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 20 months oak maturation, the wine was then bottled with minimum filtration in September 2010.
Winemaker’s comments: The early ripening ‘Howard Vineyard’ missed the major rains of 2009 and once again delivered high quality Shiraz fruit for the ‘Hell Hole’ label.
Tasting note: Bright crimson in colour with aromas of plum, licorice and spice on the nose. The medium-bodied palate has a good depth of flavour of red and dark berries, supported by moderate French oak. The tannins are fine and rounded resulting in a long seamless finish.
Cellaring estimate: Medium to long term. 15 years.
Suggested food match: Red meat dominant recipies.
What the experts say:
“Crimson-purple; the bouquet has plum and blackberry fruit, the palate following suit with dark berry fruit, and a hint of regional earth, and firm, although ripe, tannins.”
James Halliday – 2012 Wine Companion