Internationally, Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s two most well known wine regions, alongside Barossa Valley in South Australia. Located about a two hour drive north of Sydney, the region is very popular for weekend escapes from the city of Sydney.
Hunter Valley’s climate includes regular droughts or floods, seemingly less than desirable conditions to grow grapes, with the hot, humid summers and cool winters. Nevertheless, the region has been under cultivation since the 1800’s and is responsible for putting Australian wine, in particular Semillon and to a lesser extent Shiraz, on the world wine map. Winemaking pioneers such as Bruce Tyrrell and Len Evans helped the region gain worldwide recognition.
The famous Hunter valley Semillon was for many years known as ‘Hunter Valley Riesling’ and is never matured in oak. It is however one of the most ageworthy whites in the country with bottles showing an inordinate ability to age gracefully. Bottle-aged Semillons will often exhibit burnt toast and honey characteristics, slight nutty notes and supremely complex flavours on the palate. This palate complexity is coupled with soft acidity and the finish can be very long indeed.