The 2016 vintage growing season started with some good rain prior to bud-burst, providing some excellent sub-soil moisture to keep the vines in good order throughout the growing season. Relatively mild conditions prevailed through to the end of 2015, followed by some challenging rain events throughout the early part of January. A relatively early start to vintage with the first Semillon harvested on the 21st January, but the earlier rain delayed the ripening of the Shiraz which we started on the 17th February. When the vineyards had finally reached full phenological (fruit and tannin) ripeness we harvested our entire vintage of shiraz in five days. Our approach to bunch thinning around verasion (first week of January), and the extra ‘hang time’ on these red vineyards is testament to the resultant quality that we now have in bottle.
Stylistically, the 2016's are showing amazingly bright, perfumed and lifted primary fruit with a silky/slippery texture within their elegantly structured core - reminiscent of some of the long lived 'Hunter River Burgundies' of years gone by. They are similar in style to the 2015’s, but with some extra fruit sweetness and palate weight.
I look at this range of 2016 reds as a group, and I am absolutely delighted with the way they have shaped up. Whilst I like to take some of the credit, it is really these outstanding pedigree vineyards, that I am fortunate enough to have in my portfolio, that give these wines their unique quality stamp year after year. Bottled in July last year and now 10 months in bottle, each wine displays its own individual/stylistic personality that we know and love, and I am confident that you will be equally impressed.
My sentimental favourite, is of course, the 2016 Kiss Shiraz with its vibrant red and blue fruits, immaculately integrated French oak, and its restrained intensity within such a tightly structured core. It's this internal concentration that sees Kiss rise above many a Hunter Shiraz (particularly from this vintage) and is also what provides its remarkable longevity. This wine clearly demonstrates that you can achieve amazing intensity within a medium weight frame. We are now seeing each vintage of Kiss sell out within a few months of release, and I expect this vintage will be no exception.
2016 Kiss was awarded a Gold medal at the 2017 Hunter Valley Wine Show.
Only 513 six packs, 100 magnums and 12 Double Magnums bottled.
Magnums available for purchase at Cellar Door or the website.
This year the 2016 Elenay Shiraz is made up of selected barrels from the Sweetwater (45%), Kiss (40%) and Dam Block (15%) parcels. My selection criteria involves looking at the newer barrels within each parcel, and identifying those with the 'juicy' fruit weight to handle the level of oak. The result is definitely punchy/overt in the oak department, but as you know this is the Elenay style. This is a wine that drinks very nicely now but will reward those patient enough to cellar and allow time for the oak to fold in. Awarded two trophies including Best Red Wine of the Show at the 2017 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show. Only 383 dozen bottled.
The second vintage release of this new single vineyard wine to my range, 2016 Dam Block Shiraz is from a small 0.8Ha block of slightly younger vines just across the dam from the Kiss Shiraz vineyard. The inaugural 2015 release proved very popular with our customers. We have been taking this fruit for some years now, and it has always been an important component of my Two of a Kind and Synergy Shiraz, as well as a few barrels making the grade for Elenay over the last few vintages. It shows similar dark blue fruits and the savoury texture of this pedigree vineyard, but at a slightly more affordable price. Only 291 dozen bottled.
The 2016 Sweetwater Shiraz is true to form with its distinctive floral notes dancing over and around its red and blue fruited frame. Its deliciously bright and juicy mid palate, provides some awesome current drinking appeal, but will also reward those of you who tuck a few bottles away in the cellar. This has to be one of the best buys in the Hunter Valley.
Last but not least is the 2016 Synergy Shiraz (100% Hunter) and 2016 Two of a Kind Shiraz (52% Hunter/48% McLaren Vale). Clearly two different styles, but both delivering excellent quality for every day drinking or medium term cellaring at an amazing value for money price. Order a pizza or light the BBQ and drink these wines to your hearts content. Seriously smashable....
Five years ago, I started bottling a limited run of exactly 100 individually numbered magnums of both Braemore Semillon and Kiss Shiraz each vintage. The 2016 Kiss Shiraz magnums will be available in Cellar Door and on the website from Saturday.
The annual release of Thomas Wines new vintage reds is always highly anticipated by wine lovers & collectors. Whilst all our 2016 shiraz are looking outstanding, the very limited quantities and cult following of Kiss Shiraz will ensure that it will be the talk of these events.
We will be presenting 10 wines (including some back vintage Kiss) paired to perfection over four courses prepared by talented Chefs and hosted in intimate venues.
You’ll find it difficult to keep this a secret, but it’s okay to Kiss & Tell…..
Seats are limited for full details, dates and to BOOK NOW click here.
THE STARS OF THE TOUR
2016 Two of a Kind Shiraz
2016 Synergy Shiraz
2016 Sweetwater Shiraz
2016 Dam Block Shiraz
2016 Elenay Shiraz
2016 Kiss Shiraz
2006 Kiss Shiraz
2013 Kiss Shiraz (en Magnum)
There was a sigh of relief from the Winery team last night, the last of the Hunter Valley fruit was now in the winery. This doesn't mean all the work is finished for Vintage 2018, & definitely not for the year, but it does mean the fruit is safely fermenting or in barrel & away from anything that Mother Nature can unleash.
Shiraz harvest followed fast on the heels of the Semillon. Thommo tells us this is one of the most compressed vintages he has experienced in his 32 vintages in the Hunter.The Winery team, with a couple from Cellar Door, even took to the Vineyard to assist picking the Dam Block Shiraz.
The Shiraz is looking awesome, a little down on quantity but impeccably clean, ripe & full of flavour. The Sweetwater came in first & has just been put to barrel, the Cote d'Or is being pressed off, with the Kiss, Dam Block & DJV still ticking through the final stages of fermentation.
Now just to wait on the arrival of the Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and the McLaren Vale Shiraz, and to keep up with the plunging, the pump overs, the barrel work, fining & filtering ...... we're glad we're in the Cellar Door.
If you get the chance, pop in & see us at the Cellar Door & taste a preview of Vintage 2018, we'll have samples of the shiraz until they finish fermentation.
Rowena, Emma, Nico, Steph & Marissa.
The Cellar Door Team love the buzz of Vintage. There's so much energy, anticipation & activity in the area, & it flows into the Cellar Door. The drive to work includes dodging tractors & trucks laden with bins of fruit & the vineyards are full of colourful pickers.
You'll find us calling into the winery each day on the way to work to catch up with the crush of the day, to taste the juice & get the latest info so we can share it with visitors; and we love any opportunity to drop into Braemore to see how "our" vineyard is going. If we're lucky we get the call inviting us to don our work boots to spend a few hours as a "Winery Rat" working alongside Thommo, Scotty & Team.
So how does the 2018 Vintage look? Thommo tells us it's going to be a "cracker". The season has been "ideal with warm, dry days"; he's certainly got a grin on his face.We started picking our Semillon about a week earlier than last year (with the last of the Semillon coming off today) & we'll start the Shiraz tomorrow.
It's a great time to visit us in Cellar Door, we have grapes, juices or ferments to taste so you can follow the journey from the vineyard to the bottle. We hope to see you soon.
Rowena, Emma, Nico, Marissa, Steph & Andy