Hugh Hamilton, ‘The Ratbag’ Merlot, 2016
Hugh Hamilton is the 5th generation of a large wine dynasty and is regarded as the black sheep of the family. His daughter and 6th generation of the family, Mary, continues the legacy, making Hugh Hamilton winery Australia’s oldest wine family.
McLaren Vale is red wine heaven, with an ideal climate for bigger-bodied reds, but, with careful site selection, the region can grow pretty much anything. Merlot can be more difficult than some, with erratic yield and ripening habits; its unpredictability is sufficient reason for calling it ‘The Ratbag’. It certainly has a
character all its own.
The Ratbag is always a reminder to Hugh that Merlot is so much more than just a soft red wine. Each year the fruit that grows in their Church Vineyard tenaciously produces the most varietal Merlot I have ever tasted – not only soft, but full of character and class.
Hugh HamiltonHugh is the fifth generation of the family that planted the first vineyards at Glenelg in 1837, less than one year after European settlement in South Australia. As with all families one is a black sheep and Hugh Hamilton is it. You can expect therefore to enjoy the difference.
The black sheep is the master of a most reprobate flock, with characters such as ‘The Rascal’ Shiraz, ‘The Scallywag’ Unwooded Chardonnay and ‘The Villain’ Cabernet Sauvignon – this is no ordinary line up. The wines are not ordinary either. There is a fascinating range of very individualistic wines that have great character.
Hugh has a clear vision about the way he sees wines and he produces accordingly. He is a firm believer in the wine and food experience. Neither is magic. Both are great, especially in the company of good friends and lively conversation. His wines therefore are eminently drinkable and certainly very “more-ish”; (that means you’ll always come back for the next glass!). These wines are not simple. They have such character and depth of flavour they can become a topic of dinner party conversation on their own.
"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and likes to see us happy." so said Benjamin Franklin, and Hugh agrees.
Brief Tasting NotesAppearance: Bright, ruby red
Nose: Minty berry
Palate: The palate is succulent with the complex tastes of berries, black olives and spice. There is body to this wine generated from the supple tannins and integrated oak. This wine has a long and persistent after taste which satisfies the palate.
James Halliday: “Bright colour; McLaren Vale has always produced bouncy, juicy merlot, and this is no exception; the flavour is given complexity by a distinctly savoury, black olive, finish”
Specific DetailsComposition: 100%
Merlot Year: 2008
Alcohol Content: 15%
Drink: Enjoy until 2016
Awards: 91 points, James Halliday