Shiraz

This is our entry level Shiraz and a great value wine at that. Even though it is exceptionally well priced, it still receives our full attention in the winery enjoying maturation in used French and American oak barrels. Usually a blend from vineyards in the Hunter Valley and the cool climate Hilltops region in New South Wales, but when suitable fruit is unavailable, we source from other well know Shiraz growing regions.

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2014

2014 Shiraz - FSRegion: Hilltops (90%) Hunter Valley (10%)

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: This Shiraz from our ‘Vintner’ range is usually a NSW regional blend that features the cool climate Hilltops G.I. fruit, with 2005 the first vintage released.

Fruit source: The ‘Terra Australis’ vineyard at Kingsvale in the Hilltops region and the ’Lochleven’ vineyard in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: Both parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, this wine was matured in used French oak barrels for 17 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: The 2014 vintages in both Hilltops and the Hunter Valley were very good to exceptional. The Shiraz grapes produced have made a substantial, highly flavoured, but balanced wine.

Tasting note: Deep crimson in colour, a hint to the aromas of ripe dark and black berry fruits. The vanillan oak is just a hint alongside the rich fruit. The palate is medium to full-bodied and loaded with layers of flavour. The tannins are fine and supple and well integrated. A great value for money Shiraz.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes.

2013

2013-Shiraz---25-tn[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops (70%)   Hunter Valley (30%)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background:This Shiraz from our ‘Vintner’ range is usually a NSW regional blend that features the cool climate Hilltops G.I. fruit, with 2005 the first vintage released.

Fruit source: The ‘Terra Australis’ vineyard at Kingsvale in the Hilltops region and the ’Lochleven’ vineyard in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: Both parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, the wine was matured in used French and American oak barrels for 16 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: The 2013 vintages in both Hilltops and Hunter were back on track and of good enough quality to be used for this blend. Yields were down in both regions.

Tasting note: A glossy crimson in the glass. Scents of ripe dark berry fruits and spicy oak on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied but packed with layers of flavour. The tannins are fine and supple and well integrated. A great value for money Shiraz.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes.

2012

shiraz_2012_new[1]Wine Notes

Region: Central Ranges (75%)   Clare Valley (25%)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: This Shiraz is usually a NSW regional blend that features the cool climate Hilltops G.I. fruit. In 2011 due to the difficult vintage conditions in southern NSW, it was 100% Hunter Valley and now from the Central Ranges (Rylestone) and Clare Valley to maintain the quality we strive for.

Fruit source: Established Shiraz vineyards at Rylestone (Central Ranges G.I. in NSW) and the Clare Valley in South Australia.

Fermentation: Both parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, the wine was matured in used French and American oak barrels for 12 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: The Hunter Valley and Hilltops regions suffered badly from the continued wet conditions of the 2012 Summer. The rainfall combined with the cooler than normal temperatures slowed the ripening of all but Semillon to the point where rot and mildew took over. The advantage of regional blends meant we were able to get ripe and disease free fruit from Rylestone near Mudgee and the Clare Valley who had very good vintage conditions.

Tasting note: Dark crimson in colour; aromas of Mocha and dark berry fruits, spice and light toasty oak on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied but flavoursome and smooth. Tannins are ripe and fine and have integrated well into the wine. A great value for money Shiraz.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes.

2011

2011%20Shiraz%20-%20120[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: This Shiraz is usually a regional blend that uses the cool climate Hilltops area fruit. In 2011 due to the difficult vintage conditions in southern NSW, it is 100% Hunter Valley.

Fruit source: Various Hunter Valley Shiraz vineyards.

Fermentation: All parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, the wine was  matured in used French and American oak barrels for 13 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: Late 2010 was very wet which put doubt over the 2011 Hunter Valley vintage. Luckily January and February was very warm and dry and the grapes that were unaffected by the earlier wet weather, ripened to make wines of excellent quality, of all varieties.

Tasting note: Vibrant crimson colour in the glass; aromas of Mulberry and red-berry fruits, spice and light toasty oak on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied but very flavoursome with the red-berry fruits carrying through. Tannins are fine and well integrated into the wine.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes.

2010

S-2010[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops (80%) & Hunter Valley (20%)

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions (appellations) sets it apart from the Old World and gives us an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit source: The ‘Terra Australis’ vineyard at Young in the Hilltops GI, and the ‘Ben Ean’ and ‘Somerset’ vineyards in the Hunter Valley were the fruit source for the 2010 vintage release.

Fermentation: All parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, the wine was  matured in used French and American oak barrels for 12 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: 2010 continues the good Hilltops vintage run with an equally good vintage for Shiraz in the Hunter. The 2010 Hilltops Shiraz fruit, while not as ripe as the 2009 vintage, is more in line with this style of wine.

Tasting note: Bright crimson hue in the glass; aromas of red fruits, spice and black pepper on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied and juicy. Tannins are fine and well managed in a wine that  over-delivers in all respects.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes.

What the experts say:

“From the Meerea Park website: “The ‘Terra Australis’ vineyard at Young in the Hilltops GI, and the ‘Ben Ean’ and ‘Somerset’ vineyards in the Hunter Valley were the fruit source for the 2010 vintage release.” It’s 80 percent Hilltops and the remainder Hunter Valley shiraz.
This 2010 is another solid release from Meerea Park. The value run continues. It’s cherry-plummed and earthen with a sweet spot of raspberry/raisin and a whisper of spicy oak. It’s a slightly lighter year and the oak has largely been backed off; it’s a ripe, fresh, fruit-driven little number. It’s not a blockbuster – thankfully – but it’s good value buying once again.”

Rated : 89 Points

Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – June 2011

“A blend of Hilltops and Hunter Valley shiraz, reflecting Rhys Eather’s view that the former region can provide more bang for the buck at this price point, partly because the Hilltops can reliably produce better yields than the Hunter Valley without sacrificing quality. There is real synergy between the two regions: red and black fruits, spices and pepper are all present on the medium-bodied palate and silky finish. Drink it now or significantly later.”

Rated: 89

James Halliday – Australian Wine Companion – November 2011

2009

S-2009[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops (77%) & Hunter Valley (23%)

Alcohol: 14.5%

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions (appellations) sets it apart from the Old World and gives us an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit source: Vineyards at Young in the Hilltops GI, and the Hunter Valley located in New South Wales were the fruit source for the 2009 vintage release.

Fermentation: All parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily.

Maturation: Post fermentation, the wine was matured in used French and American oak barrels for 13 months and then blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: 2009 was another great vintage for the Hilltops region in New South Wales and a very good Hunter Valley red vintage also. Dry and warm weather during March in Hilltops resulted in a problem free harvest producing ripe flavoursome fruit.

Tasting note: A powerful nose of dark cherry, plum, licorice and black pepper with a hint of oak visible. The medium-full bodied palate has fresh sweet fruit, fine tannins, length and structure.

This is a wine that greatly over-delivers in all respects.

Cellaring estimate: Short to medium term.

Suggested food match: Red meat dishes and aged cheeses.

What the experts say:

“Meerea Park’s Hilltops/Hunter Valley shiraz blend has proven enormously popular in recent years. Rightly so. 2009 was a fantastic year in Hilltops.

Sweet, violetty, jube-like fragrance bursts from the glass. It’s alive and kicking right from the get-go. It tastes of liqueured cherries and blackberries, subtle spice and subtle, toasty oak. Really though it’s about pure, essence-like fruit flavour, served fresh and medium bodied and delicious. Velvety tannins keep it tidy. Fantastic quaffing.”

Rated : 91 Points

Campbell Mattinson – The Winefront – 9th June 2010

2008

S-2008[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops / Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14%

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions / appellations sets it apart from the Old World and gives it an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit Source: Vineyards at Young in the Hilltops GI, and the Hunter Valley located in New South Wales were the fruit source for the 2008 vintage release.

Fermentation & Maturation: All parcels of fruit were kept separate and fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily and then matured in used French and American oak barrels. After 12 months the components were blended to reach the desired style.

Winemaker’s comments: 2008 whilst being a challenging Hunter Valley (red) vintage, was one of the best in the Hilltops region for 10 years according to many locals. The amount of Hunter Valley Shiraz in the blend has been reduced as compared to previous vintages due to the above.

Tasting Note: Lifted red berry aromas with black pepper and spice encompassed by minimal oak. Medium-bodied, but packed with vibrant, ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins.

This is a wine that greatly over-delivers in all respects.

Cellaring: Short to medium term.

What the experts say:

Bargain of the week. “A terrific value red from the Eather brothers, made from Hilltops and Hunter grapes. It’s a lovely, fresh, bright, fruit-forward red with nicely ripened dark berries and spices to sniff. A lighter, soft, early-drinking style and very enjoyable. Now to five years.”
88 / 100.

Huon Hooke – SMH Good Living – 21st April 2009

“Meerea Park is one of a lively group of family wineries in the Hunter Valley working hard to re-establish some of the great traditions of the region. Rhys and Garth Eather take fruit from a range of local growers and offers shiraz and semillon at different price points. Meerea Park ‘Alexander Munro’ and ‘Hell Hole’ are expensive, ageworthy and impressive single site wines. This is the Meerea Park entry level red: vibrant, juicy mulberry and raspberry flavours, smooth texture, medium-body and fine, gentle tannins. An attractive early-drinking style at a fair price.”

Rating: Bloody Good.

Peter Forrestal – www.quaff.com.au – 1st May 2009

“Impressive purple red colour – looks really fresh with meaty complexity across violets and purple berry fruit. Elegant and bright palate with good acidity and more meaty nuances, supple, medium weight and balanced. A drink now style.”
91 Points.

Nick Stock – Wine 100 – May 2009

“Meerea Park’s excursion into the Hilltops region has been highly successful, and this 2008 is excellent too. One of the bargains of the year.

The balance, flavour and presentation are top-drawer for a wine of this price. Juicy, spicy and fresh – it tastes of pepper steak spread with a mix of raspberry and blackberry jam. It has a lick of dry tannin and good flavour – all clean, sweet, berried fruit. Vibrant too. Finishes saucy and tasty. A clear ‘buy’.”

Rated : 92 Points.

Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front

“A wine of power and finesse, reflecting cool-grown material. The palate is long and beautifully balanced, delivering rich dark fruits flavour. This is a bargain blend of Hunter and Hilltops material.” OUTSTANDING.

Winewise – August 2009

“For a cool, savoury Shiraz from the bargain basement, this is a very cleverly assembled wine with very few like-priced peers. It’s a spicy, peppery, gamey Shiraz with leathery complexity overlaying its berry/plum fruits. Oak is subtle, tannins are fine and balanced and it has impressive length and poise.”

91 Points.

Tyson Stelzer – Wine 100 – August 2009

“A blend of Hunter Valley/Hilltops which comes together very well, the Hilltops cooler-grown fruit adding elegance to a light- to medium-bodied palate that has persistent black fruits, licorice, leather notes. Gold medal Winewise ’09.”

Rated 93

James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion

2006

S-2006[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops / Hunter Valley

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions/appellations sets it apart from the Old World and gives it an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit Source: Mature vineyards (20 years old) in Kingsvale (60%) in the Hilltops GI and Hunter Valley (40%) located in New South Wales are the fruit source for the 2006 vintage release.

Fermentation & Maturation: Separate parcels of phenologically ripe fruit was fermented in closed tanks then matured in used French and American oak barrels. After 15 months the components were blended to the desired style.

Winemakers Comments: 2006 was a hot dry vintage across Australia. Hilltops delivered clean fruit at 15 be with the Hunter producing great fruit from the right vineyards. The lack of water to impede stress was the biggest concern in most regions.

There is a lovely synergy between the cool climate fruit of the Hilltops region and the warmer climate fruit of the Hunter Valley. Both add their bit to the final blend that delivers complexity and balance.

A fruit driven style of red wine with minimal new oak influence

Cellaring: Short to medium term.

What the experts say:

“Awesome value. A lovely medium-weight, savoury wine that will probably go well in the cellar over ten years but, of course, drinks deliciously now. It’s savoury but fruity, its cherry-plummed heart flecked with spice, earth and cedar. Its tannin are firm and grapey – this is a case buy. Really. Drink: 2007-2017. 92 points”.

Campbell Mattinson—The Wine Front—October 2007

“Aromas of blackberry, plenty of spice, dark chocolate, smoky bacon and some earthiness. All very nice. It has a medium to full bodied palate with blackberry and dark cherry fruit, spice, dark chocolate and earthy flavours. Firm dry lightly grippy tannins and good weight (not too heavy, not too light) so that you can drink heartily and well (but no more than your allotted two standard drinks per day mind you..) at a very keen price. Outstanding value”.
Rated: 91 Points

Gary Walsh – Winorama – November 2007

2007

S-2007[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hilltops / Hunter Valley

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions/appellations sets it apart from the Old World and gives it an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit Source: Mature vineyards (20 years old) in Kingsvale (60%) in the Hilltops GI and Hunter Valley (40%) located in New South Wales are the fruit source for the 2007 vintage release.

Fermentation & Maturation: Separate parcels of phenologically ripe fruit was fermented in closed tanks being pumped over twice daily and then matured in used French and American oak barrels. After 15 months the components were blended to reach the desired style.

Winemakers Comments: 2007 was a hot dry vintage Australia wide, with both the Hunter and Hilltops still in the full grip of the drought. The Hilltops region produced ripe clean fruit at 15 baume with the Hunter producing excellent fruit from all vineyard sources, although at greatly reduced yields.

There is a lovely synergy between the cool climate fruit of the Hilltops region and the warmer climate fruit of the Hunter Valley. Both place their stamp on the final blend that delivers complexity and balance. A fruit driven style of red wine with minimal new oak influence.

This is a wine the greatly over-delivers in all respects.

Cellaring: Short to medium term.

What the experts say:

“Son of a gun. This is good—or maybe even better—than the outstanding 2006. The tannin structure of it, the easy-going complexity, the blush of ripe, bright, vibrant fruit—it’s all going on. A mouthful of plummy, spicy flavour at ridiculously low price”. Drink: 2008—2017.
93 Points.

Campbell Mattinson—The Big Red Wine Book—May 2008

” This regional pairing works well, Hilltops fruit adds bright fragrance and lift to the ripe berries, with plenty of earthy Hunter notes below. The palate’s forthright, delivering great density and supple savoury tannins, still in the medium-bodied league, finishing with elegant plum fruits”.
Score 91.

Nick Stock – 2009 Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide

2005

S-2005[1]Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley / Hilltops

Background: Australia’s ability to freely blend across regions/appellations sets it apart from the Old World and gives it an unparalleled advantage in the world of wine.

Fruit Source: Mature vineyards (10—20 years old) in Hunter Valley (55%) and Kingsvale (45%) in the Hilltops GI located in New South Wales are the fruit source for the 2005 vintage  release. Future releases will vary in composition depending upon vintage conditions.

Fermentation & Maturation: The Hilltops fruit was trucked overnight to our winery in the Hunter Valley and processed alongside the Hunter component. The separate fruit parcels were fermented in closed tanks then matured in used French and American oak barrels. After 15 months the components were blended to the desired style.

Winemakers Comments: 2005 appears to be a great vintage Australia wide, particularly for reds. The drought was really taking grip during vintage with no rain to speak of. We have discovered a fabulous synergy  between Hunter Valley and Hilltops fruit that works well for us and enables us to make well priced shiraz that over-delivers for the price.

A fruit driven style of wine with minimal new oak influence that features mulberry/cherry and some black fruits. The medium bodied palate reflects the nose but with some regional earthiness from the Hunter fruit. A lovely rounded texture in the mouth helped by fine tannins.

Cellaring: Short to short term . 

What the experts say:

“Aromas of dried cherry, raspberry pie, smoky bacon, dried herbs and spice. Curious smelling wine but I like it. On the palate medium to full bodied with dried cherry, raspberry, dried herb and earthy flavours. Smooth texture with some grainy tannins. Gamey raspberry finish of good length. Very good wine at this price”.

Rated : 89 Points. 

Gary Walsh—Winorama—August 2007

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