This weekend just past, I traded the small bars of Sydney for the open spaces and vineyards of the Hunter Valley, a couple of hours drive to the north.
It’s always great to visit vineyards and speak to the people who have the greatest connection with the making of wine. The experience is always interesting and I never fail to pick up at least one small tidbit of knowledge along the way. It’s also great to realise that despite the wealth of distillation happening outside of Australia, there are still local products that are both interesting and of exceptional quality.
De Bortoli are known around the world for their Noble One dessert wines. The current 2007 vintage scores exceptionally well and most people seem happy to put it up there with Inniskillin as one of the world’s great sticky wines. A product I certainly was not aware of was the Black Noble, a fortified wine that has similarities to some of the Jerez wines from Spain.
The latest De Bortoli to be making wine in Pokolbin, Darren, based the product on something his forebear Vittorio pulled together in the 1930s. Starting with Noble One as a base, Black Noble is fortified and aged for an average of eight years in old American oak. The result is a rich and delicious nectar, that I’m looking exceptionally forward to matching up with rye or bourbon, with a thick peel of Hunter Valley orange as a garnish.
Watch this space.
The good folks at De Bortoli don’t even require a visit to the Hunter to pick one of these bad boys up, you can get one mail order from their website.