A Tale of Two Rivers
Brett and Linda Keeping have a strong connection to a very special patch of Hunter soil. And their sculpture project is a visual echo of these close and longstanding ties writes SALLY EVANS.
Several impressive and imposingly chunky stone sculptures line the road that winds past the Two Rivers cellar door, continuing on up to the property’s highest point. From there, looking over the valley towards the broody escarpments of Giant’s Grave and the Brokenback Range, I spot in the distance the tree-lined tracks of both the Hunter and Goulburn Rivers, which give the property its name.
All around the hill top are dramatic piles of sandstone dragged from the surrounding paddocks, the inspiration for the sculpture project. After the stellar success of the past twelve months, it is surprising that they have not erected a sculpture to themselves. Their Semillons have swept the board at a number of key wine shows, with their 2013 Stone’s Throw Semillon awarded the Len Evans Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine at last year’s Sydney Royal Wine Show, one of four trophies gained from that one show. Impressive results especially since both new and museum releases are triumphing repeatedly, show after show. There is obviously something special about this plot and the way it is managed by viticulturist Brett and his team. Since 2011, every vintage of their Stone’s Throw Semillon has been at least a gold medal winner.
The Keepings founded Two Rivers with business partner Ross Pitts in 1988. For more than 30 years they have meticulously tended the vineyard with the help of right-hand man Stephen Kendall. According to Brett, a great team and attention to detail in the vineyard are the secrets of their success. He modestly neglects to note that he has just been named Viticulturist of the Year for the second time at the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Awards (2010 and 2019).
The vineyard is primarily cultivated using organic practices, delivering top quality fruit to winemaking partner First Creek in Pokolbin as part of a relationship that stretches back 20 years. These two family operations have been working together since First Creek began in 1999, when Two Rivers signed up as their first client. Then winemaker Jim Chatto set them on a style path since continued and evolved by Liz Jackson and her award-winning team at First Creek. This precious fruit couldn’t be in better hands.
Wines to watch
Available through cellar cellar door, online or try Lambton Fridge in Newcastle
Two Rivers 2014 Stone’s Throw Semillon
An exemplary aged Hunter Semillon, and a perfect follow-up to the hugely successful 2013. Already winning awards, including Best Semillon and Best White Wine at the recent Single Vineyard Wine Show.
Museum release 2014 RRP $50
Current release 2018 RRP $20
Two Rivers 2017 Yarrawa Road Chardonnay
The pinnacle white wine of the range. This impressive chardonnay is miles away from the big busty Hunter Chardonnays of old. Recently awarded the Trophy for Best NSW Chardonnay at the NSW Wine Awards. Move over Semillon!