Region: Hunter Valley
Background: Terracotta wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration.
Fruit source: The Howard family’s ‘Somerset’ old-vine shiraz vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin.
Fermentation: 3% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 30% whole bunches were also included.
Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into a combination of 70% 1 year-old and 30% new French oak Hogsheads and matured for 20 months.
Winemaker’s comments: In 2010 the vineyards we used fared much better with the seasonal rains than in 2009, it was simply a matter of timing when each block was at peak ripeness for the particular wine style.
Tasting note: A vibrant crimson in colour; the nose is lifted by the small Viognier addition and compliments the dark berry fruit, there are also hints of spice and dark chocolate. The palate is a combination of blueberry and cherry and a solid medium-bodied depth of flavour. Tannins are smooth and supple giving the wine a silky long finish.
Cellaring estimate: Medium term.
Suggested food match: Most red meat based cuisine.