wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)

Bimbadgen Estate
Lot 21, McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2321
Phone: (02) 4998 7585 Fax: (02) 4998 7732
Web: www.bimbadgen.com.au

Another new venture on an impressive scale, Bimbadgen's first vintage was as recently as 1998. Beautifully sited at the northern end of Pokolbin, the winery and cellar door is an impressive construction with an Mediterranean feel to it. There is also a restaurant attached, which I didn't try but which looks inviting. I got a great reception here and enjoyed the wines, which are divided into three ranges: the 'Grand Ridge Estate' (non-Hunter, least expensive), 'Bimbadgen Estate' (more expensive) and the premium 'Signature' series.

1998 Estate Semillon (A$17.50)
Varietally typical nose with citrus character. Crisp. Good.

1998 Signature Semillon ($A22.50)
Unoaked again. Crisp, herbaceous and very good. Will age well?

1998 Estate Chardonnay ($17.50)
Spicy nose with toasty oak. Crisp and savoury on the palate. Fresh, with good balance. Good.

1998 Signature Chardonnay (A$22.50)
Attractive nose with toasty oak. Savoury and tight-knit on palate. Good fruit. Well made wine; very good.

1999 Grand Ridge Verdelho (A$12.50)
Big floral, pretty nose with peach and melon notes. Attractive but slightly 'techno' wine. Dry and reasonably full on palate. Good.

1998 Estate Verdelho (A$17.50)
Subdued nose, but rich and fat on palate with good fruit and a touch of spice. Good.

1998 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (A$18.50)
Light and unusual nose. Pretty, sweet and herby. High acidity -- almost an Italian-style wine.

1998 Estate Shiraz (A$18.50)
Another soft-textured, high acid wine. Fresh peppery fruit . Light and spicy. Good food wine. Good.

1998 Signature Chardonnay (A$28.00)
Nicely lifted spicy nose. On palate, rich texture with peppery notes and firm tannins. Quite high acidity. Good.

Verdict: Consistently good range. On the whole, the whites are better than the reds, which are a touch light. One to watch.

Tamburlaine Wines
McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2320
Phone: (02) 4998 7570 Fax: (02) 4998 7763
Web: www.tamburlaine.com.au

Established 34 years ago, this is a smallish operation producing some good wines, especially the whites which are uniformly good. I received a friendly reception.

1999 Semillon (A$16.00)
A pleasant unoaked Semillon with a lifted nose of citrus and nice palate. Approachable now, this wine will be best after several years bottle age. Really good stuff.

1999 Verdelho (A$17.00)
Nice, lifted varietally typical nose. Peachy fruit and good texture on the palate. Nice stuff and a good food wine with clean fruit. Very good.

1999 Late Harvest Verdelho (A$14.00)
Varietally typical nose. Richer on the palate, with tropical fruit, grapey notes and a touch of honey. Very good and another food compatible wine.

1999 'Three Parishes' Chardonnay (A$16.00)
Made from lower Hunter fruit and sees new American oak. Pleasant 'boiled sweets' nose with ripe fruit. Lightly oaked and slightly 'techno'; nevertheless this is good, typical soft Chardonnay.

1999 'The Chapel' Chardonnay Reserve (A$22.00)
Lifted nose of toast and vanilla from the new American oak. There's a touch of coconut on the palate, joined by strong tropical fruit elements. Good, well put together stuff, but quite oaky.

1999 Petite Fleur (A$14)
This fruity rose wine is a blend of Pinot Noir, Durif, Chambourcin and Muscadelle. Bright pink colour with a huge nose of sweet strawberry fruit. Very distinctive: the intense palate it is dominated by juicy cherry fruit. Nice summer glugger.

1999 Cabernet Merlot
60/40 blend, with 1 year in new and old American oak. Deep red/purple colour with fresh, sweet berry fruits on the nose. Clean and fruit driven on the palate, there are some distinctive herbaceous Merlot characters. It is a bright, fruity red that needs some time to resolve before I'll pass judgement on it.

1999 Barrique blend (A$18)
Mostly cabernet and a touch of Syrah, aged in older American oak. Deep red/purple colour. Lovely, slightly stinky nose. This is a wine with real character. Soft fruit and some tannins. Nice wine with some personality, very good.

1999 'The Chapel' Reserve (A$22.00)
The flagship blend, predominantly Syrah with some Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in a mix of French and American oak. Bright purple colour. Attractive nose combining intense berry fruit with a ripe, sweet herbal element. On the palate rich and juicy with some vanilla oak and a dry finish. Young and intense now this may develop nicely with some years in bottle.

1999 Botrytis Semillon (A$18.00)
Yellow/gold colour, with a lovely, lifted botrytis nose with apricot and marmalade. Rich, intense, fat textured and with good acidity. Very good.

Old Muscat (NV) (A$16)
This is from Hunter grapes and is made by a Solera system, with wine up to 15 years old. Very light brown in colour, with a sweet raisined nose. Very soft and sweet on palate. OK.

Framboise Raspberry Liqueur (A$16)
A well made framboise. It tastes and smells, as you might expect, of concentrated raspberries, with a huge acid kick. Very good example.


PO Box 182, Cessnock 2325
Phone: (02) 4990 1704 Fax: (02) 4991 1344

A small (10-12 000 cases per year), beautifully situated winery at the end of Mount View Road, Petersons makes some of the best wines in the Hunter. The reds, in particular, are exceptional. What a shame, therefore, that here I got one of the worst receptions in the Valley, with disinterested, surly staff. I'm sure this is not typical, but even if it were, it would be well worth visiting both for the view and more importantly the quality of the wines.

1997 Semillon (A$19.50)
Attractive wine with citrus fruit character. This is already showing some development. Fresh and very good.

1998 Shirley Chardonnay (A$28.00)
Big nutty nose with some oak. Quite tight structure; pleasant stuff. Quite heavy oaking and could do with some bottle age.

1998/99 Cuvee Chardonnay (A$19.50)
Attractive coconut/nutty nose. This is an earlier drinking style of Chardonnay. Rich and full flavoured, this also has quite a tight structure. Very good.

1998 Chardonnay/Verdelho (A$15.00)
A rather unorthodox blend, but this makes a soft, fruity, full flavoured wine with good food compatibility.

1998 Verdelho (A$18.50)
Lovely lifted nose with apricots, peaches and melon character. On the palate the fruit is joined by some nutty and spicy notes. Lovely stuff. Very good +.

1998 Cabernet Sauvignon (A$23.00)
Really nice nose of blackcurrant fruit. On the palate this is fruity and supple, with real depth and firm tannins. Superb, and drinking very well now. Excellent.

1998 Back Block Pinot Noir (A$33.00)
Deep red purple colour. Rich and intense wine with firm tannins and ripe red fruits. There's some oak and plenty of complexity. Stunning stuff, and unusually big and structured for a Pinot. Excellent.

1998 Shiraz (A$23.00)
Red/black colour. Tannic and concentrated, with a lovely rich texture and nose. Very good+.

1998 Back Block Shiraz (A$36.00)
Concentrated red/black colour. Intense nose; herby and rich with some oak evident. On the palate it is ripe, rich and concentrated. Needs some time to show its best, but has the potential to become sensationally good. Excellent.

1998 Back Block Cabernet Sauvignon
This has only been in bottle for a month. It is a deep red/black colour, with a big nose of blackcurrant and spice. Richly textured, with a herby complexity to the fruit and a touch of herbaceousness. Densely tannic. Very good.

Hunter River Riesling NV (A$13.00)
Despite the name, this is actually a late-picked Semillon. Sweet nose, with some marmalade notes. Sweet on palate, with a rounded, fat texture. OK.

1997 Botrytis Semillon (A$25.00)
This comes from a 10 acre plot in the Riverina region. Golden colour. Beautiful nose of apricots and marmalade; rich fat texture with good balancing acidity. Very good.

Muscat NV (A$18)
Half Hunter fruit, half Rutherglen. Lovely rich nose of raisins. Nutty, rich and complex with a big fat texture on the palate. Good.

Boutique Wine Centre: Glenguin, Meerea Park and others

Owned by the Tedder brothers, Glenguin is a recently extablished operation making wines sourced from low-yielding (2 tons/hectare) vineyards in the Hunter Valley and also in the up-coming Orange region, across the dividing range. The first vintage was 1996. I was really impressed by these wines; in particular the individual vineyard reds were sensationally good.

1999 Semillon (A$17.50)
Light, tight and lean, with the usual varietal character. Very lean at the moment; may evolve nicely.

1997 Unoaked Chardonnay (A$16.00)
Really nice lifted nose, with a touch of honey and nuttiness. Light and fresh. Good.

1998 Chardonnay Individual Vineyard (A$19.50)
Barrel fermented. Again, there is a touch of honey against the background of barrel-ferment character. There is a little bit of citrus there, too. Very lean style; quite tight at the moment. Good.

1998 Shiraz Individual Vineyard, Hunter Valley (A$30.00)
Deep purple/black colour. Lovely lifted nose, with some porty, herby notes. Great concentration. Rich, soft wine but with some sweet oak and structure. Very good+.

1998 Merlot Individual Vineyard, Orange (A$30.00)
Lifted sweet nose of raspberries. Really intense stuff. Very good.

1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Individual Vineyard, Orange (A$30.00)
Beautiful nose of blackcurrant. Soft and herby. Rich on palate with good concentration; intense and menthol-laced. Very good+.

Meerea Park
A very impressive up-and-coming producer, whose flagship wine, the Alexandra Munro Shiraz, is brilliant.

1997 Forefathers' Chardonnay (A$16.50)
Nice spicy/oaky nose. Good fruit and pleasant drinking. Good.

1998 Alexander Munro Chardonnay (A$25)
Rich, spicy wine with good concentration. Well judged French oak. Nice stuff.

1999 Semillon (A$16.50)
Plenty of upfront character on the nose. On the palate it is herbacous but still fruity. Good.

1998 Cabernet Merlot (A$19.50)
Concentrated red/purple colour. Rich, soft and concentrated with intense fruit. Ripe, rich and full. Excellent.

1997 Alexandra Munro Shiraz (A$40)
Massively concetrated wine with red/black/puple colour. Rich, with strong menthol tones. Spicy and dense, this is currently pretty tannic and needs time to show its best. Excellent.

Chāteau Pāto
Another impressive small producer, established by the late David Paterson and now continued by his son Nicholas. I tried just two wines, but they were fantastic, individual wines.

Shiraz 1998 (A$32)
Knockout intensity. Soft, concentrated and spicy. Absolutely sensational menthol-laced wine: tannic and stunning; incredibly good. Excellent.

Pinot Noir 1997 (A$25)
Deep purple/red colour. Medicinal, herby nose. Full and herby on the palate. Unusual, individual wine, with real appeal. Very good.


Macquariedale Estate 1998 Thomas Shiraz, Hunter Valley (A$23.50)
Ross McDonald is the owner and wine maker here. Deep purple black colour. Rich, herby lifted nose with a porty edge. Herby palate with a sweetness to it. Concentrated and still tannic, this is a lovely, individual wine of real character. Very good.