Region: Hunter Valley
Background: Alexander Munro is winemaker Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. There was no 2000 vintage of this wine released as the vineyard was hit by a freak hailstorm which led to the downgrading of the fruit.
Fruit Source: Situated in the heart of Pokolbin, the “Tallawanta” vineyard is the source for the wine. The vines have an aveage age of 40 years and dry land grown, thus ensuring low yields and high quality. 1998 vintage yielded around three quarters of a tonne per acre.
Winemaking: Hand picked fruit was crushed into open vats and inocluated with selected yeast which allowed a longer fermentation, at higher temperatures. The wine was racked and returned 3 times daily via a splash tray to increase oxygen pick up. After 7 days 40% of the wine was transferred to new French Nevers and American oak to complete fermentation. The balance of the wine was then pressed out when fermentation was completed into older French oak. The wine was largely egg fined prior to bottling.
Winemakers notes: A difficult vintage in the Hunter, where the “terroir” of the individual vineyard sites had a large effect on final fruit quality. Those sites that coped with the heavy rains and drained produced the best fruit.
The colour is still holding at crimson, showing no real signs of fading. Leather and spice dominate the nose on this mature Hunter Shiraz. The palate is medium bodied still with plenty of fine dusty tannins. The oak is now well integrated with the fruit making a lovely old Hunter Shiraz much in the “Hunter Burgundy” style.
Cellaring estimate: This wine has all the characteristics that are required for further long term cellaring.
Suggested food match: Red meat dishes and aged cheeses.
Decanting prior to serving is highly recommended.
Gold Medal 1998 Sydney Wine Show
What the experts say:
“Eather who is off to France’s Rhone Valley in September to work with the renowned Chapoutier family, has done a masterly job with his Shiraz”.
Jeff Collerson, Daily Telegraph 27/6/98
“It is a fine Hunter Shiraz, dense purple in colour with a nocse that tells of mocha coffee beans and peppermint”.
John Lewis, Newcastle Herald 21/10/98
“Pick of the New-Age Wines …… Meerea Park Alexander Munro Chardonnay, Smeillon 1998 and Shiraz 1997.”
Huon Hooke, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Living 19/1/99.
“an excellent palate …… Would appear to have outstanding potential”.
90/100 James Halliday, 2000 Wine Companion.