Background: The name Pokolbin as legend has it, is derived from the early Hungarian migrant settlers to the area and means ‘hot as hell’ or ‘hell hole’, referring to the hot, dry and sometimes inhospitable summers that regularly top 45º C.
Fruit Source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a north facing block on the low yielding. 39 year old Howard family’s “Somerset” vineyard in Pokolbin.
Fermentation & Maturation: The fruit was fermented in open vats and then pressed into French oak hogsheads and matured for 18 months. The wine was then bottled with minimum filtration. Because of this, over time a harmless crust may appear in the bottle.
Winemakers Comments: 2005 is a superb Hunter red vintage and one of the best we have seen at Meerea Park in our 16 years. The wines have the fruit power of the famed 2003 vintage but also have wonderfully soft tannins that make them very balanced and highly drinkable upon release. This softness should not inhibit their cellaring capability.
Deep crimson in colour; aromas of blackberries, cherries and vanilla spice on the nose. The very long, medium bodied palate shows the same as the nose with more cherry, blackberry and creamy vanilla oak and is superbly balanced with everything where it should be. The best ‘Hell Hole’ Shiraz release to date.
Cellaring: Medium to long term. 10 years .
What the experts say:
“Meerea Park Hell Hole Shiraz 2005 ($55): Juicy and perfumed and delicious – and unmistakably Hunter. It’s earthy, cherried and beautifully balanced, the oak far in the background. Hints of earthen game, and volatile acidity, are detectable, but minute. The fruit here has a glossy, polished, luminous shine to it, and the more I look at it the more I adore it. This wine is aromatic and divine. It is a mediumbodied wine that I would love to become acquainted with, often. It’s an outstanding example of old school, top quality Hunter shiraz”. Drink: 2009-2017.
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – www.winefront.com.au – April 2007.
“I know most commentators prefer the 05 Alexander Munro (Lincoln included) to this wine but I’ll stand my ground and plant my flag firmly in the medium bodied Hunter earth. Some things are worth standing up for (every now and then mind ) and this wine is a beauty. Aromas of blackberry, ripe cherry, pepper, earth, violets and toasty vanilla oak. On the palate medium to full bodied with rich ripe blackberry, sweet cherry, vanilla cream, spice and more earthy flavours. It has a super supple texture with magnificent creamy tannins and enormous length of flavour. Everything in place for a classic cellaring style although it is so well balanced you might have difficulty keeping your hands off it”.
Rated : 96 Points.
Gary Walsh – Winorama – www.winorama.com.au – May 2007.
“The Eather brothers, Rhys and Garth, have a family tradition in Hunter winemaking stretching back to the mid-19th century but their wines are very much at the forefront of modern Hunter style. This 100 per cent shiraz is based on specific vineyards, and is a bright, ripe-fruit style with a lick of nicely handled oak. All Meerea park shirazes are at the more powerful end of Hunter style”.
Huon Hooke – SMH Good Living – 4th March 2008
“A silky, fluid mouthfeel, with undulations of red fruits and supple tannins; though only light to medium-bodied, has all the flavour one could wish for. To 2020.”
James Halliday – 2009 Wine Companion