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 45º C.
Fruit source: As with the previous four 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: The fruit, including 30% with stems was fermented in open vats and then transferred into French oak hogsheads
Maturation: After 19 months oak maturation, the wine was then bottled with minimum filtration in September 2008.
Winemaker’s comments: 2007 in many respects was a near perfect Hunter Valley red vintage. Very low yields on the back of the very hot 2006 vintage were allowed problem free ripening with only minor storm activity towards harvest. 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.
Tasting note: Deep crimson in colour; aromas of blackberries, plums, licorice, earth and spice on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied but very flavoursome with a core of plum fruit. Ripe, silky tannins combine with the fruit for a very long finish.
Cellaring estimate: Medium to long term. 10 years.
Suggested food match: Medium rare scotch fillet.
What the experts say:
“Blackberries and raspberries, spice and a little sappiness with latent liquorice richness and quality vanilla oak.It’s rich and spicy but only just medium bodied, lithe rather than heavy with firm fine tannins and no shortage of length. Classic Hunter Shiraz from a top vintage.”
Gary Walsh – The Wine Front – September 2009
“Such was the supreme ripeness of 2007 that 20-25% stalks were included in the ferment of the 2007 Meerea Park Hell Hole Shiraz. It was matured in larger French oak format, hogsheads and puncheons, for 20-21 months, 30-40% new. It gives a deep garnet color leading to spicy, peppery, warm blackberry and blueberry aromas with some anise, underbrush, cardamom and a noticeable waft of cedar. Violets come through after a few minutes. Clean, pure, medium bodied, it is very spicy on the palate with finely grained tannins of a medium level. Elegant. Long finish. Drink 2012 to 2018. “
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW – The Wine Advocate # 188 – April 2010
“Meerea Park ‘Hell Hole’ Hunter Valley Shiraz 2007: As with its brother (Terracotta) it has the hunter earthy nose and immediately releases savoury flavours those flavours go deep and last long the whole effect in the mouth is a wonderful sensation. I found it more forward (slightly) then Terracotta therefore more enjoyable to drink now and worth a point more as well 94 also worth $50.”
Tony Keys – Key Report of Wine #27 – 30th April 2010
“Good hue; the fruit aromas and flavours are led by blackberry, with plum and a touch of spice in support; the medium-bodied palate has impeccable balance, and all the wine needs is a few more years to soften and open up.”
James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion