Category Archives: Hilltops Region

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: The Stars Align for Hilltops’ Moppity Vineyards

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By

When the 2013 Moppity Vineyard Shiraz (rrp $70) won the Great Australian Wine Challenge last year, it marked the first time in the prestigious show’s 21 year history that a shiraz from NSW had received the top gong.

With the exception of the Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Hunter Valley Shiraz, which has the highest ranking of “Exceptional” in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine VI, people tend to gravitate towards South Australia and Victoria for top examples of Australian shiraz. Indeed, of the show’s 390 entries, a whopping 268 wines came from South Australia, 66 from Victoria and only 29 from NSW.

While Moppity’s win is causing people to re-evaluate NSW’s potential for making great Australian shiraz, Moppity Vineyard’s proprietor Jason Brown said he always had faith that the Hilltops region offered the right conditions for making superb examples of cool-climate style shiraz.

Moppity Reserve Shiraz 2013 LR-500x500As Brown explained at a recent Masterclass at Different Drop, he and his wife Alecia decided in 2004 to buy a rundown 170 acre vineyard in the sleepy Hilltops viticulture region instead of a well-established vineyard in the world-renowned Clare Valley.

They settled on Hilltops because they were confident that the strong diurnal variations in temperature – hot days followed by cool nights over an extending growing season – offered the right conditions for creating high perfumed shiraz fruit with rich, plush flavours yet elegant tannin profiles.

Certainly, the runaway success of the wines over the past 10 years is the best vindication they could have hoped for that they made the right decision!

We were fortunate to try three vintages of the Moppity Reserve Shiraz – the 2013, 2010 and 2008. They were interesting examples to consider because they highlighted how vintage variation can subtly or not so subtly alter the character of the wine.… Read the rest

Feb 02 2015

Hilltop’s Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina: The Rewards of Experimentation

Posted on February 02, 2015 | By

NSW is back on the map as one of Australia’s best wine regions. Not long ago the Hunter Valley held the mantle as the state’s key region for making high qualities wines. But today the creativity and talent of mainly smaller producers have put 16 wine regions firmly on the radar of wine critics and consumers alike.

In a recent article on “the NSW wine all-stars,” the SMH’s wine critic Huon Hooke noted how successful NSW winemakers have been in experimenting with new wine styles. Many have also forged reputations through focusing on alternatives to the traditional French varieties. New England’s highly regarded Topper’s Mountain, for example, makes both a gewurztraminer and a nebbiolo. (The NSW wine all-stars by Huon Hooke, Goodfood, 3 February 2015)



Freeman_Secco_2009_RGBIn the Hilltops region, which is to the northwest of the Canberra District, Freeman Vineyards has secured wide acclaim for its Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina. The 2004 vintage received the trophy for the “Best Mature Dry Red ” at both the 2009 and 2011 NSW Wine Awards.

Rondinella and corvina are the two main varieties used to produce northern Italy’s Amarone and Valpolicella wines. Freeman Vineyards’ winemaker Dr Brian Freeman, a former Professor of Wine Science at Charles Sturt University, secured just six cuttings of rondinella and corvina from CSIRO’s grape breeding collection when he established Freeman Vineyards in 1999. The Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina was first released in 2002.

Only a small portion of the grapes in the Secco are dried, but enough to give the wine the rich, sensual qualities that are characteristic of great Amarone.

Freeman has access to a neighbour’s solar-power prune dehydrator, where the grapes layered on racks and gently heated in air tunnels at 40 degrees for up to 10 days. The dried … Read the rest