A Wine Writers View on the World of Wine. Formerly Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies
Tower Estate in Australia’s Hunter Valley is going from strength to strength under the careful guidance of marathon-running, winemaking wizard, Samantha Connew. Tower was established by the legendary pioneer of the Australian wine trade, Len Evans in 1999 as a winery to represent the best wines from each of the premium wine producing wine regions from across Australia. Thirteen shareholders were involved, including our most famous Cornish chef, Rick Stein.
Winemaker, Sam Connew commenced her winemaking career in the Hunter Valley at Brokenwood and then moved to Wirra Wirra in the McLaren Vale where she spent ten years and forged a reputation for her powerful yet elegant red wines and refined, poised white wines. Sam took on the role as manager at Tower Estate just in time for the 2010 vintage and has already redesigned the labels and in a move that would never have been allowed in Len’s days, is now bottling all wines under a screwcap closure!
Sam’s previous achievements include 2007 Red Winemaker of the Year at the IWC, finalist for 2004 Qantas/Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year and fittingly Sam was one of the first graduates of the Len Evans Tutorial in 2002. Sam is also a well-recognised judge on the Australian show circuit “My winemaking career reflects my desire to work for the independent wineries committed to excellence at every level, and Tower Estate absolutely fits that bill.” Sam’s wines continue to receive rave reviews with eight of her wines receiving a rating of 94-96 in the recently released 2012 James Halliday Wine Companion.
2010 Hunter Valley Semillon ‘Smells pungent and minerally – almost like a Savennières! Good stuff. Rich yet not heavy and promises very well’ Jancis Robinson 22/09/11
2010 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (Adelaide Hills/Hunter Valley) ‘Very lively with the Semillon in the ascendant. Confident winemaking. Tangy with undergrowth and this could only be Hunter’ Jancis Robinson 22/09/11
2010 Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris – the only medal-winning Pinot Gris at the 2011 Adelaide Hills wine show with a silver medal.
2010 Hunter Valley Chardonnay ‘A flamboyant wine, showing nectarine and peach, straw and savoury charcuterie notes; the palate is generous and rich, yet maintains freshness and line from start to finish, a long and complex harmonious offering.’ 95 Points, James Halliday
2009 Hunter Valley Shiraz – winner of top gold at the 2011 Hunter Valley Wine Show & 96 points in the 2012 James Halliday Wine Companion. ‘Scented and mellifluous and distinctive (so unlike South Australian Shiraz!) Just great stuff. Racy and readable and transparent – so delicate. Wonderfully precise and hands-off’ Jancis Robinson 22/09/11
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I tasted the 09 Hunter Valley Shiraz at Hallowed Grounds New Release Tasting recently and enjoyed it immensely.
The wine shows good, full red fruit character on the nose. The palate is very elegant. Lovely soft red fruit with a touch of spice but not overpowering. Excellent tannin structure.
The weight of this wine is unusual for Hunter Valley Shiraz. Not your ‘generic’ style. In short it’s a beautiful wine. Definitely one to give to those who want to break into Shiraz.