One of the most well respected names in the industry, the Hill-Smith family has been at the forefront of Australian wine for more than 170 years. Following the establishment of Yalumba in the Barossa by his great-great grandfather in 1849, Robert Hill-Smith has during the past 30 years invested in some of the most exciting estate vineyards in Australia and New Zealand. At Hill-Smith Family Vineyards we seek to craft wines that reflect a thoughtful interpretation of grape, terroir and style. These are wines of individuality – that are both timeless and contemporary.
SupemarketNews chatted to winemaker Sam Wigan to find out more about their vineyard and top drop.
What characteristics of your wine are influenced by the physical landscape of your winery?
“Tempranillo is such a versatile variety and definitely speaks of the land and climate that it is grown in. The Barossa is very geologically diverse and this diversity comes through in the grapes. We source grapes from 14 vineyards across the Barossa, each vineyard adding layers of complexity and intense, concentrated flavour to the wine.”
What is one of the most rewarding things about winemaking?
“One of the most rewarding things about winemaking for me is seeing people enjoying the wine. It is something you spend a long-time crafting, and after 12 or 18 months of work to see people enjoying the wine really gives me a kick.”
“Running with Bulls Barossa Tempranillo is deep purple in colour. Aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry, and boysenberry, with hints of white pepper and clove. A palate full of plush dark fruit and chocolate with fine grain tannins.”
What was important in making this award-winning wine?
“One of the most important decisions is picking the grapes at the optimum time to get the flavour and balance right. We also ferment with wild or natural yeast to add texture. The wine is treated gently through the fermentation process to ensure we’re not extracting too much harsh tannin.”
“Some of my favourite pairings are simple Spanish tapas like patatas bravas and arancini, charcoal grilled lamb cutlets, wood-fired pizza with chorizo and roast capsicum, or simply garlic mushrooms on sourdough toast.”
How long can you shelf your winning bottle of wine for?
“The 2019 Tempranillo has great concentration and tannin presence. Those tannins will help this bottle of wine for many years. I have recently gone into my cellar and tried the 2010 Running with Bulls Tempranillo which is drinking beautifully, so I could see the 2019 drinking well 10-15 years from now, maybe longer.”
Who would your wine appeal to?
“Any red wine drinker! The wine is vibrant, juicy and lively, it will appeal to lovers of Pinot Noir, Syrah/ Shiraz, Merlot or Cabernet. The wine’s dark berry fruits and chocolate notes along with velvety smooth tannins is a style enjoyable to everyone.”
How would you describe this wine to someone who's never had this grape varietal/blend before?
“I would say it sits between a Shiraz and Merlot. It has lovely aromas reminiscent of black forest cake. They can be medium-bodied through to full-bodied and have a lovely tannin profile. I find the appeal of Tempranillo comes from the plush mid-palate and powdery tannins that make it great to drink on its own and even better paired with food. A Spanish varietal that will spark desires of Spanish siestas, fiestas and flamenco with its bright and lively expression.”
If you could do a wine bottle swap with any winery in NZ or the world, which winery and wine would it be with?
“In New Zealand, it would probably be Rippon from the South Island and Ata Rangi from the North, both wineries are making delicious Pinot Noir.
In the world, I would probably go with RODA, a producer from Rioja. Their wines are stunning, especially the RODA 1 from 2011!”
Founders: Robert Hill-Smith
Current Owner: Hill-Smith Family Vineyards
Winemaker: Sam Wigan
Location: Barossa Valley
Wine varietals produced: Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache)