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Brokenwood Wines
22 December 2022 | Cellar Door | Brokenwood Wines

Going to a Hunter Valley Wine Tasting? Read This First


Wine tastings are your way to discover your palate. We curate a bespoke experience for you that broadens your knowledge of wine, indulges your senses and celebrates a passion for the intricacies of winemaking.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a total wine novice, there are several things to keep in mind when embarking on any tasting experience to ensure you get the most out of your glass.

Here’s everything you can expect from the best wine tasting in the Hunter Valley.


What Happens During a Hunter Valley Wine Tasting?

Before we start sipping, let’s walk you through the details of what actually goes on at a Brokenwood wine tasting. We don’t want to spoil all the surprises for you, but it’s great to know a little bit about which wines to expect, what to look for when tasting, and how to practise wine tasting etiquette. Don’t worry, it doesn’t require a university degree!

Step into our Cellar Door and be greeted by a Brokenwood Cru member, aka your personal tasting guide. Snap a photo of our stunning tasting room and Terrace Wine Bar before taking a seat at your tasting pod. Here, you’ll find individual tasting cards, spittoons and, of course, glasses. Get comfy, because things are about to get deliciously fun.

Which Wines?

Tastings are curated in a very specific order to allow your palate to adjust, which lets you taste each vintage fully and effectively. Our wine list runs from lightest to richest, beginning with a light white Semillon and finishing with a sweet Sticky Wicket. This way, the wine before doesn’t overpower the next.

Our most popular Taste experience features a premium selection of seven Brokenwood Varietal and Single Vineyard wines: three whites, three reds and a dessert wine to finish.

  1. 2022 Semillon
  2. 2016 Tallawanta Vineyard Semillon 
  3. 2021 Chardonnay
  4. 2022 Rosato
  5. 2019 Hunter Valley Shiraz
  6. 2019 Indigo Vineyard Shiraz (a current staff favourite!)
  7. 2017 Sticky Wicket Semillon

Our tasting cards change seasonally, so be prepared for a slightly different menu during your next visit. This is to showcase those wines that are drinking particularly well at that time of year. There’s nothing better than a refreshing Semillon on a warm summer’s day, for instance!

Tastings Tips

The Hunter Valley is known for its excellence in two particular grape varieties, Semillon and Shiraz. Our tasting menus always include two contrasting styles of these wines from different vintages, which allows you to compare the notes and spot key differences between them.

You’ll also notice a mixture of Varietal and Single Vineyard wines in each tasting; this allows you to compare the unique notes and profile differences in each. Single Vineyards are produced in smaller batches with a more ‘hands on’ approach, which elevates their quality and rarity, whereas Varietals are a little more accessible (though just as delicious!). 

Your tasting guide will highlight these differences along the way, but it’s a great idea to sip and taste consciously. Let each wine sit on your tongue for a moment. Try to pinpoint its specific flavours and texture, and compare those elements to the previous wine. 

Approaching a tasting this way can alert you to the variations in each vintage - and voilà, you’re suddenly a wine connoisseur!

Bonus tip: On your tasting card, note down for food pairings that your Brokenwood Cru member recommends for each wine. If you’ve booked in for our Match or Journey experiences, you can indulge in these scrumptious bites during your tasting for an even more immersive experience. 

The 6 S’s of Wine Tasting Etiquette

If you really want to nail your Hunter Valley wine tasting, etiquette is everything, but it should never be intimidating. With these easy best practice tips, you’ll get the most out of your glass - and look pretty ‘in the know’ to your friends!

During your wine tasting, follow the 6 S’s:

  • See: Colour is key. A wine’s hue can tell you a lot about its grape variety and ageing process. As a general rule, the more saturated a wine’s colour is, the more intense its flavour will be.
  • Swirl: Allow your wine to breathe. Gently swirl it a couple of times to let the scent notes lift out of the glass.
  • Sniff: A wine’s nose can determine its quality just as much as its taste. What does each wine smell like? Fruity or tangy, sweet or earthy?
  • Sip and Savour: Now for the best part! Take a sip and let the mouthful linger on your tongue for a few seconds. Here you’ll really experience the unique complexity and characteristics of the wine. Look for sweetness, acidity, bitterness and fruitiness. 
  • Spit (if needed): Tastings can quickly tire our taste buds. After you’ve savoured each wine, feel free to spit into your spittoon to keep your senses alert and ready for the next delicious taste.


Keep an Open Mind

Wine tastings are all about discovering new things. At Brokenwood, we encourage even the most seasoned wine tasters to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. 

Your Brokenwood Cru member is there to create the best experience possible for you. We love imparting our wine and vineyard knowledge, so the more questions you ask us, the better! 

Don’t be afraid to voice ‘simple’ questions. Feel free to get clarification on anything you don’t understand. There’s a lot of lingo in Wine Country, and we’re always happy to break things down into general terms. 

When selecting wines in the future, you’ll find yourself thinking outside of ‘whites’ and ‘reds’ and further into a wine’s flavour profiles and region. This all enhances your experience and passion for wine while broadening your options.


Book a Brokenwood Wine Tasting Experience

From Taste and Match to Icons of the Hunter, we have the perfect wine tasting tours to suit every palate. Discover what’s on at our Cellar Door and find out what you can expect from each unique Hunter Valley tasting experience.

While bookings aren’t essential for Taste, we highly encourage you to pop in that reservation to ensure we have a pod prepped and waiting for you. 

Book your Taste experience here.



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