Regions >New South Wales > Hunter zone >Hunter Valley region

: Brokenwood



McDonalds Rd, Polkobin, 2321

Cellar Door: Daily (10-5)

Ph: (02) 4998 7559

Brokenwood was founded in 1970 by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors - Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday (now Australia's most famous wine writer) - who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges.

The original block - originally planned as a cricket ground for the local community was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Brokenwood's inaugural vintage in 1973 yielded a mere 75 dozen Shiraz - Cabernet.

While none of the original partners claimed to know anything about viticulture, the wine received praise, and attracted a loyal following from its first vintage. In 1975, a new winery was built to accommodate the growing production.

Growth was steady until the boom of 1978, when six new partners joined, allowing the purchase of the next door 'Graveyard Vineyard'. The Graveyard Vineyard created Brokenwood's flagship wine, the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz, which is still sourced exclusively from this one vineyard.

James Halliday departed in the 1980s to pursue his Pinot Noir wine-making passion at the Yarra Valley's Coldstream Hills. In 1982, the company, following the arrival of Ian Riggs, extended its range to include white wines - notably the jewel of the Hunter Valley, Semillon. Riggs also expanded the portfolio to include the multi-regional blend wines, such as the popular retail chain Cricket Pitch range, are sourced from cooler regions throughout Australia.

At the premium level the portfolio includes a variety of single vineyard expressions of Shiraz, Shiraz Viognier, Semillon and Viognier. The Icon level is for the Graveyard and HBA Shirazes as well as the ILR Reserve Semillon (which is one of the great examples of the Hunter Semillons style).


Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 2014

Purchased: Not ($235)


(GXY) Tasting: May 2017, 5 trophies at Hunter Valley Wine Show 2015, perfumed and dusty blackberry, sour plum and red cherry, concentrated but in a lithe, medium bodied format, dark earthiness with emergent gaminess and just a touch of leather, savoury French and American oak barriques, very good persistence and line (*****)

Brokenwood ILR Semillon 2011

Purchased: Not ($65)

Drink: 2028

(GXY) Tasting: May 2017, a cooler vintage but the Hunter missed the worst of the summer 2011 east coast rain events, in the transitional stage, floral and linear lemon grass and melon with waxiness, tobacco and emergent toast/honey notes, some charry nuttiness and the firm grapefruit acidity of the vintage (*****)

Brokenwood Maxwell Vineyard Semillon 2009

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2026

(GXY) Tasting: May 2017, Gold Medal at Hunter Valley Wine Show 2016, straw-green colour, linear, lean and pure lemon peel, green apple and melon with a hint of peach, transitional with emerging lanolin and toast, unoaked, chalky spine with vibrant acidity, still quite fresh and vibrant after 8 years (****1/2)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz 2014

Purchased: Not ($43)

Drink: 2030

(GXY) Tasting: May 2017, includes declassified fruit from the Graveyard vineyard, medium bodied but deep set black cherry and plum with anise and violet notes, earthy with saltbush, dried herb and white pepper aspects, firm grainy and savoury tannins (****1/2)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2016

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2021

(GXY) Tasting: May 2017, slightly steely lemon grass, melon and lime with dried herb nuances, viscous with some underlying chalkiness, lemon sherbet finish, not particularly long (***1/2)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2013

Purchased: Dynasty Fine Wines, Malvern, Vic ($28)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, tangy and bright lemon sherbert, cut hay and honeydew melon with tobacco and dried herb notes, long and viscous with fine, underlying chalkiness and balanced citrussy acidity, more for the short-medium term but an attractive, entry style (****)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2012

Purchased: Not ($A20)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, straw-green colour, apple and lime blossom aromas, particularly fresh and vibrant palate showing lemon grass and cut hay with a touch of pineapple sweetness, some lanolin mouth feel, maintains a very good line and length with racy citrus acidity, a good entry level style (****)

Brokenwood Stanleigh Park Vineyard Semillon 2007

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, Gold Medal at Sydney Royal Wine Show 2012, first release from this single vineyard from the silt flats of Black Creek, classic green tinged Hunter Valley hue, waxy lemon and green apple with lemongrass and lanolin notes, emergent toasty honeysuckle, wrapped in lively citric acidity, a well balanced wine with excellent line and length, will have a long cellaring life (*****)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, the Hunter Valley managed to miss the floods that hit most of south-east Australia, green-tinged straw colour, delicate lemon, cut grass and apple flavours that build intensity along palate with lime sherbert on the back half, clean finish with tangy lemony acidity, enough focus and balance for medium term cellaring (****)

Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($150)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2011, a top effort given the heavy rain events that affected the vintage, heady and brambly cherry, redcurrant and plum with leather and roast meat notes, a very long medium bodied palate that unfurls savoury dark fruits and fine sheets of pliant tannin, good acid balance with the predominantly French oak bring some cedar/vanilla/chocolate to the finish, evokes old school Hunter style (****1/2)

Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon 2006

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2011, straw-green colour, fairly lively although entering transitional stage, tangy melon and lemon sherbert with tobacco and lemon grass notes, tightly structured with some emerging lanolin and honeysuckle, well balanced savoury and chalky finish (****1/2)

Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon 2005

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2010, floral and aromatic nose, long core of lime sherbert, melon and lemon rind with a touch of tobacco and lemon grass, well balanced and waxy palate with light toastiness and a fine chalky and savoury finish, still a bit transitional but has enough acid to develop another five years, top effort from one of the Hunterís best recent vintages (*****)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon 2007

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting, July 2008, clean and tight style, delicate up front lime slides into melon and cut grass with a touch of lemon grass, plenty of chalky texture with subtle herbality, balanced acidity, only 11% alcohol, good value although early developing (****)

Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon 2002

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting, Dec 2007, toasty melon, citrus and nutty aromas, waxy palate shows dried flower, honey and lemon sherbert, long savoury finish, cooler vintage has given tight definition, still a touch transitional, in five year sit should be superb (**** 1/2)

Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($35)

Dlabelrink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting, Sept 2007, fragrant, ripe blackberry and red plums, meaty and medium bodied palate with leather and savoury aspects and some underlying leafiness, fine grained tannins, good length (****)

Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2003

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($18)

Drink: 2006

(GXY) Tasting: April 2006, 55% Sauvignon Blanc, blend from Orange, Cowra, King Valley and McLaren Vale (Sauv Blanc), bright straw-green colour, green pea, lychee and tropical fruit aromas, fruity palate shows passionfruit and mandarin with pronounced sweet vanilla oak, finishes sweet with hint of melon (***1/2)