The Hilltops Region may constitute just 2% of NSW vineyards but according to sommelier Samantha Payne the region is nothing less than “small but mighty.” Punching enough weight to score a double-page spread in this month’s Australian Gourmet Traveller. Samantha’s Top 5 Picks include estate grown #FREEMANSecco2015 and #MoppityEscalierShiraz2014, and three wines crafted from Hilltops grapes by talented Canberra winemakers – Sam Leyshon Mallaluka Pet Nat, Nick Spencer Rosé and Bryan Martin’s Ravensworth Nebbiolo.
According to winemaker and viticulturist Brian Freeman, President of Hilltops Wine and founder of FREEMAN Vineyards, the key to the region’s special character is ‘an intensity of flavour’ found in all varieties.
Micro-climates also play a part. ‘The temperature and climate have very similar notes to Italy, making it perfect for slower ripening varieties like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Rondinella and Corvina.’
For Canberra based Nick Spencer, ‘It’s the one NSW region you go to if you want something interesting.’ And more winemakers are doing just that, sourcing and making exciting go-to wines. Hey wine explorers, next stop Hilltops?