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JOHN ROZENTALS is gob-smacked by the unexpected arrival of a couple of fiftieths.

April 1, 2019 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

A couple of emails over the past couple of weeks have come at me like missiles. How could wineries such as Mudgee’s Huntington Estate and McLaren Vale’s Coriole possibly be celebrating their fiftieth birthdays this year.

Why, I remember their respective founders, Bob Roberts and Mark Lloyd, as fearless young men taking on — and often defeating — their much senior, and much larger, industry adversaries.

And my twin daughters had been conceived in the Roberts’s spare bedroom while I was working the 1979 vintage at Huntington.

What I tend to forget is that those daughters now have children of their own and are in their mid-30s. My, how quickly time passes when you’re not looking.

Huntington Estate is certainly looking forward to celebrating its fiftieth, and has released a Huntington Estate 2017 Cabernet Shiraz (see tasting notes) as part of the celebration.

Cabernet sauvignon and shiraz have been a mainstay of the Mudgee winery since it was established by solicitor Bob and Wendy Roberts in 1969.

These original 50-year-old vineyard blocks continue to supply many of the best red grapes for the winery, and the new custodians, Tim and Nicky Stevens, are committed to carrying on the winemaking philosophy of Bob Roberts.

Bob was quoted as saying: “Nature must never be forced. The lower the yield, the more intense the flavour. We keep our yields low, preferring to supply quality to a few, than insipid wine to many. We do not force the growth of the grapes. We do not hurry the wine.”

This winemaking philosophy continues under the careful guidance of winemaker and owner Tim Stevens.

“We make wines that can be tested with time in the cellar; styles that are generated in the vineyard, not through some passing fad,” said Tim.


Windowrie 2017 Family Reserve Chardonnay ($35): This dry white has been fashioned by winemaker Anthony D’Onise in a thoroughly modern style from grapes established in 1987 adjacent to the family company’s headquarters near Canowindra in the NSW Central West. It’s a lighter style of chardonnay, with figgy fruit flavours balanced by unobtrusive oak.

Windowrie 2017 Family Reserve Pinot Noir ($35): The grapes for this wine come from an altitude of near 950 metres on the outskirts of Orange. It’s a red that shows its cool-climate origins in its meticulous balance and light, but quite intense, fruit flavours. Look for berrylike flavours that go seamlessly with a range of duck-based dishes and also freshly sautéed mushrooms.


Huntington Estate 2017 Cabernet Shiraz ($32): The blending of the red varieties cabernet sauvignon and shiraz is classically Australian, with winemaker Tim Stevens describing the former as providing the wine’s structure, line and length, while the latter fills out the mid-palate. I think it also provides softness and generosity to a long-living dry red. Drink over the coming winter with flavoursome, hearty casseroles.

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