Meerea Park a five-star delight
As Australia’s oldest wine region and having some of the world’s oldest grape vine root-stock, the Hunter Valley success story is perhaps understandable. After all, the Valley is close to Sydney and Newcastle, produces outstanding Semillon and Shiraz and is home to any number of five-star wineries.
One of my favourite vineyards, Meerea Park, may not be amongst the oldest vineyards in the region, but it has been owned by the Eather family since 1826 and it has produced table wines since 1991. These days, it’s winemaker Rhys Eather and his managing director brother, Garth Eather, who run the show.
Self-proclaimed “terroirists”, the Eather brothers focused on Chardonnay and the regional strength of the Semillon and Shiraz to make wines from specific individual vineyards. In this way, they believe in allowing each to be an expression of its own unique viticultural heritage.
Meerea Park 2016 XYZ Semillon
Their 2016 XYZ Semillon retails at around $25 a bottle and shows lemon and lime zestiness with hints of cut grass and the typically high, hunter acidity. It is green enough to suck your cheeks in but delivers a delicious lingering citric finish.
The pick of their current vintage Chardonnays is undoubtedly the 2016 Alexander Munro Chardonnay ($45) which does the Eather boys’ great-grandfather proud! From their Pokolbin vineyard, the Meerea Park iteration of a white burgundy oozes class – with granny smith apples at the front of the palate and delightful grapefruit and cumquat notes through the middle. There is a steely acidic tightness through the back end which makes it a terrific partner for seafood dishes of any description.
Meerea Park “The Aunts” 2015 Shiraz
For the Shiraz lovers, there is plenty on offer, but in terms of value, it is difficult to go past “The Aunts” 2015 Shiraz which sells at around $30 a bottle and is as good a representation of the style as any of its more expensive cousins. It may be lighter in style, but it’s bold and powerful across the palate. The succulent red fruits develop a spicy edge through the middle and finish ripe, slightly savoury, and with some silky fine tannins which loiter until you take the next sip.
You’ll find their cellar door at Roche Estate (formerly the Tempus Two Winery) on the corner of Broke and McDonald Roads at Pokolbin, and there’s no doubt that you’ll be glad that you made the journey!