Region: Hunter Valley
Background: This wine is named after three 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.
Fruit source: This single vineyard wine is made from fruit off the low yielding, old-vine Howard family vineyard in Pokolbin, the blocks used for ‘The Aunts’ were planted in 1968.
Fermentation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then transferred into 80% French and 20% American Hogsheads. 35% of the oak was new.
Maturation: After 20 months, with regular racking, the wine was bottled in January 2011 under screwcap.
Winemaker’s comments:The 2007 vintage provided excellent ripening conditions for the Shiraz grape. Warm to hot and more importantly dry weather throughout January and February allowed the fruit to gain maximum flavour ripeness. A great feature of the Howard vineyard is that phenological ripeness is achieved at relatively low baume. Even in the dry conditions of 2007, the old vine fruit was fully ripe at 13.5 baume.
Tasting note: The nose shows plum, mulberry and dark fruits which are accompanied by subtle vanilla oak aromas. The medium bodied palate is packed with dark fruit and chocolate and shows considerable length of flavour. The tannins are plush and fully ripe and in great balance with the acid and fruit. An excellent ‘The Aunts’ Shiraz.
Cellaring: Medium to long term.
Suggested food match: Lamb and Veal meat dishes.
What the experts say:
“Strong and bright colour; has distinct regional earthy overtones to the black fruits on the bouquet, but the sheer strength of the fruit on the palate, and in particular its bright acidity, swamps the regional notes away at this stage of its development; they will return later.”
James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion