Brokenwood-Graveyard-Vineyard-Shiraz-2001
Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 2001

Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 2001

Sale price$290.00
Pokolbin (Lower Hunter), Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Cork

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Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 2001

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Australia

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Producer: Brokenwood

Country: Australia

Region: Hunter Valley

Vintage: 2001

Critic Score: 95

Alcohol: 13.5%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: Now


A veritable icon, from a low yielding, single vineyard - James Halliday

James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2003

Brokenwood Wines is one of the Hunter Valley's heavyweights and their flagship red, the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, is one of the towering icons of Australian wine. The fruit is sourced from the Graveyard vineyard, first planted in 1968. 

"A veritable icon, from a low yielding, single vineyard, and not made every year. The black fruits of the bouquet have touches of regional earth backed by subtle oak; the palate offers much sweeter flavours, mixing blackberry and cherry through to a long finish. Surprising finesse."  James Halliday 

Expert reviews

"A veritable icon, from a low yielding, single vineyard, and not made every year. Even when it is, quantities vary widely. The black fruits of the bouquet have touches of regional earth backed by subtle oak; the palate offers much sweeter flavours, mixing blackberry and cherry through to a long finish. Surprising finesse. Drink 2006 to 2021."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 95 points and and Top 100 Wines of 2003

Awards

James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2003

Graveyard vineyard

Brokenwood vineyardThe Graveyard Vineyard is one of this country’s most significant. It’s mature enough, at a little over 50 years, though that’s not particularly old in this country’s oldest winegrowing region, the Hunter Valley. It’s significant for its history, with James Halliday prominent among the three solicitors that first planted it, with the first harvest ferried by Len Evans’ Bentley to the makeshift winery. And it’s significant for what followed, with the Brokenwood 'Graveyard Vineyard' Shiraz becoming one of the towering icons of Australian wine. Today, the vineyard has become solely focused on shiraz, with viticulturist Katrina Barry taking the baton of vineyard manager from her father, managing the site with sustainability as a core value.

"The Graveyard Vineyard is just south of the winery on McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin," says Barry. "The climate is subtropical with dominant summer rainfall. There are 10 hectares under vine on a gentle east-facing slope, varying in age from the original old vine plantings from 1968 to the most recent plantings in 2009. It is planted entirely to shiraz, with the last chardonnay and cabernet being removed in 2005."

"As the Graveyard Vineyard is planted on very heavy red clay, soil, compaction is an ongoing issue. Over the last few years, we have adjusted our midrow seed blend to include beneficial plants that naturally add nitrogen to the soil, build soil carbon and help to break up the clay and build organic matter in the soil."

Barry all but grew up at Brokenwood, with her first serious forays amongst the vines beginning at the age of 12. Her late father, Keith or KB, helped to plant the site in 1968, then going on to be the vineyard manager, a role he held for over two decades. Barry worked vintage alongside her father for 18 consecutive vintages, and in 2013 they shared the Viticulturist of the Year award at the Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards.

"The Graveyard Vineyard is a unique site with a history of consistently producing highly acclaimed shiraz, and it’s our duty to ensure it continues to produce wines of exceptional quality for generations to come," says Barry. "Wherever possible, we incorporate sustainable management practices in the vineyard, including using minimal inputs. Being the next custodian of vines that my father spent the majority of his working life tending certainly keeps me focused on building on his legacy."

The Brokenwood winery and the Graveyard Vineyard are both registered as certified members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, and Barry has spent much of the last decade evolving vineyard practices to align with a sustainable ethos. That includes mulching and under-vine cultivation, along with midrow cover crops to improve soil life and organic matter, increase water-holding capacity and reduce soil temperature in the warm Hunter growing season.

"We’re constantly looking at ways to do things better in the vineyard. I have had a strong focus on building soil and vine health," says Barry. "By installing moisture probes in the vineyard, we are able to much more accurately manage our water use. We only water the vines as required, and root zone porosity data enables us to plan around rain events and manage water more efficiently."

Annual plantings include oats and buster radishes as cover crops, with the radishes having large and deeply penetrating taproots that open up the soil for water and air penetration, while also helping to reduce compaction from machinery passes. "As the Graveyard Vineyard is planted on very heavy red clay, soil, compaction is an ongoing issue," says Barry." Over the last few years, we have adjusted our midrow seed blend to include beneficial plants that naturally add nitrogen to the soil, build soil carbon and help to break up the clay and build organic matter in the soil." 

Wallaby grasses and other native plantings have also been established to enhance biodiversity and encourage beneficial insects. Microbat boxes are also soon to be established in these corridors, which will enhance the natural integrated pest management plan. Barry is also in the process of replanting vine material that never made the top grade, with the last block of lesser clonal material making way for massal selections (propagating cuttings from the best performing vines). 

"The old vine blocks, which make up the heart of Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, are planted on top of the ridge of a gentle east-facing slope," says Barry. "The original vines, planted in 1968, were taken from cuttings from one of the original Mt Pleasant vineyards. Additional plantings were made though the mid 90s to PT23 and 1654 clones, which never made the grade in regard to quality. All subsequent planting during the 2000s were cuttings taken from the original old vines."

That last block to be replanted has also seen Barry change the row orientation to manage hotter seasons. It’s an experiment that works in with other adaptive measures. "The biggest challenge is planning ahead for a changing climate, which in the Hunter Valley can be challenging at the best of times," she says. "Adaptation and mitigation strategies are in place, such as the use of sunscreens to protect leaf vigour, enhancing biodiversity to promote vine health and resilience and managing our water usage. We also ensure that the vines have plenty of sub-soil moisture at the start of the season to ensure we are not needing to play catch up later in the season, when the weather is hotter and evaporation loss is greater." 

And those strategies are paying off, and even in the most challenging seasons, with Barry working closely with the winemakers to produce the best fruit possible "I have great relationship with the winemaking team, and we work very closely throughout the year. My late father and I have long worked with Iain Riggs, and I carry this relationship on with Stuart Hordern and Kate Sturgess. 

"While it is difficult to pinpoint one thing that I do that contributes to the final bottled product, I am particularly proud of the way we managed the vineyard during the drought. Through the use of mulch, compost, sunscreen and judicious irrigation, we are able to ensure we had sufficient canopy to both ripen and protect our fruit during hot spells. The result of this was there to be seen when the 2018 Graveyard Shiraz was named as James Halliday’s Wine of the Year in 2020."

The above article is reproduced from: https://younggunofwine.com/vineyard/brokenwood-graveyard-vineyard-hunter-valley/

About the winery

Brokenwood founding members: Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday

Brokenwood founding members: Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday

A group of three wine-loving Sydney-based lawyers - James Halliday, John Beeston and Tony Albert - established Brokenwood in 1970. They’d decided to start a winery in the Hunter Valley, which was geographically the closest wine region, and after a couple of years searching, they bought a 10 acre block near the intersection of the McDonalds and Broke Roads in Pokolbin. This was to become Brokenwood.

The first acre and a half was planted in 1971, and the three lawyers got their hands dirty doing a lot of the tractor work and planting themselves, as well as the pruning and picking. The first wine was made in 1973, from a ton of Shiraz and half a ton of Cabernet, at Rothbury. Halliday, who went on to become Australia’s most celebrated wine writer, was involved with Brokenwood for just over a decade, but had to leave when he moved to Melbourne in 1983.

In 1982 the partners decided to diversify into white wine production and appointed Iain Riggs (formerly of Bleasedale and Hazelmere in McLaren Vale) as winemaker and managing director. Iain introduced new winery equipment and facilities specifically for premium white wine production. Just a year later Brokenwood’s output was 70% white. Semillon became a major focus and by 2009 12,000 cases of regular Hunter Semillon were made each year, plus 2,000 cases of single-vineyard wines.

Brokenwood completed the move from cork-to-screwcap closures by 2004 and has since been a 100% screwcap winery, an issue Iain felt strongly about. He recalls how they recently colour sorted 48.000 bottles of reserve Semillon from 1998–2002, all under cork. They ended up with four grades. The lightest colour, grade A, was kept for museum stock. Grades B and C were released for sale. Grade D, the darkest wines, were scrapped, representing some 30% of production.

Stuart  Hordern joined the winemaking team in 2009 and was promoted to Senior Winemaker in December 2014. Iain Riggs retired in 2020 as Managing Director and Chief Winemaker after 38 vintages at Brokenwood, with Stuart Hordern taking over as head of the winemaking team.

In December 2018, co-founder James Halliday officially opened Brokenwood's $8 million cellar door complex. The cellar door is one of the largest in the Hunter Valley, covering 1,400 square metres and able to accommodate more than 250,000 visitors annually.

Brokenwood produces an extensive Hunter Valley range of wines, notably the Hunter Valley Semillon and the two flagship wines, the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz and the ILR Reserve Semillon.  In addition, Brokenwood has over the years expanded its production well beyond its Hunter homeland. There is also a range of wines from regions including Beechworth, Orange, Central Ranges, McLaren Vale, Cowra and Yarra Valley.

Wine region map of New South Wales

New South Wales

New South Wales is home to more than 500 wineries across 16 wine regions that produce a range of extremely diverse wines. The regions are Canberra District, Cowra, Gundagai, Hastings River, Hilltops, Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Murray Darling, New England, Orange, Perricoota, Riverina, Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven Coast, Swan Hill and Tumbarumba.

Hunter Valley is New South Wales' best known wine region and has long stolen much of the spotlight . It is also Australia’s oldest continuous wine region - the first vineyard at Wyndham Estate was established in 1828 using cuttings supplied by viticulturist James Busby, widely considered the father of Australian wine. Semillon is perhaps the most iconic wine of the Hunter Valley and is among the greatest and most distinctive wines of Australia - if not the world.

New South Wales' wine regions have a wide range of microclimates. The Great Dividing Range has a substantial influence on the climate of many of the viticultural areas. The regions of higher elevation, such as Canberra District, Canberra District, Orange and Tumbarumba have cooler climates with more continental influences. These regions are responsible for some of the State's most enticing chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, riesling and sauvignon blanc. They, together with the Hunter Valley, which by contrast, is very warm, with high humidity and a large amount of rainfall during the growing and harvest season, produce the bulk of the high quality wine in New South Wales.