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 45º C.
Fruit Source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a north facing block on the low yielding. 38 year old Howard family’s “Somerset” vineyard in Pokolbin.
Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then pressed into French oak hogsheads and matured for 2 years. The wine was then bottled mid 2006 with minimum filtration. Because of this, over time a harmless crust may appear in the bottle.
Winemakers Comments: 2004 was a typical Hunter vintage in that it has produced medium bodied wines with red berry fruit characteristics. It was this style that led early Hunter winemakers to adopt the “Burgundy” moniker for their wines. Modern viticultural practices and winemaking has eradicated the faults that plagued many early wines leaving the fruit to do the talking.
Bright crimson in colour. Sweet mulberry and raspberry dominates the nose. The spicy French oak has integrated well and not obvious. The palate is lush, silky and long, with fine tannins. Modern Hunter.
Cellaring: Medium to long term. 10+ years.
Selected for QANTAS 1st Class International service in 2007.
What the experts say:
“Aromas of blackberry, spice, jersey caramel, licorice and smokey bacon. Good fruit and clever oak treatment here. On the palate this is medium to full bodied with flavours of blackberry, mulberry, dried herbs, earth and savoury bacony oak. I like the tannins – they are grainy and grippy but sit comfortably within the wine. Dry savoury finish that encourages the next mouthful. A very classy Rhone meets Hunter style – a Rhunter if you like – and it drinks beautifully right now”.
Gary Walsh – www.winorama.com.au – July 2006
“There is some reductive notes upon opening but these float off with time in the glass to reveal deep-set, muscular blackcurrant, black cherry and satsuma plum fruit with raspberry lift…ohhh it’s spicy too … exotically so with star anise and five spice, clove oil, licorice, mahogony, tar, dubbin and ‘Old Jamacian’ chocolate … it’s a pretty gutsy nose … brooding, smoky and deep. In the mouth the wine is medium to full-bodied and the concentrated blackcurrant, mulberry and dark plum fruit carries a light floral flick before it cuts a spicy, tarry swathe across the palate…..the tannins are long, ripe and fine in grain, the acidity bright and the finish lingers with a spicy, smoky exit….terrific stuff and a distinctly modern Hunter shiraz that is going places fast”.
Dave Brookes – www.vinosense.com.au – July 2006
“The Meerea Park boys are really turning out some rippers. This is as good as the excellent 2003, and may even age out better. The tannins are assertive and extractive but the fruit’s up to the fight, with gorgeously earthen, licoricey, cherried, cedary ripeness roaming through delicious flavours of ham hock and spice. It looks very raw and young, as it should do, and should look great in ten years”. Drink: 2007-2019.
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – 4th August 2006
“A spicy, oak-driven red made by Rhys Eather, with a nutmeg nose, smoke and dried bay leaf. A bigger style Hunter shiraz. Nice depth of flavour and richness, fleshy and balanced, and still building regional character. 92 Points.
AGT Wine Magazine – Top 100 New Releases – Feb/Mar 2007.
“Medium red – purple; an elegant, medium- bodied wine; good texture and structure; plum, cherry and blackberry fruit, with fine tannins. Has soaked up the French oak in which it spent 2 years; 150 dozen made”.
James Halliday – 2008 Wine Companion