine Business Monthly 100 – August 2008
“This top-flight bottling delivers ripe dark berries and plum fruits, some lighter fragrant notes too; attractive and clean. Plenty of dark earthy complexity and oak spice in the mouth, medium-weight; dry dusty tannins dig in through the finish, dropping a wake of savoury liquorice complexity and dark minerals”.
Nick Stock – 2009 Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide
“A beautifully made shiraz which is fragrant and spicy, yet has just enough of the classic regional tilled earth character to beguile the taster. The flavours are rich and long on a firm but balanced palate thats begs for time.”
Winewise – Australia’s Great Shiraz Wines – April 2009
“Deep, but bright colour; voluminous shiraz fruit aromas and flavours are supported by positive tannins; long range proposition and will reward.”
James Halliday – 2010 Australian Wine Companion