Region: Hilltops / Hunter Valley
Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions / appellations sets it apart from the Old World and gives it an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.
Fruit Source: Vineyards at Young in the Hilltops GI, and the Hunter Valley located in New South Wales were the fruit source for the 2008 vintage release.
Fermentation & Maturation: All parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily and then matured in used French and American oak barrels. After 12 months the components were blended to reach the desired style.
Winemaker’s comments: 2008 whilst being a challenging Hunter Valley (red) vintage, was one of the best in the Hilltops region for 10 years according to many locals. The amount of Hunter Valley Shiraz in the blend has been reduced as compared to previous vintages due to the above.
Tasting Note: Lifted red berry aromas with black pepper and spice encompassed by minimal oak. Medium-bodied, but packed with vibrant, ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins.
This is a wine that greatly over-delivers in all respects.
Cellaring: Short to medium term.
What the experts say:
Bargain of the week. “A terrific value red from the Eather brothers, made from Hilltops and Hunter grapes. It’s a lovely, fresh, bright, fruit-forward red with nicely ripened dark berries and spices to sniff. A lighter, soft, early-drinking style and very enjoyable. Now to five years.”
Huon Hooke – SMH Good Living – 21st April 2009
“Meerea Park is one of a lively group of family wineries in the Hunter Valley working hard to re-establish some of the great traditions of the region. Rhys and Garth Eather take fruit from a range of local growers and offers shiraz and semillon at different price points. Meerea Park ‘Alexander Munro’ and ‘Hell Hole’ are expensive, ageworthy and impressive single site wines. This is the Meerea Park entry level red: vibrant, juicy mulberry and raspberry flavours, smooth texture, medium-body and fine, gentle tannins. An attractive early-drinking style at a fair price.”
Rating: Bloody Good.
Peter Forrestal – www.quaff.com.au – 1st May 2009
“Impressive purple red colour – looks really fresh with meaty complexity across violets and purple berry fruit. Elegant and bright palate with good acidity and more meaty nuances, supple, medium weight and balanced. A drink now style.”
Nick Stock – Wine 100 – May 2009
“Meerea Park’s excursion into the Hilltops region has been highly successful, and this 2008 is excellent too. One of the bargains of the year.
The balance, flavour and presentation are top-drawer for a wine of this price. Juicy, spicy and fresh – it tastes of pepper steak spread with a mix of raspberry and blackberry jam. It has a lick of dry tannin and good flavour – all clean, sweet, berried fruit. Vibrant too. Finishes saucy and tasty. A clear ‘buy’.”
Rated : 92 Points.
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front
“A wine of power and finesse, reflecting cool-grown material. The palate is long and beautifully balanced, delivering rich dark fruits flavour. This is a bargain blend of Hunter and Hilltops material.” OUTSTANDING.
Winewise – August 2009
“For a cool, savoury Shiraz from the bargain basement, this is a very cleverly assembled wine with very few like-priced peers. It’s a spicy, peppery, gamey Shiraz with leathery complexity overlaying its berry/plum fruits. Oak is subtle, tannins are fine and balanced and it has impressive length and poise.”
Tyson Stelzer – Wine 100 – August 2009
“A blend of Hunter Valley/Hilltops which comes together very well, the Hilltops cooler-grown fruit adding elegance to a light- to medium-bodied palate that has persistent black fruits, licorice, leather notes. Gold medal Winewise ’09.”
James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion