2013 ‘Hell Hole’ Shiraz

2013-Hell-Hole-Shiraz[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: The name Pokolbin as legend has it, is derived from the early Hungarian migrant settlers to the area. ‘Pokol’ directly translates to ‘Hell’, and ‘ben’ to ‘in’. An undeniable reference to the hot, dry and sometimes inhospitable summers that regularly top 45º C during Pokolbin summers.

Fruit source: Old-vine Shiraz from the 1960’s planted ’Leonard Estate’ vineyard owned by Mike Worthington was the fruit source for the 2013 vintage. The ‘Leonard Estate’ is situated at the western end of Palmers Lane in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: The hand picked fruit was fermented in two tonne open vats and then transferred into French oak hogsheads of which 45% were new.

Maturation: AAfter 20 months oak maturation, the wine was then bottled with minimum filtration.

Winemaker’s comments: With no red wines made from the 2012 Hunter Valley vintage, 2013 was eagerly awaited and although the yields were small, the quality was very good to excellent. Nearly on par with wines of the 2011 vintage and will also age very well.

Tasting note: Deep garnet with crimson tinges in colour; aromas of ready to pick blackberries and dark chocolate on the nose. The classy medium-bodied palate has perfect balance, poise and intensity completed by great persistence on the palate.

Cellaring estimate: Medium to long term. 15+ years.

Suggested food match: Beef based cuisine or aged hard cheeses to finish a meal.

What the experts say:

““If, like me, you’re a fan of traditional – dare I say “old fashioned” – Hunter Valley “burgundy”, you’ll bloody love this. Like some of the great old Hunter Shirazes of the past, this single vineyard wine has enormously wild, earthy, animal complexity: it tastes like ripe squashed blood plums rolled in red dusty soil and drizzled with the pan juices from a rib eye roast. Yum.”

Max Allen – The Australian – 6th April 2015

Old vine fruit fermented in open vats, then matured in French oak (45% new) for 20 months. Rhys Eather obviously recognised the potential of the grapes early on in the piece when allocating the amount of new oak; you can see it, but it’s tightly surrounded by the clasp of intense blackberry, earthy fruits; its tannins strengthen that clasp, but not brutally.

Rated 95. James Halliday – 2016 Australian Wine Companion

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