Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Various grape varieties in the world
The love for red & white wines is getting popular by the day with all generations. The process of making wines by grapes is really complex. It must require some patience. The most popular white grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, & Semillon. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz, Merlot, Zinfandel, & Sangiovese are some of the widely planted red wine grapes throughout the world. However, Hunter Valley is one of the greatest choices for nostalgic wine tasters & hopeful travelers. Semillon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Verdelho are the commonest grape varieties of Hunter Valley.
Production statistics – Grape Varieties of Hunter Valley
From all vineyards of the Hunter Valley, Semillon is the leading white grape variety which accounts for the 31% of the production. Other are, Shiraz 29%, Chardonnay 16%, Verdelho 14% and Tempranillo as low as 2%.
From all above top grape varieties, Hunter produced 53% of white wines and 47% of red wines which exports mainly to China (54%).
Statistics by Wine Australia
White grape varieties of Hunter Valley
The white wines are made by removing the skin of red or white grapes & then fermenting the juice. Here are some of the best white grapes that you can find in prosperous Hunter vineyards.
Semillon; the most popular Grape Varieties of Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley is exclusively significant for cool-climate Semillon grapes. Semillon has thin skin. Also, it is very easy to cultivate. But it requires better care before harvesting as it is more susceptible to sunburn. Its skin turns golden when ripens. However, warmer status is better for their growth.
Semillon wines usually contain primary fruit flavors of lemon, apple, pear, & papaya. Sometimes the flavors of lime, yellow grapefruit, Peach, Mango & Citrus Zest can also be mixed. Besides, oak flavors of Butter, Pie Crust, Cream, Dill, and Popcorn also contain in good amounts.
The taste of each Semillon wine can change according to the grape type & where they grow. You usually feel a waxy lanolin texture. It may just be like a palate-cleansing wine such as Sauvignon Blanc otherwise as a creamy, lemon-flavored wine like oaked Chardonnay.
Whenever you are ordering Semillon, bear in mind to add some Asian herbs such as Coriander, Clove, Cinnamon, Fennel, Turmeric, Saffron, Dill, or Chive as a secondary snack. White meats such as Chicken, Ham, Turkey, & Foie Gras, fish types including Trout, Catfish, Halibut & Monkfish, cow-milk or sheep- milk cheeses & Sushi are the most suitable dishes for Semillon.
Best Semillon in Hunter Valley
Tyrrell’s Wines offers the best Semillon wines including the latest products such as 2019 Hunter Valley Semillon & 2014 HVD Semillon. Their vineyards annually get a massive vintage of multiple white grape varieties. Tyrrell’s 2005 Vat 1 Hunter Semillon got the James Busby Perpetual Trophy as the best NSW Wine by the Department of Primary Industries.
Chardonnay is one of the most successful white grape varieties in Hunter Valley. It has a great ability to adapt & to grow even on earth high in clay, saline & chalk. So Chardonnay can generate a higher harvest compared to other varieties.
Chardonnay is the major ingredient of Champagne, & other several wines such as Cremant, Trento & Franciacorta. Oaked Chardonnay has additional oak-aged flavors of vanilla, baking spices, or butter. They usually include local fruit flavors of star fruit, mango & pineapple. Besides, citrus flavors & melon flavors also intensify the sweet sourness of primary wine. Meanwhile, Unoaked Chardonnay has a similar taste to Pinot Grigio & Sauvignon Blanc, but with no green flavors.
There are several dishes which nicely suit Chardonnay. Medium-bodied Chardonnay pairs well with semi-hard cheese, poultry, creamy pasta & dishes cooked in butter. Oak need dishes such as Mornay, poached salmon with caper butter are ideal for full-bodied Chardonnay. In addition to those, curd, mushrooms & seafood items such as oysters, & shellfish are also nice to pair & taste with Chardonnay.
Best Chardonnay in Hunter Valley
“GoodFood” gives a memorable cellar door experience with the best Chardonnay wines in Hunter Valley. The wines are available in different brands. Among them, 2011 Lake’s Folly Chardonnay is the most outstanding. It is taut, firm, refined & sprightly acidic with 14% alcohol.
Verdelho is one of the most popular grape varieties in Hunter Valley. It has small oval berries with thicker skins. So, when you eat them, you would feel them somewhat harder, but less juicy. Though they ripen early, there’s a higher risk to get powdery mildew.
Verdelho wines have a similar weight to Unoaked Chardonnay & Roussanne. A sip of Verdelho is ideal for a warm day in Hunter Valley. They mainly include primary flavors of gooseberry, ginger, Brazil nut, honeydew, pineapple, & red apple. At the same time, the aromatic contents of spices, apricots & stone fruits can satisfy your taste buds. Many wine tasters eagerly try Verdelho plus Chardonnay or Semillon blend.
It’s better to buy some dainty snacks including Thai dishes, & spicy Asian foods with your Verdelho. However, oysters, green salads with vinaigrette, or tapas would wonderfully work on a red wine cocktail.
Best Verdelho in Hunter Valley
Tulloch Wines vineyards have the best Verdelho in Hunter Valley. It was awarded 5 Red Stars 2016 – 2013 & Five Black Stars 2007 – 2013 according to James Halliday rankings. The secret of their unique taste is that they are harvested at night to keep their fresh natural acidity safe. Pepper Tree Verdelho & Gartelmann Jessica Verdelho are also considered the best quality Verdelho by certain independent wine reviews.
Red grape varieties of Hunter Valley
These grapes are usually darker in color. In making red wines, skins are not separated from the juice. Grape skin gives their attractive red or purplish stain while the pulp mainly supplies the juice. Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz are the most abundant in Hunter vineyards.
Shiraz is among the most iconic red grape varieties in Hunter Valley. It grows well in many wine regions around Australia. The berry has black skin. Warm days & nights speed up the ripening of the fruit. This season is normally warm, without severe heat strikes. Therefore Shiraz is grown medium-bodied & savory. This is a hardy grapevine so that it has a better resistance against the extreme weather status. Shiraz grows well in stony granite soil.
Hunter Valley Shiraz wines have varying flavor profiles depending on customer needs. The typical flavors of Hunter Shiraz are blue fruit, black fruit, herbs like eucalyptus, pepper & mint, & other flavors of tobacco, licorice & dark chocolate. Besides, full-bodied Shiraz additionally contains ripe fruit flavors.
Barbecued & braised chicken, roast lamb legs, seared Tuna, sausage, Osso Bucco & mushrooms are the greatest pairings that you can taste with Shiraz.
Best Hunter Valley Shiraz
Graveyard vineyards occupy the most exclusive Shiraz in the Hunter region. These vineyards form a bumper harvest of quality berries around 2 1/2 tons per hectares with a high skin-to-juice ratio. “Brokenwood Shiraz” is the ultimate result of this great effort. It’s so glad to remind you that Brokenwood 2018 Graveyard Shiraz was declared the wine of the year & the Shiraz of the year in James Halliday 2021 wine companion awards.
This is one of the widely spread grape varieties in Hunter Valley. It has black skin & grows well in gravel & sandy soil. The climate directly affects their color as well as their taste. So, a cooler climate leads to darker berries. Meanwhile warmer climates generate redder fruits with much more acidity. It is used in single varietal red wines as well as red wine blends. The recent DNA tests revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Franc. By vinifying correctly, Cabernet Sauvignon can easily make a full-bodied & dry wine
Cabernet Sauvignon contains primary flavors such as blackberry, black currant, cedar, baking spices & graphite, etc. Many Hunter wine tasters love a red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot or Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon wines have higher contents of flavors & tannin. Therefore, peppery sauces, red meats & dishes with high flavor are the best partners of Cabernet Sauvignon. Blue cheeseburgers, Moussaka, goat cheese, porcini mushrooms, steak, beef short ribs, & roast lambs are the yummy recipes that match well with these wines.
Try Right now 2017 De Iuliis Steven Vineyard Shiraz
De Iuliis is a pioneer among red wine producers in the Hunter region. 2017 De Iuliis Steven Vineyard Shiraz is the most prominent among visitors out of dozens of their wine products. 2017 Steve Vineyard Shiraz has got the gold medal in the 2018 NSW Wine Awards. This wine occupies a clove-like oak character & a touch of green herbs, somewhat sour-sweetness & tartness & sits at a medium weight. The price is just $35.00.