Andrew Thomas from Thomas Wines has more than a couple of stories to tell, but in the spirit of his philosophy of ‘keeping it simple’, for now I will focus on just two …
One is a story about semillon from one of the renowned semillon vineyards in the Hunter Valley, Braemore, and all are made in that unique regional style. The other is a story about Shiraz. His simple white label adorns bottles containing just those two varieties. And they are ‘simply’ some of the best wines to be made in the Hunter.
Thomas is just one of the hard working Hunter winemakers who are so passionate
about their region. However, he has not restricted his promotion of the Hunter Valley to his participation in the Hunter’s ‘Next Generation’ initiative that showcased a small band of winemakers that are currently setting the pace in that region. With his seemingly unflagging energy, he is often found representing the region, pouring his wine at other consumer tastings around Australia. Like many eponymous label owners, he has that larrikin, bold as brass quality and is always on hand to have a yarn while you are tasting his wine.
Recently, he launched his shirazs from the much anticipated, and according to Thomas ‘very impressive’, 2013 vintage. With a price range starting at $24 through to $60 these wines are sharply priced and there are some smart cellar candidates among them. Apart from ‘Two of a Kind’, they are Hunter Shirazs all. The Two of a Kind Shiraz is the red wine of a pair that have components sourced from McLaren Vale as well as the Hunter. A wine that gives immediate pleasure and when tasted with friends with varying tastes was considered one of the favourites for the evening.
By focusing on just the two varieties, Andrew can produce wines that explore different nuances of each. With this shiraz flight, he can take you on a journey that wends its way from discovering the joys of the marriage of Hunter and Vale fruit (Two of a Kind) to a walk in the past where you might experience some sense of déjà vu (DJV) while keeping a firm foothold in the now with more modern expressions of the Valley.
The following six wines are now available. Please visit thomaswines.com.au.
Andrew Thomas 2013 Two of a Kind Shiraz ($24) – A wine with dual provenance that tips its hat at the winemaker’s McLaren Vale ties as well as his adopted region. It is a blend of 58% Hunter Valley and 42% McLaren Vale fruit. The dusty spice and plum profile of the Hunter are complemented with richer, more generous Vale blackberry fruit. Toasty, smoky, caramel oak and that Vale fruit also adds fullness to the body making this a soft and round, creamy textured wine. A crowd pleaser for any occasion that works well with food.
Andrew Thomas 2013 Synergy Shiraz ($24) – Synergy offers ripe dark cherry, blueberry fruit wrapped in savoury nutmeg spice and dried lavender. The spice is particularly apparent on the palate along with the addition of some sweet vanilla hitting the plump mid palate. A well built wine with complex details along a taut length.
Andrew Thomas 2013 DJV Shiraz ($30) – DJV stands for Déjà vu and serves to remind us of Hunter Valley reds of years gone by. Aromas of fresh ripe cherry, dried herbs and some fragrant cardamom hint at the elegance of this wine. It has been co-fermented with some Semillon verjuice and has only seen the inside of well seasoned oak barrels which has given DJV plenty of juicy softness and shapely, velvety plush tannins. This is a wine to share with friends over a chat and a laugh.
Andrew Thomas 2013 Elenay Shiraz ($45) – The Elenay was first made in 2011 as a bit of a punt with some portions of the flagship wines, KISS and Sweetwater, that were not considered to be high enough quality for inclusion into those wines. Now it is a permanent addition to the range. Rich vanilla caramel spices meld with blueberry and cherry fruit and earth to produce a soft and fleshy wine. There is enough acid to keep the Elenay fresh and adds a linear dimension. It is a delicious, supple wine with layers of complexity.
Andrew Thomas 2013 Sweetwater Shiraz ($35) – This wine always delivers plenty of bang for the buck. Fragrant red plum and blackberry fruit is supported with solid spicy, slightly charry, oak. There is plenty of complexity here and the riper fruit offers a fuller body and lifted fragrance. Enjoy this wine’s bolder, spicier personality with a steak and a peppery sauce.
Andrew Thomas 2013 Kiss Shiraz ($60) – This Kiss has the potential to knock you off your feet. It is what the Hunter is all about. Ripe, juicy blueberry and red cherry fruit, enhanced with pepper, nutmeg and savoury dried herbs. Hunter shirazs are typically medium bodied and the Kiss fits this profile. If the vibrancy of this wine does not beguile you, the velvety smooth tannins and polished, spicy oak regime will suck you in for sure. Give it a good decant if you caot resist drinking it now, otherwise leave it for a few years at least. Better yet, put a case down and enjoy over the next decade or so.