How green is our valley!
Organic, biodynamic, vegan-friendly, sustainable, natural, preservative-free, sulphur-free, low alcohol, eco-friendly, carbon zero, low intervention, orange. There’s a whole lot going on in the wine world aimed at making our favourite drops better for the planet, and perhaps good for us too. Or at least less un-good. While some of these practices are perhaps no more than passing fads, many are undoubtedly the new normal. A handful of Hunter producers have been living and making this way for years, with many more getting in the eco-groove quite recently. Whether you’re into the mysticism and esoteric millennialism or not, what can be wrong with working to leave our vineyards in the best possible condition for generations to come?
Wine recommendations by wine expert Sally Evans.
The Vinden Headcase Tempranillo 2018
Young Angus Vinden is the darling of the hipster Hunter wine crowd, named Rising Star of the Hunter Valley at the 2019 Regional Awards. His folks Guy and Sandra founded this Pokolbin estate in 1990, and Gus took over as winemaker from his dad in 2015, adding his more experimental offshoot label The Vinden Headcase to the original range of regional classics. Fruit is from the historic Somerset Vineyard where Angus learnt at the heels of 6th generation grower Glen Howard. Cold soaked, wild fermented in open concrete fermenters, hand plunged, basket pressed and oak aged. Ripe, rich, chewy, savoury. This is a winery to watch for sure.
RRP $40 | www.vindenwines.com.au
Macquariedale Semillon Gone Wild 2019
These guys are all about organic, biodynamic, low preservative, vegan-friendly, natural wines. In 2005 Ross and Derice McDonald became the first producers in the Hunter Valley to receive full Biodynamic Certification. They are focused on improving the land as they farm it, with only natural products used across the entire property. This funky wine was fermented on skins for 11 days using only wild yeasts, then pressed straight into seasoned oak for 11 months maturation. Bottled with no filtration or fining, it is low alcohol, with added texture and tangy acidity. Cloudy when shaken, it is said to be a good alternative to kombucha . An experimental amber/orange trip worth taking.
RRP – $36 | ww.macquariedale.com.au
Tamburlaine Reserve Hunter Semillon 2018
2018 Despite the ye olde worlde influence of the brand’s name (nicked from Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe), Tamburlaine is the gang leader of modern Australian eco-winemaking. They are one of Australia’s largest organic producers, with 300 hectares of Certified Organic vineyards in the Hunter and Orange. Zingy citrus and green apple waltz with delicate minerality and crisp acidity in this traditionally-made Hunter classic. To achieve and maintain Australian Organic and Biodynamic Certification, the winery must go through an annual audit to ensure that all inputs and handling comply with the standard. This extra layer of effort has certainly proved to be worth the trouble.
RRP $33 | www.tamburlaine.com.au
Krinklewood Chardonnay 2018
Minimal intervention, sustainability and holistic management are the cornerstones of this beautiful vineyard and farm in the Broke-Fordwich region, a pin-up for biodynamism. The Windrim family planted vines about 40 years ago, achieving biodynamic certification in 2007. Their stated aim is to make wines of greater intensity and vibrancy that speak of the terroir of the vineyard. And I reckon they’ve nailed it with this elegant, modern Chardonnay, which leaps with bright nectarine/quince fruit and mouth-watering minerality. Nutty oak complexity was achieved by wild-fermenting a portion of the blend in French oak. A delight for both the senses and the conscience.
RRP – $32 | www.krinklewood.com.au
Keith Tulloch The Wife Shiraz 2017
Since the late 1990s Keith and Amanda Tulloch have worked hard to build a super-impressive wine portfolio and wine tourism complex. But they didn’t stop there. Introducing a vast range of initiatives in the winery and the vineyard to achieve their goals of zero emissions from grape to glass, theirs is the first winery in the Hunter Valley to be certified Carbon Neutral under the Australian Government’s ‘Climate Active’ program. This fragrant and deliciously serious Shiraz from KT’s Family Collection features a high 10% of viognier, a white variety co-fermented with shiraz to add floral complexity to the dense black fruit and silky chocolate richness. Keith explains that this wine was made for his wife Amanda, who loves aromatic and gentle reds. Cute. RRP $65 | www.keithtullochwine.com.au