Friday 3rd January 2020 saw the first Semillon grapes harvested from the Braemore Vineyard, but it wasn't for wine, it was for Verjus.
Verjus is the pressed juice of unripened grapes. It is not fermented (and therefore non-alcoholic) and is harvested much earlier than wine grapes to capture crisp green characters, high acidity and before the sugars fully develop.
A favourite in kitchens and cocktails bars it's used to deglaze pans when making sauces, in salad dressings and is a popular ingredient in contemporary cocktails. The Cellar Door team recommend adding a dash to an icy glass of water or sparkling water on a hot day, as a refreshing beverage for your AFD's (alcohol free days).
Thomas Wines Verjus is sold via Cellar Door ($15/500ml bottle) and wholesale. This year's Verjus will be available from late February.
James Halliday recently announced his TOP 100 wines for 2019 & Thomas Wines is very pleased to announce that they have two wines included in this highly prized list. The 2019 Synergy Semillon was included in his best whites under $25, & the 2014 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon (97 points) included in his 20 best whites over $25. This follows on from the 2017 Two of a Kind Shiraz's inclusion in the TOP 100 wines in 2018.
Inclusion in this list creates high demand so we suggest jumping in quick to grab a case or two of these semsational Semillons to pair with your summery seafood dining.
Each year Thommo releases a Semillon from the highly awaded Braemore Vineyard as an aged release. This year he is releasing the 2014 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon on Saturday 31 August.
The 2014 vintage was and warm dry (not dissimilar to 2017 & 2018) producing wines with extra generosity. This wine is just starting to emerge with those classic bottle aged Hunter Semillon complexities. The palate has developed an attractive richness, yet maintains an amazing delicacy and freshness with vibrant fruit and a fine, focused line of acidity. In a superb drinking zone right now, it will continue to evolve over the next decade.
This weekend in Cellar Door visitors will be treated to a tasting experience of our full range of Single Vineyard Hunter Valley Semillons. The newly released 2019 range will be on tasting, finishing with a comparison between the 2019 & the 2014 Braemore Semillons. This line up showcases the purity of Hunter Valley Semillon it's site specific variations & aging capacity.
The Cellar Reserve is released to herald in the first day of spring, but we thought we'd channel that sunshine and warmth that comes with Spring & release the wine a day early this year. See you across the weekend or place your orders via our website.
Could 50 be the new 20? A stretch perhaps, but as we know you’re entering your prime around 50, and at 20 you’re just hitting your strides.
In the case of Thomas Wines 2019 is much cause for celebration as we celebrate our flagship vineyard’s 50th anniversary of its planting, and our 20th consecutive vintage of this wine at the top of our stable. It could be said that in 2019 at 50 and 20 we’re at the top of our game as we celebrate the coming of age.
And Newcastle Semillon lovers may rejoice, as Thomas Wines has just released just 30 tickets to an exclusive seaside Semsational Japanese Wine Lunch on Friday 27 September (which sold out in a heartbeat) and has now released a second lunch on Thursday 26 September at the celebrated Nagisa on the waterfront at Honeysuckle. Under the watchful eye of two, now local larrikins, Thommo and Yohei, you’ll be delighted by the range of Thomas Wines Hunter Valley Semillons from the outstanding 2019 vintage perfectly accompanied Nagisa’s signature dishes. You won’t meet two guys more committed to their respective causes, and you’ll enjoy a few laughs with them both over the course of the afternoon. Super limited tickets available for $120 per person. Bookings essential.
The Halliday 2020 Wine Companion results are in with great scores for our current range of Shiraz
2017 Dam Block Shiraz - 97pts
2017 Kiss Shiraz - 96pts
2017 Elenay Shiraz - 96pts
2017 Two of a Kind Shiraz - sold out - 96pts
2017 Sweetwater Shiraz - 95pts
2017 Belford Shiraz - Members only - 94pts
2017 DJV Shiraz - 94pts
2017 Synergy Shiraz - 93pts
Need to stock the Cellar? Supplies are getting low on some of these so head to our online shop here.
With our Single Vineyard Shiraz from the exceptional 2017 vintage now released we've had some great reveiws.
Here are a few of the latest stories about Thomas Wines
Thomas Wines specialises in Semillon & Shiraz, proudly producing only these two signature Hunter Valley varieties.
A tasting with us digs deep ... it takes you on a focused journey of the Hunter Valley through the soils, their textures & colours, discussing how these affect the resultant range of single vineyard Semillon & Shiraz on offer.
If you take note when driving around the valley you will see the colours & textures of the soils vary quite considerably.
The flats of the Hunter Valley are ancient river courses with pale, sandy alluvial soils. These flats offer perfect conditions for growing Semillon.
In contrast, as a general rule, you'll see the soil on the hills is darker, crumbly, clay loam with rich red & chocolate overtones, perfect shiraz growing country.
Our Single Vineyard Tasting includes maps, soil samples & of course our Single Vineyard wines. It offers a visual explanation as to the varying aromas, flavours & textures of Semillon & Shiraz when grown on different sites throughout the Valley.
Our Single Vineyard tasting currently includes three Single Vineyard premium Semillon and seven Single Vineyard premium Shiraz. The seated tasting takes approximately 45 minutes; the fee is $15pp but we'll only charge you this fee if you can't find a bottle (or 12) from our Single Vineyard range to purchase at the end of the tasting.
Bookings and prepayment of (an unredeemable) $15pp apply for groups of six or more.
2017 is widely regarded as an exceptional vintage for Hunter Valley Shiraz; over the weekend of 4-5 May Thomas Wines is releasing their range of 2017 Single Vineyard Shiraz with a series of experiences.
So what makes a vintage "exceptional"? Some nice rain in the initial growing season, with warm dry conditions during ripening & harvest. The 2017 range of single vineyard Shiraz are testament to this. The tasting of nine Shiraz from separate vineyards throughout the Hunter Valley begins with Synergy Shiraz for the novice moving through to the flagship, & somehwat of a cult wine, Kiss Shiraz for the enthusiast or that special celebration.
The Cellar Door and Winekmaing teams are offering a series of experiences across the launch weekend to showcase their range of Shiraz.
Across the weekend call into Cellar Door, or better still book in advance, and the team will take you through a vertical tasting of the range of Single Vineyard Shiraz. They'll take you on a journey of the Valley, sharing the textures & colours of the soils, explaining how these influence the taste of the Shiraz. Cost is $15pp but only if you can't find a bottle within the range to purchase at the conclusion of your tasting.
To celebrate in a befitting style, Thommo is hosting a release lunch at EXP Restaurant on Saturday 4 May. Chef Frank Fawkner has created a four course menu to pair with the nine Shiraz. The lunch has already seen high demand so if a long leisurely Shiraz lunch with the Winemaker tickles your fancy, we'd suggest you book now.
On Sunday 5 May the team from The Artisan Cheeseroom will join us in Cellar door for three Mini Masterclasses. The unique half hour Masterclasses (10am, 11.30am & 1pm) will be hosted by Thommo & The Artisan Cheeseroom Cheesemonger, Paul Thompson. Guests will take home tips for Shiraz and cheese matching, whilst discussing tastes and terroirs of wine and artisan cheese and how regionality, vintage, seasons and provenance all influence the perfect pairing. With only 12 seats in each session bookings are essential. $30pp.
Can't make it to see us in the Valley? The full range of Shiraz will be available online from Saturday 4 May - why not purchase one of each, invite a few friends around & conduct your own tasting session.
The Semillon & Shiraz grapes are now harvested and in the winery! It's a comforting relief but this doesn't mean the hard work is over for Thommo and the winery crew.
The Semillons have finished fermentation, have been chilled and are resting in tank, allowing the dead yeast cells to slowly drop to the bottom. From here the Semillons will be racked, (siphoning the clear wine from the cloudy sediment on the bottom), filtered & bottled.
The Shiraz are currently fermenting in tank (with regular pump overs to manage the fermentation), or going through a secondary malolactic fermentation in barrel. One of the more unusual scenes in the winery at this time is seeing Thommo or Eden with their ear against the barrel bung hole. They do this to see how the fermentation is progressing as you can hear it fizzing & bubbling when the yeast are active.
So what's Thommo think of vintage 2019? He's excited. He's calling the last three warm, dry vintages a "hat trick"; the 2019 Semillon being the standout over these three years; the Shiraz, a little early to call, but his gut feeling is that the 2017 and 2018 vintages will be marginally better than the 2019.
In between all this Thommo is selecting & packing the wines for your next Member packs. There's no rest for the wicked but there's plenty of coffee & Peroni & they help.
It's been a fast & furious harvest with all the semillon & most of the shiraz now in the winery.
We harvested the majority of the shiraz this week, the quality is exceptional but yield down a little. Thommo is particularly excited by the quality off the Kiss Vineyard.
Visit us at Cellar Door this weekend & sample the 2019 vintage.