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Sunday, 13 June 2021

Three Hill-Smith Wines from South Australia

Three elegant summer wines from Australia's Hill-Smith, including Tasmania'Jansz and Dalrymple

Not to be confused with the Fresh Price of Bel Air, Hill-Smith is a fifth generation family-run wine estate based in South Australia with a sporting history.

The website explains: over five generations, members of the Hill-Smith family have been pioneers in locating exceptional vineyard sites that maximise the personality of their wines. These wines honour the contribution that Wyndham Hill-Smith OBE (1909 - 1989) made to wine, sport and life in Australia.

Well known as a cricketer, Wyndham Hill-Smith both shared the crease with Bradman and faced Larwood at his peak. He was a keen thoroughbred owner, with more than 500 race wins, and well recognised as a generous host and charming raconteur.

Importantly, Wyndham oversaw in the 1960s and ’70s the innovative return of viticulture from the floor of the Barossa Valley to the cooler climes of the high altitude Barossa ranges, known as Eden Valley. In these conditions, finesse, elegance and understated power replace the robust and earthy style of the lower altitudes.

Beyond South Australia, Hill-Smith also owns wineries in cool-climate Tasmania. These three wines are perfect for an elegant summer garden party or picnic - if you thought Australia was just hefty, high-alcohol blockbusters, these elegant Burgundian-style wines will invite you to think again.


Jansz Tasmania Premium Rosé (£18.99, Slurp Frazier’s Wines, Noble Green Wines, Liquorice Wines, www.winedirect.co.uk)

Cool-climate traditional method (aka Methode Tasmanoise) Tasmanian fizz from the very best Tasmanian vineyards, Australia’s home of premium sparkling wine. 

The cool latitude and maritime climate are a major contributory factor to the success of these wines. The fruit is grown on specially selected sites, handpicked and crafted as individual batches resulting in a stylish and complex wine.

Very pale salmon pink, yeasty-brioche biscuit nose, delicate redcurrants, soft red fruit and orchard fruits, creamy-oatmealy brazil nut and saline minerality; vibrant, fresh, elegant and persistent.

Very Good - and better value than an equivalent Champagne.

Drink as an aperitif; match with prawns, salmon, ham or picnic foods..


Hill-Smith Eden Valley Chardonnay 2019 (£11.99, Waitrose) 

The rugged, undulating high country of Eden Valley is one of Australia’s premier cool climate wine regions and home to some of the Hill-Smith family’s favourite vineyards where plantings of special Burgundian clones have now come of age for this blend.

The finer flavours, produced by these clones, combined with the use of natural ‘wild yeast’ fermentation and careful crafting results in a more complex and elegant wine with rich creamy flavour and acidity.

The wine has extended lees aging and some new oak

Pale straw with green tints, fragrant aromas of fresh stone fruit, quince and citrus zest with oaky spice minerality; fresh peach and citrus curd with grapefruit acidity, savoury leesiness and a fine creamy texture. Deft, elegant and complex.

Drinking nicely now and will improve further with some cellaring.

Good and Good Value for the quality.

A versatile food wine, match with anything from fish and white meats to salmon fillet with Asian greens or chickpea falafel.


Dalrymple Pinot Noir 2019 (£32.99, Vinvm Flagship Wines)

Cooler than mainland Australia, Tasmania specialises in styles usually found towards the north of France. This Pinot Noir is a blend of different parcels of fruit, from vineyards across the Pipers River region in the northern part of Tasmania.

An easterly aspect, red basalt soils, natural flora and cool sea breezes combine to encourage slow and even ripening of the grapes allowing their natural flavours to shine through.

Dark, deep garnet-purple; intense blackberry, dark cherry and ripe plum with charred spices, dried herbs and liquorice; juicy plum and dark fruits with blue fruits and five spice; fine yet firm tannins; fresh, supple and elegant.

Drinks nicely on first opening, opens up with some aeration and will repay some cellaring.

Very Good.

A versatile food wine, match with game, spiced foods and cured meats.

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