An incredible project of terroir from Young Gun Angus Vinden, who, given the incredible conditions for the 2018 vintage in the Hunter, decided to showcase three different aspects of a single vineyard through the lens of Shiraz.
The vineyard in question is the Howard family's Somerset vineyard, from which Angus picked and vinified separately, three differing slopes: North facing, East facing and West facing.
The Eastern slope, according to Angus, 'is quite light, floral and pretty.'
'This wine was one of 3 barrels selected from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard where I once worked; I know this vineyard almost as well as my own. In the stellar 2018 vintage I separated the three aspects of the vineyard; Easterly, Northerly and Westerly to explore the ‘Terroir’. Each block was picked, fermented and vinified separately.
'The Eastern Slope was planted in 1966 on red volcanic clay soils, over weathered limestone in Pokolbin. The dry-grown fruit was cold soaked, fermented in open concrete fermenters with wild yeast, hand plunged, basket pressed and aged in French oak for 14 months. Unfined, unfiltered and gravity fed to bottle; drink any time over the next 10+ years.'
Angus Vinden, Winemaker
Established in 1998, Vinden Estate is now under the guidance of the second generation wine maker Angus Vinden. Since taking over in 2015 he has maintained the original label ‘Vinden Estate’ which possesses a traditional Hunter style as well as producing his offshoot label allowing a more experimental approach ‘The Vinden Headcase’; balancing tradition with innovation.
They handcraft their wines on-site at their Hunter Valley vineyard and winery from hand-picked grapes using the traditional methods of open fermentation, hand plunging and basket pressing, as well as incorporating the best of modern wine making techniques. All of the wines are strictly Hunter Valley, sourcing fruit off the estate vineyard and old vine blocks, mainly Somerset Vineyard in Pokolbin where Angus was mentored under the 8th generation grower Glen Howard.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
From the eastern slope planted '66 on red volcanic soil. Open-fermented, cold soak, wild-fermented in open concrete fermenter, matured in French oak for 14 months, not fined or filtered, gravity bottled. More black fruits and more tannins than Fountainhead. Will be very long-lived.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
A subsection of a single vineyard wine. This from the 1966 plantings on Somerset, dry grown in 2018. No new oak used. Yay. Bramble fruit, some liquorice, spice, sweet earthiness, chocolate. Medium-bodied, deep swell of earthy blackberry flavour with fresh berry acidity, ripe and dense tannin, subtle smoky earthiness and excellent weight of fruit, but lightness there too with cherry and raspberry poking through. Tannin pushes out the finish. Beautiful expression of Hunter Shiraz. Such energy.