I am pleased to say that we have just received a very special import of Dean Hewitson’s wines from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
We have been waiting a long time for the wines to arrive, but they are definitely well worth the wait! As you may know some Australian wines (especially those from Barossa) have gained a (what I think is an unfair) bad reputation for being big, overripe "fruit bombs". Well, these offerings from Hewitson are wines that actively seek to breakdown that perception. The wines are an honest 12.5 - 14% alc. All of the wines have great structure, and freshness that only balanced acidity can bring. Make no mistake, these are robust wines with rich layers of fruit but they also really highlight how old vine Australian reds can also show elegance, brightness and exceptional balance.
First up is a fantastic dry Rose that arrived off the truck just in time for Turkey Day! The 2011 Hewitson Rose (made from old vine Grenache, Cinsault and Carignane) is dry, fresh, spicy and a refreshing 12.5% alc. This is quite a unique wine. Dark ground spices, Cranberry and Raspberry. Very drinkable but at the same time there is enough intrigue here to keep you thinking. $14.99.
Next we have the 2010 Baby Bush Vine Mourvèdre. This vineyard was established with selection massale cuttings from Hewitson's Old Garden Block. The Old Garden Vineyard is home to the worlds oldest surviving Mourvèdre vines planted back in 1853.
The "baby" vines are dry farmed, head trained vines, grown to mimick the conditions in the original Old Garden. This is beautiful brooding, meaty, earthy Mourvèdre. Dark red fruits and spice are freshened by some well-placed acidity. Polished, soft tannins mean this wine drinks well now but I suspect the precise balance of this wine will help it cellar well for another 5+ years. This is a nice, pure example of this seldom seen varietal that has acquired an underground following for all the right reasons. $19.99
Then we have the 2011 Ned & Henry's Shiraz. 10% Mourvèdre is added to this Barossa Shiraz. All fruit is from vines all grown in the classic Terra Rossa soils (red dusty clay soils with limestone beneath) Barossa is famous for. This is a powerful yet finessed wine with dry tannins and spice. The Limestone sub-soils add some intrigue and savory notes to this deep, viscous and richly fruited Shiraz. $19.99
Perhaps my favorite of the bunch, the 2010 Miss Harry's Blend, a stunning Rhone style red made from Grenache (44%), Shiraz (39%), Mourvèdre (8%), Carignan (4%) and Cinsault (4%). The fruit is all from 110+ yr old vines. Aged for 12 months in neutral French oak, no racking. A wine of richness, authenticity and complexity. Very very good! $19.99
The 2010 Mad Hatter Shiraz is Dean Hewitson’s expression of the ultimate McLaren Vale Shiraz. The fruit is from the Blewitt Springs sub-region famed for that bright, blue fruit, fresher style of Shiraz. This is a single vineyard, single varietal wine selected from the absolute best lots available. The chosen vineyard is situated on a prime northwest-facing slope; vines are planted in very low vigor sandy loam soils. A meticulous fruit selection process is followed by 21 months in the best French oak. This is a huge wine that will reward patience. Dean Hewitson notes "this wine exudes Old-World balance and elegance while striding easily into the New-World with the freshness of the concentrated cassis fruit." A very serious wine that defines how big blockbuster Aussie Shiraz should be styled. $49.99
All these wines deserve your consideration. They are all excellent and authentic examples of what Australia can produce. Thanks to a special import deal the pricing is also remarkably good considering the quality of these wines. As rain lashes against the window and another two storms are lined up in the North Pacific, I know what I’ll be putting in my glass to see me through the depths of winter!
NZ & Aussie Wine Specialist
K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City
Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!