Region: Hunter Valley
Background: This wine is named after three pioneer women of the Hunter Valley, who established the initial homestead on ‘Meerea’ in the 1830’s. The three women were referred to, by the family as the ‘Aunts’. The establishment of the homestead coincided with the planting of the first Shiraz in the Hunter Valley.
Fruit Source: This single vineyard wine is made from fruit off the low yielding, old-vine Howard family vineyard in Pokolbin, the blocks used for ‘The Aunts’ were planted in 1968.
Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then pressed out into American oak (French coopered) and matured for 20 months. The wine was then bottled in December 2007 with minimum filtration under screwcap. Over time a harmless crust may appear in the bottle.
Winemakers Comments: 2006 was an extremely hot vintage with 47ºC recorded on New Years Day. Despite the heat, the sugar and then in turn alcohol level did not rise sharply thanks to one of the great features of the Howard vineyard in that phenological ripeness is achieved at relatively low baume levels.
The nose has red fruits, plum, mulberry and is accompanied by subtle vanillin oak aromas. The red fruits follow through onto the medium-bodied palate where the tannins are nicely matched to the fruit. The softness suggests that 2006 will be a vintage that is able to be consumed much earlier than the last couple of vintages but should also reward medium term cellaring.
Cellaring: Medium term.
Suggested food match: Lamb and Veal meat dishes.
What the experts say:
“Named after two spinsters from way back, there’s punchy overt oak sitting out from the fruit here, dark spiced fruit aroma and concentrated earthy presence. Dressed to impress, in the regional style, tannins are fine and savoury; finishes with dried berry and chocolate flavours”.
Nick Stock – 2009 Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide