Our red wines include a highly rated traditional style long lasting Hunter Shiraz and highly rated Justine Merlot from the clay on the lime stone soils. A Cabernet-Merlot blend remains one of our most popular wines. They exhibit great varietal character. We have pioneered Sangiovese in the Hunter, a well matched climate, producing a Rosato di Jupiter, a straight Saphira Sangiovese as well as the a blended style of Sangiovese Tarantella.
As in Bordeaux, Merlot is best grown on elevated hill top clay soil which we have a 1.3 hectare block of. The roots are protected from drying out by the clay and with crop thinning we achieve rich ripe fruit. Initial barrel and stainless steel fermentation it is transferred to French oak barrels for malolactic ferment and aged for about 20 months. The colour is purple red with rich dark berry flavours. The wines structure and ageing potential are excellent.
Planted on the middle slope with a northeasterly aspect and good drainage, the chocoloate-clay on limestone contributes to the vibrant fruit we produced from this block. About 20% of the juice is barrel fermented, the rest in stainless steel. The wines undergo malolactic fermentation in French and American oak, and are aged for 12-16 months. About 1/3 new oak is used each year. Production is about 4,000 bottles per year. Typically medium to dark red colours with blackberries, chocolate, tobacco and Hunter sweet leather characters. The tannins are soft and round with lingering taste. The wines reflect the seasons being more intense in dry years.
The noble grape of Italy – Sangiovese has proved very successful in our vineyard for its flavours and style. The climate is warm during the growing season and can rain at harvest time just like Tuscany! A late ripening variety, it is heavy bearing and requires crop thinning at Veraison. This helps the maturation and concentration of flavours. The green berries removed are pressed to make Verjus, a traditional condiment for salads and cooking. Saphira Sangiovese produced only in the best years, this wine is aged in 30% new oak and the remainder in old oak barrels. It is bottled after one year and held for another year before release. The wine is medium ruby in colour with aromas of blackberries, cherries and redcurrant. The tannins are soft, dry and persistant. Recommended with spicy sauced pasta and mild tasting red meats.
For those who enjoy the Cabernet Merlot blend of Bordeaux classics this has the addition of Hunter softness that comes from our Terroir. The low yielding Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from a well drained creek bed site while the merlot enjoys the clay soil at the top of the hill. The nose is attractive with those dark berry aromas allied to gently toasted oak. Tintilla Estate Cabernet Merlot is generally medium bodied with well balanced fruit, oak and fine tannins. There is a good persistent finish. Ideally matched with food where the balance between flavours should not be one sided.
This is a new style of wine for us a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet, one of Australia’s most popular styles.