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Tuesday 3 August 2021

Digging the new Graveyard

Leading Hunter Valley winery Brokenwood had a succession plan in place for when legendary winemaker Iain Riggs retired.

Riggs had for several years worked with Stuart Hordern (above with viticulturist Katrina Barry) 
and Kate Sturgess, who have now taken the reins. 

So credit for the extraordinarily good Brokenwood 2019 Graveyard Shiraz ($350) is shared by all three.

From the third dry vintage in a row - a recent rarity in the Hunter - the old vines of the Graveyard Vineyard were harvested in the second week of February in pristine condition from what the winemaking team described as "an effortless high quality vintage"

The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz has long been recognised for its quality and history; it was included in the first Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, and in 2010 elevated to the top Exceptional category, which it still holds today.

Viticulturist Keith Barry helped plant the site in 1968 and managed the vines for more than 30 years until his passing in 2016. Today, his daughter Katrina manages the vineyard.

Brokenwood purchased the Graveyard Vineyard in 1978. It was originally destined to be the Pokolbin cemetery, although was never used as such.

The 44-year-old vines produce intensely flavoured grapes, which are hand tended, hand-picked and fermented in French oak barrels for two years before release.

The 2019 is one of the best Graveyards I have seen over the past three decades - and the second great one in a row: powerful but elegant, super smooth with classic Hunter dark berry and soft leather characters that I gave 98 points. It is supple, beguiling and downright dangerous. A vinous Lolita.

Brokenwood suggest pairing with slow-roasted lamb shoulder. I paired it with steak and kidney pie. It will easily last a decade or more in the cellar if you have enough willpower, or would make a superb Father's Day gift.


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