Region: Hunter Valley
Background: The name Pokolbin as legend has it, is derived from the early Hungarian migrant settlers to the area and means ‘hot as hell’ or ‘hell hole’, referring to the hot, dry and sometimes inhospitable summers that regularly top 45º C.
2006 is the inaugural release of this wine.
Fruit Source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a Semillon block on the low yielding, 38 year old Howard family’s “Somerset” vineyard in Pokolbin.
Fermentation & Maturation: Handpicked fruit was fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled under screwcap in June 2006.
Winemakers Comments: 2006 is emerging to be a great Semillon vintage for Meerea Park. The very hot summer caused an early harvest which took place in January when fruit was perfectly ripe at 10 baume. The resulting wine shows the usual lemon/citrus/lime on the nose but has a slight floral lift. The citrus carries over to the palate which is fresh and clean underpinned with lovely soft acidity making it approachable now. Cellar maturation will also be of a benefit to those that adore aged Semillons.
Cellaring: Medium to long term. 10+ years.
What the experts say
“Aromas of lemon/lime, lightly floral with hint of sweet herbs. Minimal sulphur. On the palate lemon, fresh sour pineapple and fennel flavours. Beautiful soft acidity – acidity that cleans and freshens the palate but does not make your face look like you were weaned on dill pickles. Long clean finish. You can drink it young or old. I’d wait a few more years myself”.
Gary Walsh – www.winorama.com.au – July 2006
“Picture perfect. Squeezed lemons made more attractive by hints of tropical fruit, the nose fruity and the palate racy. There’s a touch more generousity here than you might expect from a young, quality, Hunter Valley semillon, though the longer it was opened the leaner and more reserved it seemed. Delicious green-tinged water colour. A medium term wine I suspect, but a delicious one”. Drink: 2006-2011.
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – 4th August 2006
“Semillon; the ultimate tease. You can see and taste the quality, yet you know that it will be infinitely better in 5-10 years time. It is a wine for the purist and the patient, and therein lies the great difficulty with marketing the grape. Drinking this now is a waste of time. And money. You need to hide it way in a dark place and come back in five years. Even then it might not be ready, such is its youthfulness and austerity at present. Make no mistake though, it is potentially a great wine, with the steeliness and fresh acid cut that is the hallmark of fine semillon. Be patient”.
Grant Dodd – The Wining Pro – August 2006
“The first Semillon under the Hell Hole label, a compliment to the HH shiraz, is a stunning debut. You could drink it now, you could buy a half-finished painting, but would you do either? In years to come these guys will challenge the best. Cellar it for ten years or more”.
Ken Gargett – Qweekend – Courier Mail – 7th October 2006
“A spotless bouquet, then a super-precise and focused palate offering intense mineral, herb and lemon flavours; very long finish; 150 dozen made”.
James Halliday – 2008 Wine Companion