Hear-ye, hear-ye! Here’s an impressive line-up of new release wines from Dean Hewitson… the new whites fresh, vibrant and ready for spring, and the reds intense, rich and powerful, all having undergone the Beaujolais ‘remontage’ technique of pumping grape juice from the bottom of the vat over the top of the grapes during vinification. This process keeps the wines as fruity as possible: a veritable old-world method for modern times. These Barossa reds, all at 14% alcohol, are looking smart, drinking beautifully, and the best bottles age-worthy for years to come.
Hewitson 2021 Lu Lu Sauvignon Blanc $26
From one of the highest and coolest sites in the Adelaide Hills comes this fresh, fruit-driven and immensely quaffable sauv blanc. With aromas of passionfruit and honeydew melon, this is a vibrant and lively wine, but it also has a soft and generous texture making it super easy to guzzle. Fresh, dry and juicy. Yes please! No preservatives were used other than a small amount at bottling, and it is vegan to boot. Screwcap closure.
I would drink this with a little salad of roasted beetroot, Meredith goats cheese, olive oil-dressed soft young leaves and a few toasted hazelnuts.
Hewitson 2021 Gun Metal Riesling $28
This wine hails from the Eden Valley, one of the greatest of riesling regions, and is named for the grey colour of the vineyard stone, the wine’s steely minerality and its gun-powder dryness. The 2021 vintage produced only a small crop and was whole-bunch pressed in the winery, resulting in a clear and pale wine bursting with green apples, fresh cut lime, makrut lime leaves, orange blossom and blood orange zest aromas. Deliciously fresh, bright and zingy, there are mineral, stoney and savoury flavours on the palate – almost like licking a cold metal playground swinging bar (or was that only me?). This dry riesling has moreish bitter peel flavours too, and chalky acidity that refreshes and entices at the same time. Again, no preservatives were used other than a small amount at bottling, and it’s also vegan. Screwcap closure.
My kinda riesling, and one I would match to a dish of kingfish crudo with radishes and ponzu, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Boom.
Hewitson 2019 Lu Lu Shiraz $26
The sister wine to Lu Lu Sauvignon Blanc and named for Dean’s daughter, the grapes for this wine come from 22-year-old vines in Rowland Flat at the cooler southern end of the Barossa Valley. The wine’s aromas are of plush fruits of the forest – blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries – with layers of dark chocolate and tobacco. On the palate it has a rich, ripe frame, with flavours of liquorice bullet and vanilla over the berries, and a smooth and supple mouthfeel, like drinking a liquid velvet smoking jacket. The Lu Lu Shiraz over-delivers for the price, in spades. Screwcap closure.
The dish to accompany this wine? A few little BBQ’d lamb cutlets, still pink in the middle, with rustic ratatouille and crispy sauteéd potatoes.
Hewitson 2019 The Mad Hatter Shiraz $50
The Mad Hatter is a super-selection blend of Hewitson’s best Barossa Valley vineyards – the name referring to an old nickname for Dean himself – from shiraz vines fifty years old. A small and intense crop has produced a savoury beast: three weeks on skins has produced a deeply coloured liquid with fruit notes of bramble, fruits of the forest, blueberry crumble & vanilla ice cream, layered with dark chocolate, the earthiness of beetroot and the leather seats of a luxury car.
The wine’s texture is like silk, it’s plush and creamy and smooth with soft tannins interwoven throughout. Sixteen months in seasoned oak has brought mouthfeel and a determined grip at end. The wine is opulent and lovely and whilst delicious now would be wonderful to discover again in 10 years’ time. Cork closure.
The Mad Hatter shiraz would be fantastic with the Lebanese lamb dish Fatteh Blahmeh: lamb shanks slow-cooked with pomegranate molasses, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and chickpeas and served with crunchy pita and Greek yoghurt. Yum.
Hewitson 2019 The Ancients Shiraz $50
This wine is borne of generational descendant vines from a single vineyard above Rowland Flat at the cooler southern end of the Barossa Valley, and it’s inky and dark in the glass, with pure shiraz expression on the nose: blackberry and blueberry fruits, violets, pepper and aromatic spice and creamy vanilla. The palate is supple and rich, youthful as you’d expect, ripe and rich Barossa at its best: with fruit intensity, it’s mouth-filling, and there’s something else, something savoury in the background like feint sarsaparilla or dandelion and burdock to add intrigue. The texture is creamy, elegance with all the power, with those smooth and integrated tannins again, like a footnote, from twenty months in seasoned oak. An important and delicious wine and one that will repay cellaring. Screwcap closure.
I would go all out here with an all-butter puff steak and kidney pie, with veal stock and red wine reduction and creamy Paris mash, minted peas on the side.
Hewitson Old Garden Vineyard 2018 Mourvèdre RRP $88
The Old Garden vineyard was planted in 1853 and is believed to be the oldest mourvèdre vineyard in the world. Dry-grown without the use of irrigation, these eight original rows of vines are pre-Phylloxera plantings. The wine itself is a deep crimson in the glass, it’s big, bold and heady on the nose, multilayered and meaty, with rich mocha notes, and garam masala spice, violets, pepper, almost gravelly. In the mouth the wine continues its journey of intensity with juicy ripe black fruits and juniper notes, and whole-bunch fermentation (fifty percent for this vintage) adding to its powerful fruit profile. The palate is smooth and full-bodied, with vanillin oak playing more of a role here in both flavour and tannin, with a determined but balanced grip, along with an element of orange zest and a delicious tanginess to finish. It is super-youthful and pays to be decanted if drinking now, but you also could be confident in cellaring this wine for a decade or even two. This is veritable Australian history in the glass and an intoxicating (in more ways than one!) way to drink it in. Cork closure.
This ancestor vine mourvèdre is going to need something smashing to go with it, so my pick here would be cochinillo – Spanish roasted suckling pig – with moist umami flesh and crispy shattered cracking with patatas bravas and a simply dressed tomato and white onion salad. Bravo.