Hunter Valley

New South Wales

The Hunter Valley northwest of Sydney is one of Australia's most famous wine-growing regions, along with the Barossa Valley, although it is nowhere near the latter's importance. In many cases, the locals themselves consider the Hunter Valley unsuitable for viticulture, which is clearly not true if one considers the class of the wines. After all, with the Hunter Valley Sémillon, the region has produced a white wine of its very own and inimitable style, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Full of character, crisp and fresh, almost biting and gripping in the acidity and yet of an unusual lightness for the New World and on the other hand extremely long-lived. It could best be compared to a Riesling from the Mosel, which is why the Australians also like to call this Sémillon Hunter Valley Riesling. The region is also one of the birthplaces of Australian viticulture, as the first vines were planted here as early as the mid-19th century. The valley is divided in its course from south to north into two sections: the "Lower Hunter Valley" and the "Upper Hunter Valley". The upper part around Denman is characterised by alluvial soils, on which mainly white wines such as Chardonnay or Sémillon are grown. This is also where the top Roxburgh site is located, owned by Rosemount Estate, one of the top players in Australian viticulture. The lower part of the valley is characterised by volcanic soils or weathered basalt. Here, in addition to white wines, red wines are also produced, primarily from Shiraz. The Hunter Valley is located very far north and almost borders on the subtropical area, so it would have to be very hot here, which would be rather detrimental to viticulture. In fact, however, cold mountain air consistently penetrates the valley and the days are shorter closer to the equator. The sky is also often subdued, but there is little rain, so irrigation is necessary. This cold air, together with the frequently obscured sun, are the reasons why the Sémillon here turns out so racy and tangy; the naturally acidic soil does the rest. In contrast to the famous Barossa Valley, only a few famous producers are at home here.
Read more
Wine Inspiration
Famous wines: Best of Wachau
Falstaff reveals nine DAC wines from the Wachau that you shouldn't miss out on.
By Falstaff Editorial Team, Peter Moser
Wine Inspiration
3 wines for your Easter feast
With the privations of Lent coming to an end, it’s time to dial up the festivities with some...
By Ben Colvill