Another year of grape expectations

THE grape harvest for vintage 2017 has started across Australia. Any wine buff's social media feed is filled with pictures of grapes in picking bins, industrial harvesters working at night and free run juice from presses.

The Hunter Valley's Hungerford Hill had ownership and managerial changes at the end of 2016. The Kirby family, who had developed Hungerford Hill since 2002, sold to Sam Arnout (the owner of IRIS Capital). Here's to a great new vintage for them.

Semillon, Hunter Valley, 2016

Light lime and lemongrass and honeysuckle. Steely and an almost austere mid palate before the usual Hunter delicate lemon flavours. A little subdued for the moment, but time will be kind to open delicious honey and toast.

RATING: 9/10

RRP: $30

ALC: 10.5%

Chardonnay, Tumbarumba, 2016

Delicious comforting chardonnay aromas of lemon and grapefruit skin, light nutty cashew with a tiny amount of lanolin and cinnamon woody spice. Finishes clean as a whistle with Tumbarumba tightness.

RATING: 8.5/10

RRP: $40

ALC: 12.7%

Shiraz, Hunter Valley, 2014

From the stellar 2014 vintage. Intense aromas of dusty violets and blueberries, white pepper and some Turkish coffee bitter tones.

RATING: 8.5/10

RRP: $$45

ALC: 14%

Wines available from major retailers and

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