There is always something worth discovering under the eponymous Andrew Thomas label and if you have not heard, recently Andrew Thomas has opened a place of his own in the Hunter Valley. This is just one of Thomas’ big moments in 2016 and on the professional front, it might be the most important.
For a label that has previously shared the limelight with other great Hunter wines at The Small Winemaker’s Centre this is a milestone moment. A sign that this label, specializing in the best expressions of semillon and shiraz that Australia’s Hunter Valley can produce (occasionally with some support from other regions), is ready to stand on its own. While you can still find his wines at the centre, there is now another reason to take that left at Broke Road.
It is a timely move too as his, and the much lauded Hunter Valley 2014 red vintage in general, will fill cellar doors throughout the region with wine lovers eager to get their lips around these wines.
For me, some 2014 reds have left the impression that the winemaker has tried to cram as much fruit and oak into a glass as possible. This could work except for the high degree of alcohol that goes with it. However, Thomas has allowed his fruit to shine. Still with plenty of oak, but with a more controlled approach. These are wines that will continue their journey far into the future not reliant on the ‘big personality’ approach.
Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz ($75) is one of the best shiraz wines to be produced in the Hunter Valley and up there with the best in Australia. It is a wine that has the potential to leave higher priced prima donnas in its dust. The 2014 Kiss will prove irresistible and you will be left wanting more. So if you can still find it, grab hold and keep some for later…. Much later.
Pepper and nutmeg adds a flourish to dark chocolate, lavender and plump black cherry and berry fruit. These 40+ year old vineyards generously give up their fruit for the Kiss – complex and layered. Well worth taking the time to get to know this one.
It will be very popular, so, if you cannot find a Kiss Shiraz 2014 around, there is plenty to love in these wines too:
Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz ($35) is a ripe round shiraz from the Sweetwater area. Here the Hunter Valley fruit takes on earthier undertones and floral highlights to the blueberry fruit. Fuller in body and peppery on the finish, it is a wine that brings enjoyment now, or it will gather grace in the cellar mid term.
Within Thomas Wines Déjà vu Shiraz ($30) sits a little reminder of the great white grape of the Hunter Valley in the guise of semillon verjuice. This addition lets the shiraz sit lightly in the palate. It is a beguiling wine of ripe ripe black and red berry fruit with a light sprinkle of fresh herbs. It is very easy to reach for another glass and perhaps it is this quality for which it is named.
And while you are at the new cellar door, make sure that you taste Andrew’s semillon range. If you are a Hunter Semillon aficionado or just happy to enjoy a good white while sitting in the sunshine, you will find one to your liking if you put the challenge out there upon arrival.
Just a note for those Hunter Sem lovers, the Braemore also comes in a ‘Cellar Reserve’ version. The current Braemore Cellar Reserve on sale is 2010. Well, you cannot expect a one man band to do all the cellaring for you, can you?
For more on Andrew Thomas wines see:
Andrew Thomas 2013 Red Release
Next Generation: Sweetwater Shiraz 2011