Beaujolais, Hunter Valley

Located just south of Burgundy, the French wine region of Beaujolais covers an impressive area of 22,000 hectares between Mâcon and Lyon. Although this wine region was famous for being associated with dull, diluted wine in the past, its reputation has since only improved, proving their worth to wine lovers all over the world with their endless variety of wines, ranging from fresh and light to refined and lush wines. 98 percent of the vineyards here are made up of the famous Gamay grapes, with the exception of a small amount of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are used to make white wines. Gamay grapes are known to make luscious red wines that have a light to medium body, moderate tannin, relatively low acidity and contain aromas of berries such as raspberry, tart cherry and cranberry. The region of Beaujolais is home to ten named village Crus: St Amour, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié (a Cru since 1988), Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. When compared to most other Beaujolais wines, the Crus of this region are more concentrated and have much more character and can be kept for up to ten years.

Beaujolais is blessed with a temperate climate and shares its summer weather with the Mediterranean Sea due to its close proximity, but the location is also interior enough to experience cold dry weather from the Northeast. The soil of Beaujolais is an important component in defining the different styles of wines in the region. Towards the south of the town of Villefrance, the soil is made up of sandstone or clay and limestone. In the north, the soils are comprised of granite or crystalline rock on the upper slopes, and in the lower slopes they are made up of stone and clay soils.
Internationally, Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s two most well known wine regions, alongside Barossa Valley in South Australia. Located about a two hour drive north of Sydney, the region is very popular for weekend escapes from the city of Sydney.

Hunter Valley’s climate includes regular droughts or floods, seemingly less than desirable conditions to grow grapes, with the hot, humid summers and cool winters. Nevertheless, the region has been under cultivation since the 1800’s and is responsible for putting Australian wine, in particular Sémillon and to a lesser extent Shiraz, on the world wine map. Winemaking pioneers such as Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell's Wines) and Len Evans helped the region gain worldwide recognition.

The famous Hunter valley Sémillon was for many years known as ‘Hunter Valley Riesling’ and is never matured in oak. It is however one of the most ageworthy whites in the country with bottles showing an inordinate ability to age gracefully. Bottle-aged Sémillons will often exhibit burnt toast and honey characteristics, slight nutty notes and supremely complex flavours on the palate. This palate complexity is coupled with soft acidity and the finish can be very long indeed.
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