Australia’s winescape is a broad land. The Tasmanians are still arriving home from Christmas holidays, whilst the Hunter Valley is 3/4s done. Everyone else is somewhere in between. So with that in mind, here’s a look at one of the “new generation” Hunter Valley winemakers who continues to go from strength to strength.
De – Uli-iss. Not that hard to say when you spell it like that. Joss and Anna De Iuliis, after a long career in the mining industry, planted vines in the Hunter Valley in 1990. When son Michael graduated in Oenology from Roseworthy College in 1999, the business changed from grape growing to wine making. Winemaker Michael’s skills are well regarded. He was nominated for “Gourmet Traveller Wine” magazine’s Winemaker of The Year in 2013. He is an integral member of the Next Generation Hunter Valley group who regularly tour the east coast from Melbourne to Noosa.
Hunter Valley Semillon, 2014*
Semillon is what the Hunter Valley is known the world over for. Distinctive bright lemon citrus and crisp baby snow pea sprout smells. The wine is simply refreshing with concentrated lemon tartness and long fine boned Hunter Valley zippy acidity. Perfect for sunny day drinking and best paired with shellfish.
Sunshine Vineyard Semillon, 2014
From a single vineyard of sandy soils (known as the best for growing Semillon in the Hunter). Pale, almost water like clarity. Hints of lemon, sherbet and delicate. So primary like fresh pressed juice. Limes and lemons. Restrained and delicious. Mouth watering acidity leaves the tongue seeking more. A delicate lightness of being makes this a wine of citrus whispers, only the acidity gives voice to the future.
Hunter Valley Aged Release Semillon, 2007
2007 Hunter Semillon seems to be kicking quite a few goals around the place at the moment, and the De Iuliis release is a worthy entrant to the ranks.
Hints of gold in the glass. Smells of fresh-popped-from-the-toaster-toast, lemon rind and a touch of creamy curd. Soft and subtle and 8 years old just starting to broaden. Lime and lemon citrus acid still driving long, the juiciness still there, demanding either another glass or another year in the cellar. Great value.
Hunter Valley Shiraz, 2013*
Not your usual suspect plummy mocha Shiraz. This is far more savoury with earthy notes and a hint of mushroom flesh. Supple on the tongue with a lovely balance of sweet dark fruit, edged with Hunter Valley savouriness. A kitten’s lick of drying tannins give ageing potential, if you can wait!
LDR Shiraz/Touriga, 2013
LDR stands for Lovedale Road, home and vineyard of Joss and Anna. There’s a smattering of alternative varieties grown there along with Shiraz and a lot of Chardonnay. 85% Shiraz and 15% Touriga.
Lovely smells of dusty purple Hunter Shiraz with clouds of cool blue Touriga. Oodles of spice and savoury flavour. The almost salty, herby Touriga provides a foil to the plummy Shiraz. Juicy and fleshy without being overt or too ripe. The tannins fine and razor thin line of acid. There’s a sweetness from oak providing fine icing on the cake. Mike De suggests holding onto this for 5 years, but it’s too good now.
Steven Vineyard Shiraz 2013*
The grapes taken from a single Hunter Valley vineyard planted on red volcanic soils. Highly perfumed: dark cherries with loads of spice and a hint of citrus peel sweetness. Flavours of red to black cherry fruit framed with sandy tannins. Medium bodied and a youthful bony thing at the moment. There’s a Pinot Noir like quality to the wine that calls out to be matched with Char Siu Pork.
All wines samples courtesy of De Iuliis Wines
*These reviews originally appeared in “Weekend” Magazine for APN ARM newspapers.