Wine review — Hewitson Barossa Valley

Hewitson Barossa Valley Miss Harry 2007 $22
Meet Miss Harry, the softest, easiest going of Dean Hewitson’s wine family, an extraordinary line up of the Barossa’s time-proven red varieties – grenache, shiraz and mourvedre.  Miss Harry combines all three. She’s built on fragrant, juicy grenache, backed by solid rich shiraz and spicy, firm mourvedre (aka mataro). Dean fermented the three varieties separately, finishing off the ferments in old French-oak barrels, where they matured on yeast lees for fifteen months. The result is a vibrantly fruity but complete and mellow red offering extraordinary quality for the price. Miss Harry includes fruit from vines dating back to the late 19th century.

Hewitson Barossa Ned & Henry’s Barossa Valley Shiraz 2007 $26
It’s labelled ‘shiraz’ but in fact contains a small portion of mourvedre (less than 15% or it’d have to be labelled ‘shiraz mourvedre’). The mourvedre is an important addition as it moves the wine into new territory – from robust but soft and tender Barossa shiraz into a more spicy, savoury zestier style. It’s built on Barossa shiraz’s ripe, chocolaty fruit flavours, but there’s a   unique, racy edge to Ned & Henry’s which may be partly attributable to the use of French oak, not just to mourvedre. Whatever’s behind the flavours, it’s an exciting wine at a fair price.

Hewitson Barossa Baby Bush Mourvedre 2007 $28
Hewitson Barossa Old Garden Mourvedre 2007 $70

Back in 1853 Friedrich Koch planted mourvedre vines on a sandy site at what we now call Rowland Flat, in the southern Barossa Valley. Koch’s descendents still hand prune and harvest those extraordinary old vines (each an individual bush) and the fruit goes to ‘Old Garden’. It’s a magnificent, powerful-but-elegant red that’s seamlessly absorbed its maturation in new French oak barrels. The delightfully named ‘Baby Bush’ shows a fruitier, less complex face of the variety. It’s made from a younger vineyard (planted with cuttings from the old vines) and matured in older barrels previously used for ‘Old Garden’. These are great gems (and wonderful to drink). See www.hewitson.com.au

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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