The way I look and review a wine is probably a bit different to how you would normally consume a bottle. I get a group of people around to our house every week, and look at a wine as a group, getting feedback on the wines, across a broad and diverse range. Anything that is particularly good, I will hold onto and try again the next evening, and see how its evolved after being opened for a while. This changes the tastes, some become more expressive and others fade off to become dull and bland. Every now and again we come across a wine that is able to stand up to a few days of being opened, making it a great choice for those looking at mid-week wine, the type of wine where you only have a glass or two, and then come back to the bottle over the next few days.
The 2015 “Rylstone” Petit Verdot from Gartelmann Wines is one of those drops that lasts quite well over the course of a few days.
The fruit is sourced from a single vineyard located in the higher elevation of Rylstone, a sub region of Mudgee, and sits at 660 meters above sea level. The higher altitude offers slightly cooler and longer ripening times than the slightly lower Mudgee region at 500 meters. For example the Mudgee region did their harvest late February, whilst the Rylstone region wasn’t picked till mid-April. This extra time allows the fruit to develop extra depth and spice characters, which are laid on in spades with this vintage.
Gartelmann Wines are located in Lovedale in NSW’s Hunter Valley, and has been around since 1996 when Jorg and Jan Gartelmann decided to quit the software industry after a health scare and bought a run-down vineyard called George Hunter Estate, renaming it Gartelmann Wines, successfully knocking out their first vintage in 1998. In a move that probably didn’t impress his doctor or health insurance, the then 55 year old began the back breaking work of re-planting and rebuilding the vineyard, with the plan to create top quality wines from just 16ha of vines. There wasn’t a house or shed on the block so the couple bought a tent and slept on the acreage until a shed was built, just over a year later. They concentrated on growing the two classic Hunter styles, Shiraz and Semillon, hiring a winemaker, but the progress was slow going until they bought the adjoining property, moved to the Hunter Valley full time and started construction on a remarkable cellardoor and café which overlooks the man made lagoon.
After ten years of hard work, and numerous medals, the couple sold the vineyard, but retained the property and cellardoor, deciding to change their emphasis and concentrate on buying fruit from high quality growers, with the winemaking alchemy of Liz Jackson taking over from there.
From those early days of two wines they have expanded to now have 19 wines under label, with the fruit coming from the Hunter, Mudgee, Orange and that cooler Rylstone in the greater Mudgee area. This decision now allows them to find fruit that is grown in regions that best suit the variety. Year upon year they have added to their now overloaded and growing trophy cabinet, which ensures that the major portion of their wine is sold to their loyal and always growing mail list customers. Total production now sits at around 7000 dozen cases, and they export to the US, Germany, Singapore and China.
The wines can be hard to find locally, best option is your local independent bottleshop or online.
Gartelmann Diedrich Shiraz 2015 – all I could think was how well this would go with one of those massive inch thick cuts of steak coming off the bbq. The flagship wine from Gartelmann has taken six or so major gongs since its release, and with one sip its easy to see why. Great earthy notes, with dark red berry fruits, toasty oak and some sweet, dry toasted spice and florals with just a trace of gun smoke in here too. Light chocolatey and plummy notes, great length in the finish, and will hold about ten years in the bottle too. $50
Gartelmann “Rylston” Petit Verdot 2015 – this must be replacing Gartelmann’s old Mudgee label, and it’s a lot better for it. It’s a big chewy and muscular wine, there’s a load of dusty characters, supported by dark blue and black fruits, on the tongue those fruits show through ably supported by spice, a touch of eucalypt, and perhaps a little smoky paprika in there too, some cedar and cigar notes late in the long dry finish. A decant before drinking will serve well here, and it will see out a decade easily. The sheer depth and intensity of flavours here will help this stand up to some very bold dishes, big hearty stews or kangaroo. RRP $35.
Gartelmann “Jesse” Shiraz 2014 – earthy with rosemary, blueberry and a little of the old dark chocolate peppermint pattie. It’s driven by dark plummy notes, a little spice and some interesting tarry notes around the edges. The finish is long and supple, with a little vanilla nuttiness showing though from oak contact, a lighter feel in the mouth a touch creamy too, this isn’t one of those big chewy reds. Will hold well for the next decade in the bottle, pretty good value at its $30 RRP, has taken a swag of awards recently.