Region: Hunter Valley
Background: This wine is named after three of the original pioneer women of the Hunter Valley, who established the initial homestead on “Meerea” in the 1830’s. The three women were referred to by the family as the “Aunts”. The establishment of the homestead coincided with the planting of the first Shiraz in the Hunter Valley. Since the first release in 1995, this label has amassed 6 Gold, 16 Silver and 31 Bronze medals as well as TOP 40 NSW Wines placings in 1999 & 2001.
Fruit source: This single vineyard wine is made from fruit off the low yielding, old-vine Howard family vineyard in Pokolbin, planted in 1968.
Fermentation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then pressed into oak.
Maturation: After 19 months in French Coopered, American oak, the wine was then bottled in December 2005 with minimum filtration. Over time a harmless crust may appear in the bottle.
Winemakers comments: In 2004 the old Howard vines were carrying similar crops to 2003 which gave us nicely ripened and concentrated fruit to work with. Unfortunately for the 2004 vintage reds, they are wedged in between the great 2003 and 2005 vintages and will go largely unnoticed.
Tasting note: A medium-bodied Hunter Shiraz with lovely red berry fruits on both the nose and palate. The fine tannins have settled even more since release resulting in a velvety long finish.
Cellaring: Medium term.
Suggested food match: All red meat dishes.
What the experts say:
“This will be released in May 2006. This bottle was tasted over three days and showed no signs of tiring. The Aunts always has this quite distinctive smell from the French coopered American oak.
Aromas of blackberry/cherry, pepper, smoky bacon and toasted coconut. On the palate a medium bodied wine with flavours of cherry/mulberry/raspberry, dried herbs and smoky oak. Fresh acidity and dry slightly gritty tannins. I suspect the tannins will settle into the wine better with a few years in bottle. This vintage is very much a classic Hunter shiraz but with the application of the modern Meerea Park style.”
Rated: 91+ points
Gary Walsh – www.winorama.com.au
“Real red wine, guts intact. Musky, smoky, earthy, and minerally with a sweet coffee-vanillin bitterness and lots of punchy, fruity, plummy tannin. Tannin structure probably lacks a little finesse, which is why I think it will drink best young – though it will hold for a long time if you want it to – but you wll find more fruit and more complexity here than you’dnormally expect for the money.” Drink: 2007-2013.
Rated: 91 points
Campbell Mattinson – www.winefront.com.au 9th June 2006
“A nicely constructed medium-bodied wine, with neat red fruits and fine tannins”.
James Halliday – 2008 Wine Companion