Granny Smith Apples, lemon drops and lime splice ice blocks with a tropical hint of green mango and wet river rocks. Dry talc like texture with a flow of crystallised apple and finger limes with Gin & Tonic length. Very pure and refined yet powerful, soft yet crunchy acidity, tightly coiled.
Crisp and refreshing as a youngster with potential for 10 years in the cellar.
There is a lot that can be said about doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, Crazy springs to mind, but in the Hunter when grapes are concerned, we call it Winemaking.
After the challenges of 2020,2021 and 2022 we were due a reprieve, which was certainly not forthcoming at any time in the spring of 2022. The pressure of constant rain and little wind from March until October 22 meant just getting into the vineyard on foot, let alone with a tractor was near impossible. For the first time in many years vignerons resorted to aerial spraying with helicopters to get the first few sprays onto their vineyards. With the continual wet weather came the ongoing threat of Downy mildew infection and potential crop loss. While there were a number of vineyards in the Hunter that did not pick a berry, the ones who took the “Crazy” approach and didn’t let up with their management the rewards could not have been greater. The clouds eventually parted, and summer arrived. With it came excellent canopy growth which while unruly and messy looking, protected the grapes from the heart wrenching hailstorm that tore a swath through the middle of the Pokolbin Vineyards on the 4th of January 2023. Fortunately, the hail was confined to a small area and the fruit that was damaged had time to dry up and fall off before harvest ripeness. The final result being a long slow and dry ripening season producing some exceptional wines.
You can see why some people talk about Hunter Valley Winemaking and Craziness in the same sentence, I call it Commitment and Tenacity.
Picked on the 9th of February from two vineyard blocks, one on Oakey Creek Road the other at Nulkaba, both hillside vineyards on heavier soils. The 2023 ripening season was long, mild, and dry giving time for some serious flavour to build at lower grape sugar levels.
The grapes were hand-picked before transfer to a cold room for 24 hours then Whole Bunch pressed with 48 hours for settling before racking to ferment with neutral yeast, as simple as that. This year we left our Semillons on ferment lees for 4 months to build some palate texture.
Food Pairing Notes
Hunter River School Prawns with Lime Aioli or Fresh Sand Whiting cut into small pieces, flash fried in a hot wok then tossed in a grease proof paper bag with Salt, a pinch of smoked Paprika and Lemon Thyme.