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Following eased restrictions announced by the NSW Government, Hunter Valley Wine Country is open for business to Regional NSW residents. For opening hours of individual Wine Country businesses, please contact the business direct. Please ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest travel advice and current restrictions by visiting the NSW Government website.

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HUNTER VALLEY BLOG

With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

Follow our insider tips by the people who know best… the locals. We ask talented winemakers, chefs, farmers, brewers and journalists to blog about their favourite places and experiences in this fertile wine region.

Honouring Hunter Valley Shiraz on International Shiraz Day 2021

22 July is the day to shine for one of the Hunter Valley's most popular varietals. Step forward, Hunter Valley Shiraz.

To honour International Shiraz Day, we sat down this week, in the birthplace of Shiraz in Australia, with Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines.

Andrew, award-winning Hunter Valley winemaker, shared with us his expert knowledge on Shiraz and let us know what we can expect to see at this year's Hunter Valley Wine Show (hint: there should be some outstanding wine!).

Shiraz is certainly the signature red variety of
the Hunter Valley, so it comes as no surprise that it dominates the entries
at the Hunter Valley Wine Show each year.

Andrew Thomas, Thomas Wines

What can we expect from the Hunter Valley Shiraz vintage 2021?

After four years of drought conditions, we experienced some good rainfall throughout the growing season to the end of 2020, and this led to better than average yields in 2021. A relatively cool summer extended the ripening period resulting in excellent colour and flavour development. Hunter Valley winemakers currently have their 2021 Shiraz quietly maturing in barrel and most will be at looking to bottle them sometime during the first half of next year.

What should we look out for at this year's Wine Show in terms of the Shiraz variety?

Shiraz is certainly the signature red variety of the Hunter Valley, so it comes as no surprise that it dominates the entries each year. For the upcoming 2021 show, Shiraz and Shiraz dominant blends account for approximately 85% of all wines entered in the red wine classes. We expect to see some great wines from Class 17 (2019 vintage Shiraz), which is great for consumers as it is widely considered to be an outstanding Hunter vintage and most of these wines are also currently available. There should also be a few gems from the equally outstanding 2018 and 2017 vintages in Class 18 (2018 and older Shiraz), as well as Class 26 (Museum reds 2013 and older).

How is the Hunter Valley Shiraz different from other Australian Shiraz?

Shiraz is by far Australia's number one red grape varietal, and it is planted in almost every wine region across the country. It is well suited to a wide range of climatic conditions, and the styles produced are quite diverse depending on where they are grown and can provide a real sense of place. The Hunter Valley does not produce the 'high octane sweet fruit bomb' styles of some other (particularly South Australian) regions, rather our style is quite proudly and uniquely medium bodied, with bright red and blue fruit characteristics, with a long and savoury textured palate. Whilst most of the Shiraz produced here can be enjoyed within the first few years following their release, the very best examples have some remarkable long term cellaring potential.

Last year saw Shiraz won big at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, one of the nation's oldest and prestigious shows, with De Iuliis Wines winning the Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy Best Red Wine Best Red of Show for its 2018 De Iuliis Wines Talga Road Shiraz. Other Shiraz winners at the Wine Show included:

Alexander Munro Trophy
Best Current and One Year Old Shiraz – Thomas Wines 2019 Elenay Shiraz

Elliott Family Trophy
Best Two Year Old Shiraz – De Iuliis 2018 Talga Road Vineyard Shiraz

James Busby Memorial Trophy
Best Mature Three Year old and Older Shiraz – Margan Aged Release 2017 Timbervines Shiraz

John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy
Best Museum Red Wine – Tyrrell's 2007 Vat Shiraz

Best Other Red Trophy
Best Other Red Varietal or Blended Red Wine – De Iuliis 2019 LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga Nacional

Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy
Best Shiraz- De Iuliis Wines 2018 Talga Road Vineyard Shiraz

Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance
Tyrrell's Four Acres Shiraz 2007, 2014 and 2018

We continue to closely monitor the ongoing situation across Regional NSW and remain hopeful that judging for the Hunter Valley Wine Show will take place 16-18 August, with the announcement of results and major awards on Friday 20 August.

Visit hunterwineshow.com.au for full details.

Thomas Wines 2019 Elenay Shiraz

Tyrrell's 2007 Vat 8 Shiraz

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