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Gundog is one of the Hunter Valley’s most progressive wineries with former ‘Hunter Valley Rising Star’ Matt Burton at the winemaking helm.
Burton has been nominated for a swag of awards and collected many accolades in his career, his ability to look beyond the traditions of his home region for inspiration being one of his reasons for success.
The Smoking Barrel Red combines his loves for both Canberra and Hunter Shiraz. “The theory was to marry the plum, blackberry and exotically spiced characters of the Murrumbateman Shiraz with the more savoury and earthy aromas of our old vine Hunter Shiraz parcels.”
This year’s blend of 90% Canberra and 10% Hunter fruit has worked a treat. Campbell Mattinson called it an “Excellent style of sweet-savoury red.”, and it is just a great example of a modern NSW red wine.
What It Tastes Like
Little whiff of smoke and dried meat, the deep blue fruits of Canberra with the savoury, earth tones of the Hunter, they get on like best buds. Some little floral tones in the high points of the aromas, as well. Smells pretty brilliant. Tastes just as good. Slick, sweet and savoury. Delicious.
95 points. “Canberra District (90%) and the Hunter Valley (10%). Rich, dark fruits, pepper and spice fill the bouquet, and the medium-bodied palate follows the road suggested by the bouquet. There’s no question about the contribution of the Hunter Valley component adding a lighter, savoury touch.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
91 points. “It’s roughly 90% Canberra District shiraz with 10% Hunter Valley shiraz.
There’s plenty of ripe fruit here but there’s also a clear earthen/savoury edge. The Hunter input is modest in percentage terms but significant in influence. Game, smoke, cloves, black cherries, graphite; in no particular order. Plenty going on. Plenty to enjoy. Excellent style of sweet-savoury red.”
- Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front)
2015 Smoking Barrel Red
The 2015 Smoking Barrel Red is the second vintage of an eclectic blend of Shiraz from our Hunter and Canberra vineyards. The 2014 release proved to be amazingly popular, and we have similar expectations for the 2015 vintage. The blend started life as a playful exercise on the tasting bench during a broader classification of our 2014 reds. The theory was to marry the plum, blackberry and exotically spiced characters of the Murrumbateman Shiraz with the more savoury and earthy aromas of our old vine Hunter Shiraz parcels. Relative to the 2014 release (which was blended in fairly even ratios), we had a significantly reduced quantity of 2015 Hunter Shiraz available, which meant we were limited to a little over 10% in this wine. On the tasting bench we decided it was most definitely still worthwhile as an inclusion, being an amount that served to soften the young tannins of the Canberra component, and add a really lovely savoury element that enhanced the overall complexity of the blend.
ALCOHOL 13.9% PH 3.56 TA 6.5g/L RESIDUAL SUGAR Nil SOIL TYPE Pre-Cambrian Clay Loam
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
GunDog Estate have a clear vision, a “determination to produce some of Australia’s finest Semillon and Shiraz”. By comparing and contrasting the styles of Semillon and Shiraz from the Hunter Valley and the Canberra District, they are endeavouring to paint a more complete picture of both varieties. Theirs is a young operation with big ambitions. Undoubtably, one of the must watch new projects from the Hunter.
Canberra. A mountain of potential. A sleeping giant of Australian wine. The ability of this region to produce world class wines in only a relatively short history is almost second to none in the whole country. We have some absolute geniuses to thank for developing this region. People have taken notice. Canberra wine is some serious gear. With the ability to produce everything from perfumed and tightly wound Syrah, to razor sharp Riesling and a bunch of emerging varieties in the ground excelling, Canberra will be one of the ‘must watch’ wine producing regions in Australia for many years to come.
Long held up to the rest of the world as Australia’s flagship red variety, the mighty Australian Shiraz has undergone something of a renaissance over the past two decades. While our robust styles of Shiraz from powerhouse South Australian regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale may have put Australian wine on the map, Shiraz from our cooler regions are giving the variety a new look. Wines from Canberra, all parts of Victoria, the Adelaide Hills, and the Great Southern, are all delivering wines of finesse and spice set to a lighter framework. The tapestry of Australian Shiraz is richly diverse, and will only continue to develop and mature into the future.
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