Friday, May 08, 2009

Keith Tulloch - Hunter Valley, Australia 2009-05-08


Today I had the pleasure of tasting through some current releases from Keith Tulloch. Keith is a fourth generation winemaker from the Hunter Valley in Australia. About a year ago, I had the opportunity to spend the day working with Keith, and today's refresher had the added advantage of several new wines to my portfolio.

Keith's style both as a speaker and as a winemaker is quite focused. His wines show strength and weight without being heavy. The balance is tremendous and the flavors are precise. I taste a lot of wines on a very regular basis and it is quite rare that I actually do a double-take over a wine. But today I was simply not expecting to find something such as the Keith Tulloch Hunter Valley Semillon, 2007 or the Keith Tulloch Hunter Valley Chardonnay, 2007. These wines were going past me as we were tasting (rather quick, as normal), and as I tasted the Semillon it just jumped out at me, made me stop whatever distracting thing I was doing and I actually went back in for another smell/taste. What I found was a wine of significant flavor, intensity and exactitude. Not over the top. Just pure rich flavor combined with a fresh, solid structure and of tremendous length. As stated above this wines does not have a lot of sappy weight, which is something that I find in a lot of Semillon. This wine is complex from beginning to end. On the nose is white peach, lime, minerals and herbs - not your ordinary white wine. Palate - fresh and lively with lemon/lime acidity backed by a silky texture. Moderately long in the finish it is clean and gentle, yet full and pleasing. This is a wine that to me has significance in the world because it is simply not like many other wines produced - there is an understanding by the winemaker that there is more to life (and semillon) than just a fleshy mixer for Sauvignon. Lovely wine.



Not to be out done, the Chardonnay is also something to really take notice of. Of course there are a lot of chard's out there and it is not easy to stand from the crowd, but this one does. Again, precise and balanced just like the Sem, but more weight and fleshiness. No real obvious oak as Keith uses wood which is relatively neutral and tight grained and "toasted" with infrared light instead of fire (this apparently produces a more consistent "char" to the inside of the barrel and does not impart quite as much heavy wood/smoke components). Beautiful length on this wine - it could pass for Burgundy (if that is not too much of a cliche), but to me there is an underlying tone in this wine that is not Old World - it has weight that I find more typical in New World wines - yet at the same time I do not put this in the category of typical New World. There flavors are persistent throughout the entire tasting field which lingers for quite some time.

Find out more about Keith Tulloch and his wines at: www.keithtullochwine.com.au

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