Next time you are in the supermarket …

Recently I attended a tasting of wines from the McWilliam’s family, an Australian producer with several different brands in their portfolio. At The Drunken Duck in Soho, McWilliam’s Asia Pacific GM, Garrick Harvison, took us through a tasting of wines from the mid-tier Hanwood Estate range and the relatively new Appellation Range, both of which showed very well but for rather different reasons.


The Hanwood range is priced at around $99 HKD and is perfect for the time-poor shopper who likes to kill two birds with one stone and pick up a couple of bottles of wine while at the supermarket. We tasted the Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hanwood Estate range and what impressed me, apart from the extraordinary value for money, was the quality of the wines. Each wine showed good typicity and by that I mean the label told me what the grape variety was and liquid in the glass delivered.

McWilliam's Hanwood Riesling NVMcWilliam's Hanwood Shiraz NVMcWilliam's Hanwood Cab Sauv NV

The 2014 Riesling was very perfumed conjuring up images of fresh citrus fruit, white flowers and chalk dust. There was good weight on the palate, the fruit was perfectly ripe and the acidity was crisp leaving my palate pleasantly refreshed. Although the appellation on the label is New South Wales, legally there is an allowance for 15% of grapes to come from other regions and in this wine, the winemaker uses this allowance to add a dash of fruit from the famed Eden Valley in South Australia bringing fresh lemon and lime juice notes to the wine.

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon also makes use of that permitted 15% in the blend with fruit from the renowned Coonawarra region being included in the wine. This is a lighter style Cabernet Sauvignon, restrained in structure and offering delicious aromas and flavours of red and black fruit, spice and liquorice together fine tannins and well integrated oak.

The final wine in this trio was the Hanwood Estate 2013 Shiraz, a dangerously drinkable wine of sweet red fruits and soft tannins with a dose of spice on the palate. This was so easy to drink that I could easily imagine sharing a bottle or two with a group of friends and pizza!

At under $100 HKD a bottle and even less if you buy two bottles, the Hanwood Estate wines are extremely competitive for both price and quality – and not a critter in sight on the label!

McWilliam's Appellation Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2013

For something completely different, and not to be found on your supermarket shelves, we tasted two wines from the recently released Appellation Range; the 2013 Tumbarumba Chardonnay and the 2014 Canberra Syrah. Developed a year ago the Appellation Range showcases wines that are made in a more restrained style with fruit sourced from cooler sites such as the Canberra district. The Chardonnay was quite linear in structure with refreshing acidity and elegant floral notes, which followed through nicely on the palate to sit alongside ripe but not overtly ripe citrus fruit and very subtle hints of oak.

The final wine of the tasting was the highly perfumed Syrah, which was enjoyed with crispy pork – a rather tasty pairing to say the least! This wine is led by white pepper notes and shows a finesse to the structure with the spice nicely off-set by floral aromas, bringing to mind fresh violets. On the palate the wine is elegant and well balanced with oak and tannins being subtle and fine-grained respectively.

McWilliam's Appellation Syrah 2013

The Appellation Range is priced at a higher point than the Hanwood Estate range as you would expect, yet at $258 HKD it is no where near the premium bracket and again represents excellent value for money – a theme evident throughout the tasting. Once again there was not a cute animal in sight, instead each label is an artist reproduction of the vineyard site from which the grapes are sourced and just another touch of quality from this historic Australian producer.

So next time you are in the supermarket, whether it be in Hong Kong or China, or any number of countries where this wine is available, pop a couple of bottles of Hanwood Estate in your cart or trolley and see what you think. And the next time you are perusing a wine list, if you see the McWilliams Appellation Range on offer be sure not to let the opportunity of enjoying a glass or two pass you by.

Happy Drinking!

Images kindly supplied by McWilliams Wines

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Published by Happy Wine Woman

Wine consultant currently based in Melbourne, Australia.

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