Hugh Hamilton Wines
It starts with a black sheep.
Hugh Hamilton Wines’ tale begins 180 years ago in England. Working as tailor in his shop on the high street of Dover, Richard Hamilton, 45 years old (the age that most Englishmen died) packed up his life with his wife and nine children and sailed for 16 weeks as far from England as he could go…to the emerging colony of South Australia.
After living on the banks of the River Torrens he finally got access to the land he had bought sight unseen in England, where he had to teach himself to be a farmer. It wasn’t long before Richard noticed that something was missing in the new colony – wine!
Richard was a man of action, he wrote to friends in South Africa and asked them to send him grape vine cuttings which duly arrived dipped in wax to preserve their freshness. Richard planted the cuttings, the ﬁrst grape vines planted in South Australia and he produced the first wine in the colony. It wasn’t long before he was selling it to others making him the first wine salesman also. His founding varietals were Shiraz, Grenache and Pedro Ximénez.
Unwittingly Richard started an industry that South Australia is now world famous for, the wine industry. His legacy spawned a dynasty that makes Hugh and Mary custodians to Australia’s oldest wine family.
PS: Here’s a secret… Richard was not only an industrious tailor turned farmer, back in England he also had a side occupation… by the light of the moon living on the edge of the English Channel, he was a bootlegger who was bringing contraband Bordeaux into England. A true black sheep!
As the family winery moved from its location near the Adelaide CBD, Hugh’s father Burton bought land in the idyllic grape growing region of McLaren Vale. Hugh is also a black sheep, who marches to the beat of his own drum. He has developed his own vineyards where he has a very clear vision to honour the past but continually innovate to be a thoroughly contemporary wine business, which is run by the only member of the 6th generation, Mary Hamilton.
The Hamiltons have not missed a vintage in 180 years. That gives them a unique talent for grape growing that can probably be located on one of their chromosomes!
Hugh and Mary are driven by the quest for individuality and quality. It is rare to see a vineyard program where no expense is spared to achieve such excellence. The majority of the vines are now nurtured under a biodynamic regime. All vines are grown for flavour rather than yield.
Awards: Halliday Wine Companion 2019 - 5 Star Winery (fifth consecutive year)
The ‘Flock’ is the reprobate range of Black Sheep characters, from ‘The Rascal’ (Hugh’s father’s boyhood name for him) to ‘The Villain’ (there is always one lurking around). Made from classic and emerging varietals. These are wines of passion and personality.
‘Dark Arts’ range
Elusive, fiercely independent Black Sheep wines that will not be pinned down. Here is a range of wines from varieties that are not meant to go together, but work! They refuse to be part of the status quo; they are wine as art. Made off the grid in unconventional style that are all about varietals in quirky combos.
Awards: Halliday Wine Companion 2019 - ‘Black Ops’ 2016 Shiraz Superavi 93 Points
‘Black Blood’ range
This trio demonstrate with unequivocal dedication the power of terroir. Grown and produced identically these single vineyard Shiraz are one of the most compelling ongoing wine experiments in Australia right now. Three wines where the only difference is the unique piece of land they hail from, yet in aroma, flavour texture and palate weight they could not be more diverse.
“The three Black Blood shirazs are the most convincing trio linking different vineyard soils and the wine in the glass.” James Halliday
Awards: Halliday Wine Companion 2019 - ‘Black Blood I’ 2016 Cellar Door Vineyard Shiraz 95 Points; ‘Black Blood II’ 2016 Church Vineyard Shiraz 95 Points; ‘Black Blood III’ 2016 Black Sheep Vineyard Shiraz 95 Points
‘The Exotica’ collection
The Exotica Collection, the next chapter in Hugh’s Saperavi story.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the quirky and the rare. These are wines no-one else will ever see” - Hugh Hamilton
It began as a fascination, now it is Hugh’s obsession. You all know of his love for the ancient grape, Saperavi and the region it hails from. Georgia is the cradle of winemaking, dating back to 6000BC. With the help of his good friend and master Georgian Winemaker, Lado Uzunashvili, Hugh is thrilled to present the Exotica Collection.
Saperavi is thought to be the most ancient of red grapes. It is native to Georgia which has an 8,000 year old tradition of winemaking. Our Georgian Saperavi was grown in the Kakheti region of Georgia and hand harvested at 13.0 baume. It was fermented over a 10 day period in a tank and then racked off to barrels for a 15 month maturation period. The wine settled out bright in barrel and was bottled without filtration.
Awards: Halliday Wine Companion 2019 - ‘The Quirky’ 2014 Georgian Superavi 95 Points; ‘Oddball the Great’ 2014 Icon Superavi 91 Points