BROKENWOOD WINES – BRINGING THE HUNTER VALLEY TO HONG KONG
We caught up with Simon Steele of Hunter Valley’s Brokenwood Wines during his recent visit to Hong Kong and got the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a winemaker.
As a winemaker you must travel a lot. What is your top tip for avoiding jetlag? Only sleep for 3 hour intervals, drink 1-2 liters of water with hydrolyte and walk and stretch often.
What is your favourite wine region? Why? Burgundy; for access to the greatest wines in the world, the food, the people.
Tell us what inspired you to become a winemaker. I needed to find a career that allowed me to be challenged, use my nose, use my hands and drink great wine. There weren’t many alternative career paths!
What is the best thing about Australian wine? Diversity of style is key. We have great history, dating back to the Busby collection brought over to Australia in the 18th century. The lack of DOC/commune regulation has meant we as winemakers have been able to explore sites, soils and climates and match them to variety. This has led to many failures, but also the odd triumph. For example the Semillon in the Hunter Valley, the Muscats and Tokays of Rutherglen and the Rieslings of Clare and Eden Valleys.
Explain the history of Brokenwood; what does the brand stand for? We began as a hobby for three high profile Sydney solicitors, one of them being James Halliday. They brought in their friends in 1969 and planted the first vines, made the first wines and had a huge amount of fun. To this day our mission statement is to “Make great wine and have fun”. It’s an incredibly rewarding company to be involved with for all our customers, club members and staff. We never advertise but we host, feed and hydrate our supporters often!
What have you most enjoyed experiencing in Hong Kong? Hong Kong Cricket Club was a classic spot and we are hoping to set up a Brokenwood trade cricket event there in 2015.
What is your favourite bar or restaurant in Hong Kong? Too many to choose from. The Penthouse restaurant was a great dinner venue and Hay Hay Kitchen for street food Peking duck.
What will you look forward to when you next visit Hong Kong? More fine cuisine, a trip to hike in the mountains in the morning and a couple of rooftop dry martinis one evening would be perfect.
Palate: A much lower alcohol due to the year and as a result more of the citrus/grassy character than tropical fruit with the oak rounding out the herbaceous edge.
Finish: A very good acid line and this adds to a loveliness on the finish
Serving Suggestion: Definitely a wine to chill and enjoy in the short term. Pair with a dozen freshly shucked oysters and a whole baked barramundi for lunch or a spicy Asian laksa for dinner.
CMW Value Rating: 87/100
Palate: Mid weight palate with some Cabernet Sauvignon cedar up front that leads to soft Shiraz richness and a touch of vanillin oaky flavours.
Finish: A long sweet finish with great balance.
Serving Suggestion: A drink now style that will serve well with rich seafood, pasta and light meat dishes.
CMW Value Rating: 89/100; James Halliday Score: 90 points
Palate: A sweet fruit palate of lime and apple and an excellent acid structure ensuring it will last for years adding increased honey and toast characters the longer you leave it.
Finish: Great fruit intensity with a good clean finish.
Serving Suggestion: This is an outstanding young Hunter valley Semillon and great drinking now and will age gracefully if a more mature style is desired. Great with Asian foods and fresh seafood.
CMW Value Rating: 91/100; James Halliday Score: 94 points
Palate: Seamless palate combining ripe tannins, dark berry/chocolate Shiraz fruit and perfect oak.
Finish: Some “Turkish Delight” sweet fruit at the start, long finish with an almost spicy after palate.
Serving Suggestion: A classic McLaren Vale Shiraz to be enjoyed with succulent prime beef.
CMW Value Rating: 95/100; James Halliday Score: 94+ points
Nose: Being mostly from McLaren Vale there is plenty of dark berry aroma with the sweet oak marrying well. Some spice and Christmas pudding characters as well.
Palate: The palate is rich and long. Liqueur cherry flavours, some oak. The tannins are quite soft and ripe, nothing ‘firm’ about this wine at all.
Finish: Great complexity and a nice smooth finish.
Serving Suggestion: Drink now or over the medium term, 4-6 years. Excellent with rich meats and cheeses.
CMW Value Rating: 92/100; James Halliday Score: 92 points
Palate: A perfect supple, medium bodied palate. Savoury notes and red fruits. The oak is a touch forward (not long after bottling) but will settle and there is enough fruit to match it.
Finish: The tannins are soft but sufficient to give length and drive to the finish.
Serving Suggestion: Drinking well now but will improve with further bottle age. Serve with veal, duck and cheese dishes.
CMW Value Rating: 93/100; James Halliday Score: 97 points
Palate: At 2 years old on release, bran meal/vanillan oak is evident with sufficient fruit to balance. Fruit characters are in the red savoury spectrum, almost cherry compote like.
Finish: The flavoursome palate follows on to a medium bodied palate with plenty of sweet fruit on the finish.
Serving Suggestion: Drinking well now but will improve with further cellar time. Enjoy with really good friends and slow cooked Osso Bucco or lamb shoulder.
CMW Value Rating: 97/100; James Halliday Score: 97 points; Robert Parker Score: 94 points
EXCEPTIONAL STATUS Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine V
97 POINTS Australian Wine Companion 2014, James Halliday
97 POINTS Weekend Australian – Food & Wine, James Halliday
94 POINTS Parker Scores, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
93 POINTS Int. Wine Cellar Best New Wines from Australia, Josh Raynold
Cellarmaster Wines, bringing Brokenwood Wines to Hong Kong.