The intensely perfumed, sumptuous and seductive Brokenwood Graveyard articulates the very best of Hunter Shiraz. It is arguably the Hunter Valley's greatest red wine of the contemporary era. The east-facing Graveyard vineyard, first planted out in 1968, was once earmarked in 1882 as the Pokolbin cemetery but this did not eventuate.
First made in 1983, Graveyard Shiraz is a meticulous classification selection of the best parcels, mostly from the oldest plantings. After vinification in open-top stainless steel vats, it finishes fermentation in barrel. Maturation takes place in a combination of French and American oak barriques for a period of around 14 months. Young elemental Graveyard typically shows ginger bread, blackberry aniseed fruit, plenty of savoury oak and floral/herb garden notes. The opulent gamey/French polish characters develop with time bringing a rich palimpsest of aromas and flavours.
'Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2006 Graveyard Shiraz has evolving fruit aromas displaying a black cherry and blackberry preserve character going into prunes, dried mulberries, leather, menthol, iodine and some dark chocolate. Medium bodied and crisp on the palate, it has medium-firm grainy tannins and a long earthy finish.' 93 points, Robert Parker, erobertparker.com
The Hunter Valley is the most important quality wine-producing region in New South Wales, even though it represents only a fraction of the state’s production. Established in the early 1800s, the first vignerons recognised that the coastal fringe north of Sydney was too wet and humid for viable viticulture and thus took the decision to move into the hinterland. Although the region can be particularly hot, the cloud and rainfall patterns significantly modify the microclimate. The Hunter Valley is maritime influenced, with afternoon sea breezes funnelling up through the Hunter River and Goulburn River gap. Rainfall is very erratic and can arrive at the most inopportune time. Soils are generally rich volcanic and alluvial. The best vineyard sites are located within sight of the imposing Brokenback Range that is exposed to the cool sea breezes. Further inland, the maritime influence gives way to a greater degree of continentality. The Hunter Valley is best known for exceptional age-worthy Semillon and fresh savoury medium-bodied Shiraz, although Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay also perform well.