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Rowena Henderson
14 March 2022 | Rowena Henderson

Braemore Reviews & Articles

Betting on Braemore - Toni Paterson, Gourmet Traveller Wine
Becoming the custodian of the sacred Braemore Vineyard brings responsibility and the need to nurture this valuable resource for long-term viability. Toni Paterson MW, takes a deep dive into the Braemore Vineyard, it's history and Thommo's recent activity in the vineyard. Toni also reviews several vintages of Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon. You'll find the full story in the current issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine or via this link.

2020 Like a Version Braemore Semillon - The Real Review
For those that haven't tried Georgie Jacob's version of Braemore Semillon, The Real Review has ranked it #9/26 2020 Semillon from Australia, with 91/100 rating. Click here for the review.

Time Posted: 14/03/2022 at 2:49 PM Permalink to Braemore Reviews & Articles Permalink
Rowena Henderson
18 February 2022 | Rowena Henderson

Taste the Juice - Vintage 2022

A rare opportunity in Cellar Door with a stellar line up of Braemore Semillon available to taste. 

Book now via the website.

Freshly crushed Braemore Semillon juice, Braemore Semillon 2022 in the throes of fermentation, the very last of the 2021 Braemore Semillon, a look at the incredible transformation Semillon goes through obver time with a 2015 Cellar Reserve Braemore and our new kid on the block "Like a Version" 2020 Braemore Semillon made by Georgie Jacobs.

*Ferments & juices on offer may change dependant on availability.

Time Posted: 18/02/2022 at 10:34 AM Permalink to Taste the Juice - Vintage 2022 Permalink
Andrew Thomas
27 January 2022 | Andrew Thomas

Vintage 2022 - when will we start picking our 2022 Semillon

Original backing Soundtrack by the local Cicadas.

Time Posted: 27/01/2022 at 12:28 PM Permalink to Vintage 2022 - when will we start picking our 2022 Semillon Permalink
Rowena Henderson
17 December 2021 | Rowena Henderson

The Perfect Escape

It's often hard to decide where to start when planning a visit to Wine Country, there's so many places to see, wines to sip, restaurants to dine in and gorgeous scenery to absorb.

So how do you make the most of your visit in our new world?

Whilst restaurants and Cellar Doors are now back to full capacity, Christmas is a busy time in the Valley. Most Cellar Doors have new offerings and experiences, and bookings are the best way to tick off the bucket list.

So what's the best approach?

Our local wine and tourism association website is a great place to start. It lists many of the businesses with their contact details and a includes a list of who is open/closed across this busy time.

Create a list of must-do's; include a few staples and add a few places that you haven't been before.

Think logistically, it can be quite a distance between venues, so allow travel time. A great approach is to carve the Valley up and target one "sub-region" or area per day. You might target the Lovedale area on day one, Around Hermitage on day two and Central Pokolbin on day three.

If you're looking to avoid the crowds, head to the roads less travelled, think Broke Fordwich, Mount View, Around Hermitage or Wollombi.

There's some great wine experiences on offer; cheese and wine pairing; vineyard walks, behind the scenes tours, picnic tastings or a deep dive into specific varietals. And then there's breweries, distilleries, local produce.....

Allow time to relax and enjoy yourselves, after all you're on holidays. So many people try to fit too much in, resulting in frustrations; missing out on their final booking (due delays along the way) and the ability to stop and take in a special view, or time to spot a kangaroo.

Restaurants - defintely book your restaurants. It's heart breaking seeing visitors in Cellar Door frustrated and hungry because they didn't book ahead. Restaurants, whether they have formal or casual offerings, are at a premium.Make sure you plan and book for all your meals.

What about the kids? Book some time at the Hunter Valley Zoo, Hunter Valley Gardens, Aqua Golf and to run and explore.

And your furry friends? Many of our Cellar Doors welcome your pets, you'll find pet friendly accomodation and lists on the wine country website.

If you love the Hunter Valley's signature varieties, or would like to learn more about them, add Thomas Wines to the list.

Thomas Wines offers 3 tasting experiences each focusing on the Hunter Valley's signature varieties of Semillon and Shiraz. Our tastings will leave you with an understanding of how Andrew Thomas can offer diversity within these two varieties.

THE DISCOVERY – discover the stylistic diversity within Semillon and Shiraz. Over 30-45 minutes, our team will take you on a discovery showcasing 4 Semillon and 4 Shiraz to include our everyday, seriously smashable wines, with a few premium single vineyard wines to finish.

THE EXPLORER - the new kid in our tasting line up. This tasting goes straight to the top shelf. You'll taste our 4 single vineyard Semillon looking at vineyard variation, and including our highly awarded 2015 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon. Then follow through with an exploration of 4 premium single vineyard Shiraz to include the iconic Kiss Shiraz.

THE JOURNEY - this is for those that really love, or want to take a deep dive into Hunter Valley Semillon and Shiraz. Our full list is at your disposal. Ask our team to tailor the tasting specifically to your needs or taste our full range. Take a Journey through our single vineyard wines with soil samples & maps to help you better understand the diversity the Hunter Valley offers.

Our seated tastings include tasting notes and a selection of riedel wine glassware. We take your tasting seriously, but promise it will be fun and relaxed.

To help us really spoil you, please book your tasting in advance; the team hate it when they have to turn people away when fully booked. We can't wait to show you why we think Hunter Valley Semillon and Shiraz are so special.

So what are you waiting for? Do all the hard (but fun) work now. Plan and book your visit before your holiday, then all you have to do when you get here is relax and enjoy.

Time Posted: 17/12/2021 at 3:06 PM Permalink to The Perfect Escape Permalink
Rowena Henderson
4 November 2021 | Rowena Henderson

Cellar Door Tastings

Time Posted: 04/11/2021 at 12:11 PM Permalink to Cellar Door Tastings Permalink
Andrew Thomas
21 October 2021 | Andrew Thomas

Thomas Wines Virtual Vertical Elenay Shiraz Tasting 20 October, 2021

Join Thommo & wine guy Mike Bennie for a vertical tasting of Thomas Wines Elenay Shiraz.

The tasting includes :-

2011 Elenay Shiraz
2013 Elenay Shiraz
2014 Elenay Shiraz
2017 Elenay Shiraz
2018 ElenayShiraz
2019 Elenay Shiraz

Grab a bottle or two & join in.

Time Posted: 21/10/2021 at 2:03 PM Permalink to Thomas Wines Virtual Vertical Elenay Shiraz Tasting 20 October, 2021 Permalink
Andrew Thomas
18 October 2021 | Andrew Thomas

Thomas Wines Virtual Single Vineyard 2019 Shiraz tasting

In this video Thommo takes you through six individual vineyard 2019 Shiraz.

If you'd like to taste along, the wines are available via the website here. Invite a few friends around, sit back relax and enjoy.

The Wines
2019 DJV Shiraz
2019 Sweetwater Shiraz
2019 The Cote Shiraz
2019 Dam Block Shiraz
2019 Elenay Shiraz
2019 Kiss Shiraz


Time Posted: 18/10/2021 at 10:33 AM Permalink to Thomas Wines Virtual Single Vineyard 2019 Shiraz tasting Permalink
Andrew Thomas
9 September 2021 | Andrew Thomas

Spring = new release Semillons

Some words from Thommo on our new Spring releases....

This update will focus on our two newest (September 1st) releases. 

2015 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon
Having sold out of our 2013 and 2014 Cellar Reserve Braemore for quite some time now, I am particularly excited to see the new release 2015 vintage hit the deck on the first day of Spring. We do love the opportunity to present our current release and bottle-aged Braemore Semillon side by side for our guests in Cellar Door. After all, the Hunter is famous amongst wine lovers around the world for this unique and amazing transformation....
I’m clearly smitten with the way this wine has slowly evolved, but I guess one of the best ways to feature the qualities of any wine is to use third party opinion/endorsement. So here’s the review by Huon Hooke, extracted from The Real Review website
"Bright, light-yellow colour; young for its years, as is the nose. It has lemon juice, lemon pith and baked lemon pudding aromas, and no signs of greenness. Signs of toastiness are barely apparent at this stage. The wine is likewise fresh, bright and young in the mouth, starting to show traces of the honey that will build with further age. Deliciously intense and delicate at the same time, with refreshing but seamless acidity, and a long carry. A gorgeous wine, an archetypal Hunter Semillon that has benefited from some age but has barely begun to enter its second phase. A great, classic wine."
98 Points
#1 of 43 (2015 Semillon tasted from Lower Hunter Valley)
Drink 2021 – 2035
Tasted Feb 2021
Huon Hooke
Nicely said, thank you Huon...... :)

With only 460 six-packs available I suspect this one won’t be on the shelves for too long.

2021 Élevage Semillon
Semillon is capable of producing a diverse range of wine styles, from bone-dry classics through to richly sweet dessert wine, all the while maintaining its varietal character and ‘sense of place’.

This is our very first crack at producing a ‘desert style’ Hunter Valley Semillon. The elevated sweetness has been achieved using technology (reverse osmosis) rather than botrytis (noble rot). We actually extract some of the water component from the juice prior to fermentation, thereby increasing the natural sweetness to a level needed for this style of wine. The initial juice volume is virtually halved to reach the level of sweetness required in the juice. This was followed by a relatively long, cool fermentation which we stopped when the alcohol level reached approximately 10%, leaving around 7 Beaumé of residual sweetness in the wine. Unlike the sweet wines of some other regions, we didn’t use any oak to mature the wine and it was bottled early to maintain its freshness.

The wine is medium lemon/straw in colour, and this will deepen with time. Whilst light in alcohol yet full in textural viscosity, this wine is rich and voluptuous, packed with ripe tropical fruits, lemon sherbet, and candied pineapple notes. The finish is long and luscious yet quite refreshing on the finish with its elevated citrus-like acidity providing a beautifully balanced wine. A wine to savour as a youngster, however it will develop extra depth and complexity with time in the cellar.

PS this is not just a wine to be enjoyed at the end of the meal with a delicious dessert, it is equally suited as an aperitif and is also a perfect match with blue cheese.

Only 191 dozen (500mL) bottles produced.

You can purchase both these wines via our website here.



Time Posted: 09/09/2021 at 2:47 PM Permalink to Spring = new release Semillons Permalink
Rowena Henderson
26 August 2021 | Rowena Henderson

Thomas Wines 2021 Semillon Release - Zoom Session

Thank you to those that joined us last night via Zoom for our Member's Virtual Semillon Tasting. It was great fun, and awesome to see so many of you chatting, asking questions and offering feedback. A big thanks to Mike Bennie for joining us for the session.

As promised, we recorded the session for those that didn't make the zoom session (and those that wish to watch again), you'll find the link here. Feel free to share this with anyone interested.

You can watch the zoom tasting session here


Time Posted: 26/08/2021 at 1:02 PM Permalink to Thomas Wines 2021 Semillon Release - Zoom Session Permalink
Andrew Thomas
30 June 2021 | Andrew Thomas

2021 Semillon Vintage Report - the bullet that we dodged

I am very pleased (and excited) to announce the official release of our 2021 Single Vineyard Semillons.

I’m also very happy to see the 2020 vintage well behind us, with the fires and associated smoke contributing to a 60% drop in our production leaving us rather ‘skinny’ in the Semillon department last year…

It’s a great relief to have the full contingent of our Semillons back this year, and I can report that they are looking fantastic. Here’s a snapshot/summary of how this (rather unique) 2021 vintage played out from my personal perspective….

After four consecutive years of drought, the skies certainly opened up from about February/March 2020, delivering 1050mm of rain during the 2020 calendar year which is well over our 760mm long-term average. With bud bust pretty much on cue (late August), we knew that we would be need to be very diligent with our vineyard management to ward off any potential issues with downy/powdery/botrytis through the growing season right through to harvest.

To add insult to injury, the Braemore vineyard was hit with a massive hail storm in early November 2020. Fortunately, the developing bunches and berries were still very small and hard so the impact of the hail event on our yields ended up being much less than I had initially anticipated/feared.

January is the most critical period during the viticultural growing season in the Hunter, and I am happy to report that we seriously 'dodged that bullet' with the rain basically disappearing for the month of January allowing a window of opportunity to get our fruit to a perfect level of ripeness and in excellent condition. I can still hear a collective sigh of relief from grape growers and winemakers across the region….

And so there we have it. A season that was looking quite “challenging” to say the least, has evolved into what history will remember as a pretty bloody good Hunter vintage, particularly for Semillon…. 

2021 Braemore Semillon

The various blocks across the Braemore vineyard were picked between the 27th of January and the 4th of February. The hand-picked fruit is run across our new state-of-the-art vibrating sorting table to ensure that only the absolute highest quality bunches get through to the press. The grapes are then whole-bunch pressed to minimise phenolics, and fermented with our specially selected neutral yeast to enhance the varietal purity. At the completion of the fermentation, the wine spent five weeks resting on its yeast lees prior to preparation for bottling on the 18th of May.

Stylistically, the 2021 Braemore is more classically shaped than the last four warm dry vintages, and has an attractive bright, almost tropical aromatic lift. Whilst 2021 is a completely different season in terms of weather, this wine kind of reminds me of the 2003 Braemore Semillon (hands up those of you who remember that wine…..

Being bottled slightly earlier than normal, I suspect that these aromatics will yield over the next few months revealing more of the lemon/lime zest characters that lie beneath. As we have come to expect from this vineyard, its concentration of fruit will provide some excellent current drinking as well as being a belter for the cellar. The 2021 vintage is the 22nd consecutive bottling of Braemore Semillon under the Thomas Wines label.

2021 The OC Semillon

According to all our pre-harvest work prior to the 2020 vintage, this vineyard was ‘on the cusp’ of having some issues with smoke taint, so we had to make the difficult/heartbreaking decision not to pick Oakey Creek last year. This makes me all the more excited to have The OC Semillon back in the portfolio this year

Despite the rain during 2020, the impact of four years of drought resulted in a significantly lower yield from this vineyard in 2021. It was in fact our very first Semillon picked this year (25th January), and it has a slightly riper feel than we've seen in recent vintages. That being said, the core of fine acidity is still a defining feature of wines made from this wonderful patch of transitional loamy soil.

There’s some fine detail in this slightly riper expression of The OC Semillon, taking time to unfurl in its compact frame. Freshness is the motif – a wine built for satisfying thirst and curiosity now but will also reward with time in the cellar…

2021 Fordwich Hill Semillon

Another single vineyard Semillon that we missed dearly last year. In fact, with the fires burning towards the fringes of the Broke-Fordwich sub region, it was a no-brainer that this vineyard was going to be critically impacted by smoke taint.

I should mention at this point, that smoke only affects/taints the grapes that it comes in contact with – not the vine. There are NO residual issues from any smoke taint event from one vintage to the next.

The red volcanic soils of the Fordwich Hill vineyard make this wine an interesting exception to the rule of Semillon being suited to the lower lying sandy/loam alluvial flats of the Hunter Valley. We always allow this vineyard to get to a higher level of ripeness than our classically styled Semillons resulting in a more generous (12.5% alcohol), contemporary expression of Hunter Semillon and its gentle acidity providing an excellent early drinking, food-friendly style.

For those of you who know and love (and missed) this label, you will be very pleased indeed with the 2021…. 

2021 Synergy/Two of a Kind/Six Degrees

With our significantly reduced production in 2020, I have pushed these three wines into bottle a bit earlier this year, and they were released about a month ago.

Many of you have already bought some of these wines from our cellar door or online. For those of you that are still yet to grab a few bottles, stylistically they are right on point and once again offer incredible quality for every day drinking at an amazing value for money price.

I sincerely hope you enjoy our new vintage Semillon releases, it’s great to have the full set back on the shelf and I am very proud of them all. Keep your eyes open for the release of the 2015 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon on the 1st September (the first day of spring). Huon Hooke has already dropped a whopping 98 points on this wine in his recent review…



Time Posted: 30/06/2021 at 4:06 PM Permalink to 2021 Semillon Vintage Report - the bullet that we dodged Permalink

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