We are over the moon to introduce the beautifully crafted wines by Angus Vinden (owner/winemaker) of Vinden Estate Wines, Hunter Valley.
Angus mainly produces wines from the estate vineyard and local old vine sites, in particular the Somerset Vineyard in Pokolbin where Angus was mentored under eighth-generation grower Glen Howard. The Headcase series provides Angus with the freedom to make wines that are a little more eccentric compared to the Vinden Estate wines. We love all the wines which are produced with lots of texture underneath layers of primary fruit.
All the wines are handcrafted (literally not figuratively) on-site at their Hunter Valley vineyard and winery from hand-picked grapes using the traditional methods of open fermentation, hand plunging and basket pressing, as well as incorporating the best of modern wine making techniques.
The 2019 87 Block Single Barrel Chardonnay is incredible and comparable to a young Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru… We kid you not.
We thought it only right for Angus to introduce himself…
“My earliest memories are helping Mum & Dad after school; putting vine-guards on young vines and digging out concrete fermenters. My parents encouraged me to follow a different career path, completing 6 years of architectural study at University; it was a spur of the moment trip to Beaujolais and Burgundy 7 years ago that set me on my current path. After drinking one or three too many bottles of pinot including a 2001 Grand Cru Corton Bressandes (and making myself broke in the process), I called my parents at 3am and told them I was coming home to continue winemaking and put architecture on the backburner, and it has grown from there...
I maintain my families’ traditional label, which embodies a traditional ethos paying homage to my parents legacy as well as the traditional wine styles and produces of the region. The Vinden Headcase was established in 2015 when I took over the family business. The goal was to create great wines, which are as fun and distinctive to drink, as they were to make. The range focuses on producing delicious, unique, progressive styles that both respect and challenge the traditional regionality of the Hunter Valley. I believe it is my responsibility, just as O’Shea did up on the old hill, to continually redefine and reinvent the Hunter Valley. Tradition is not stagnant; it should constantly be redefined as we learn from the previous generation.” – Angus Vinden.
The Hunter Valley is the oldest commercial Wine Region in Australia dating back to 1828. As the current custodians, Angus has taken on the role to not only maintain, but to improve the Hunter Valley. All wines Vinden Wines produce are strictly sourced from Hunter Valley Vineyards, Angus believes when you go to Burgundy, you drink Burgundy. Therefore, when you are in the Hunter Valley, you should drink from the plethora of stunning and ancient viticultural sites we possess.
Vinden Wines sources from two vineyard sites, the estate vineyard and old vine blocks at Somerset Vineyard in Pokolbin where Angus was mentored under the 6th generation grower Glen Howard. The estate vineyard was first planted in 1995, the soil is heavy red clay; Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Gamay and Alicante are currently planted. Angus is in the process of expanding the estate vineyard holdings over the coming two years with Cinsault, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, additional Gamay and new clones of Chardonnay and Tempranillo going in the ground.
Somerset vineyard was originally planted in 1891, unfortunately during WWII the vines were pulled as demand for war time food outweighed grapes. Luckily in 1965 replanting began to re-establish one of the great sites in the original Parish of Pokolbin. As a hillside site it has both fine sandy loam soils and boasts a limestone hillside with granular red volcanic clay. Shiraz, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdelho, Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc are planted.
“Winemaking is an extension of farming for me, each vintage we are dictated to by Mother Nature and our grapes are a reflection of that growing season. That is the beauty and the art of viticulture and winemaking. Each wine and every bottle encapsulates that growing season. It is my role in the winery to guide them as carefully as possible from grapes and into wine, to ensure they are a true representation of that year and the terroir. The wines are made on-site from hand-picked grapes, wild yeast is employed and we ferment and mature in a multitude of vessels; concrete fermenters and eggs, stainless steel tanks, clay amphorae and oak 500L-2000L foudres. I showcase a different side to the Hunter Valley which keeps pace with the current market and new wine trends that are emerging.”
“I hope you enjoy drinking these as much as
I did making them. Cheers!”
73 Block Single Barrel Chardonnay 2019
97+ to 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The title tells you everything - The Chardonnay vines were planted in 1973 and only one barrel produced (circa 600 bottles) therefore, our allocation is limited. I would love to put this into a blind tasting as the nose is deceiving – This has the depth and complexity of a wine at least five years of age. Ripe pear, a waft of fresh grated ginger, yuzu and fresh lemon juice. The palate is packed tightly with stone fruits, super-elegant, tensile and displays searing intensity, which is most satisfying. There is so much energy and it would benefit from 3-5 years in the cellar. Delicious now but the investment is a few years down the line. Remarkable for such a young wine. Drink now to 2030+. Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
87 Block Single Barrel Chardonnay 2019
97++ to 99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from vines planted in 1987 and currently my favourite of the three Chardonnay’s as it combines the richness of the estate Chardonnay, with the finesse of the ’73 but the intensity and complexity is on a different playing field. The density is something quite extraordinary and rarely seen in the new world (for such a young wine) - Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru? Classic ‘Vinden’ yellow stone fruits, lemon, yuzu unfold from the glass with the added complexity of creamed oatmeal, spring flowers, minerals / chalk. Medium to full-bodied and showing a serious degree of class. Tightly wrapped, racy, balanced to perfection and almost perfect which is daft to declare for such a young, modestly priced wine. The purity is humbling as is the mouthfeel, which is easy to fall in love with. Honestly magical and a high point for an Aussie Chardonnay. This should be double the money. Enjoy a few bottles now and hide the rest for 5-10 years when you will be enjoying nirvana. Incredible and I must shut up! Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
"Oodles of finesse on show. This has the structure to age for a decade and will be magnificent in five years. Epic."
Somerset Vineyard Chardonnay 2019
96++ to 97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard where Angus once worked. The vines were planted in 1973, 1980 and 1987 over red volcanic clay and fine sandy clay loam. The bouquet offers ripe apricot, creme patissiere, spiced apple, fresh squeezed lemons, lemongrass with an undercurrent of minerals. The palate is medium-bodied but offers layer upon layer of ripe, citrus fruit. Tightly wound, tensile whilst offering incredible depth for its age. There’s a lovely creaminess which adds weight to the palate feel, which is beautifully contrasted by a seamless line of acidity. Oodles of finesse on show. This has the structure to age for a decade and will be magnificent in five years. Epic. Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
Headcase Single Barrel Shiraz #3 2018
Angus Vinden "This wine was one of 3 barrels selected from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard where I once worked; I know this vineyard almost as well as my own. In the stellar 2018 vintage I separated the three aspects of the vineyard; Easterly, Northerly and Westerly to explore the ‘Terroir’. Each block was picked, fermented and vinified separately. The Western Slope was planted in 1970 on orange volcanic clay soils, over weathered limestone in Pokolbin. The fruit was cold soaked, fermented in open concrete fermenters with wild yeast, hand plunged, basket pressed and aged in French oak for 14 months. Unfined, unfiltered and gravity fed to bottle."
£31.95 per bottle
or £292.75 per case of 12 In Bond
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard and a blend of three slopes: Eastern, Northern and Western – planted 1966, 1968, and 1970. Warm earth, dried spices, raspberry, green olives and vanilla waft from the glass. Medium-bodied, layered, elegant and immensely appealing. The tannins are super-fine and meld beautifully with the fruit, which is ripe, crunchy and juicy. I love the subtle star anise, spice, liquorice, touches of violet and toast which I imagine emanates from the French oak in which the wine rested for 16 months. Incredible length and finely polished – sensitive winemaking and will drink beautifully over the next decade. Ideally, leave this in the cellar for 3-5 years. Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware”
£31.95 per bottle
or £292.75 per case of 12 In Bond
96 points - Stuart McCloskey “A more lavish feel to both the nose and fruit profile. Clearly, made for immediate enjoyment, but with the structure to age well for 8-10 years. That tell-tale warm red clay soil emanates from the glass, with oodles of plush, dark fruits. Ripe, sumptuous with touches of cassis, oak and espresso. The palate is equally friendly and greets you with a wash of crisp, ripe red & dark fruits. The tannins are impeccably balanced and work in harmony with the zap of acidity. There’s heaps to like about this wine as it’s so accessible, flavoursome and friendly. Another 12-24 months in bottle will do it a lot of good. I could even imagine this dunked in an ice bucket for ten minutes and served on a warm, summer evening. Just a joy. Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
£22.95 per bottle
or £202.75 per case of 12 In Bond
Angus Vinden "Sourced from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard where I once worked; I know this vineyard almost as well as my own. Planted in 1969 over fine sandy loam soils, the fruit was hand picked in early February. The juice was fermented on solids in tank/ neutral oak and given extended lees contact to building complexity and texture. The wine shows the character of the old gnarled vines, balancing fruit with minerality."
£18.95 per bottle
or £162.75 per case of 12 In Bond
Angus Vinden "Sourced from the Trevena Vineyard, planted in 1920 on sandy loam soils, these unirrigated vines are situated along what has become known as the golden mile of Semillon on Hermitage Road. A select portion the hand picked grapes were separated to make this wine. A beautiful wine which whilst young is fresh and zesty, full of citris and refreshing acidity, but will reward those with patience to cellar for up to 10 years."
£26.95 per bottle
or £242.75 per case of 12 In Bond