NOTABLE by still being in the hands of its founding family, the 163-year-old Drayton’s wine operation has a history of novel projects – the latest being its blue wine.
The Draytons were Hunter trail blazers in producing the bulk tank-fermented Hunter Pearl bubbly and they still make the high-octane Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice fortified.
In aid of the Hunter Prostate Cancer Alliance, their Pokolbin winery has produced red and white wines labelled “Have You Had Your Little Prick?”
The $24-a-bottle Hunter Blue was created by the Drayton’s winemaking team by blending wine from white semillon and verdelho grapes and adding some food colouring.
The eye-catching electric blue non-vintage wine will please those with a sweet tooth. It has honeysuckle scents, sweet lychee front-palate flavour, followed up on the middle palate by mixed peel, lemon and honey characters. Residual sugar plays at the finish.
It’s available at the winery at 555 Oakey Creek Rd, Pokolbin, on draytonswines.com.au and in some bottle shops.
Blue wine has long been contemplated by producers world-wide. The first was finally produced recently by the Spanish Gik wine company in partnership with a Basque university.
On a more serious plane, Drayton’s has some enjoyable new-release table wines: the $45 flagship 2011 Suzanne Semillon and the $20 2016 Hunter Valley Semillon, the 2016 Hunter Valley Verdelho ($20) and the 2016 Hunter Valley Tempranillo.
The Susanne wines are named in honour of the wife of William Drayton, the second-eldest son of Drayton patriarch Joseph Drayton.
William and Susanne, who had nine sons and one daughter, took over the running of the Draytons’ Bellevue property from 1908 to 1938.
The 2016 tempranillo, from the increasingly popular Spanish-origin variety, comes from clone D8V13 cuttings that were in 2014 and 2015 grafted on to 28-year-old verdelho rootstock.
BUSINESS Insider Australia recently had some interesting statistics involving Hunter Valley wine brands from Wine Ark, Australia’s largest managed cellar operation.
Wine Ark recorded the $100 Clonakilla 2015 Shiraz Viognier as the most popular wine moving into storage during 2016. Second, with just 18 fewer bottles than the Clonakilla, was the $75-a-bottle Lake’s Folly 2014 Cabernet from the Hunter. Penfolds was the most collected brand added to the Wine Ark cellars last year and second was Tyrrell’s, the 159-year-old Hunter-based family wine company. In third place was the Barossa Valley’s Rockford brand. The Bin 389, St Henri and Grange were the top three Penfolds wines.Shiraz was the favourite variety placed in the Wine Ark cellars, followed by pinor noir, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.