Sunday, May 30, 2010

Meerea Park Tasting – Alexander Munro Range

Last week, Brown and I went to another excellent Oak Barrel Tasting. This time it was with Garth Eather, co-owner of Meerea Park in the Hunter Valley (the other owner is his brother Rhys). The highlights of the night were as expected their premium Alexander Munro Range:

2005 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon – the grapes come off the Braemore vineyard. Given that Semillon has comparatively little in the way of winemaking input, it would be great to taste this alongside the 05 Andrew Thomas 'Braemore' Semillon (which as the name suggests comes of the same vineyard) to see what - if any - differences there are. Anyway, that’s for another time. This is just starting to show some aged characteristics but is still a largely fresh, youngish Semillon. A slightly developed colour, it has a nose of citrus, some toasty, oily notes along with a hint of honey. On the palate this wine is very impressive. With great acidity and balance, it has lovely fruit before delivering a long finish with just a nice touch of tartness. Everything suggests it will have a long, long life. (RRP:$35)

2009 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Chardonnay – This wine is probably a bit young to be drinking right now, though is clearly a good quality Chardonnay. It has an understated nose of stonefruit verging on tropical fruit along with some nice oak. It has a lovely smooth mouthfeel and a long finish of somewhat tart grapefruit flavours. Needs another year or two before drinking. (RRP: $35)

2007 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Shiraz – This is a wonderful Hunter Shiraz, which is both typical and atypical of the region at the same time. It is slightly atypical in that it has a perfumed, almost lifted nose of berry and cherry fruits, while nevertheless having a bit of typical Hunter earthiness and some nice vanilla oak. Talking to Garth about this he says that the perfumed nose is the result of about 35% of the stems being added to the ferment. The wine has great length and structure, delivering beautiful berry fruit on the front palate before turning largely savoury with sour cherry and a bit of earthiness. There are fine tannins and a bit of spice in support. This drank really well with a bit of air, but it is a special for the cellar. (RRP: $70)

1998 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Shiraz – tasting this wine more or less confirmed my thoughts about the 07 being a long term wine. The 98 Alexander Munro had a lovely aged nose still with plenty of primary, cherry fruit, along with expected leathery, earthy notes that are very much 'of the Hunter'. On the palate it also still had some nice grip and tannin with a beautifully smooth, long finish. Some complexity here with many years still in front of it. (RRP: $110)


Footnote: As luck would have it, I (Brown) was struck down with a bad cold on the night of the tasting. Such a shame, given that I loved the wines and can only imagine how much nicer they would be when fighting fit. Even at less that 100% tasting capacity, the wines all have lovely noses, and the length and structure of the Semillon and Shiraz in particular was impressive. I hope to try some more Meerea Park wines in late July when I visit the Hunter, and will report back on any new wines in the line-up.


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