Three years ago Bill Hall retired after more than 40 years in real estate in Sydney to re-settle in the pleasant Southern Highlands of NSW – not to take up bowls or bridge, but to go into business again, buying and rejuvenating an old vineyard and putting out his own wine label.
And his Banjo's Run, named after a horse owned by his daughter who also resides in the Highlands, is already proving a hit with lovers of cool-climate wines, finding itself onto wines lists in select local restaurants and even in Sydney, and with cellar door sales increasing weekly as word gets around.
Bill tends to the vineyard at Exeter himself, and interestingly uses a number of different winemakers to make his wines on contract, rather than taking a one maker makes-all approach. He's already got a couple of Chardonnays, a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and a spritzy Cabernet Franc Merlot from his old vineyard, that's flourishing under his care in this growing boutique cool-climate region so close to Sydney.
The 2009 Cabernet Merlot combines ripe blackcurrant fruit and plum jam flavours with nice savoury tannins, and is a delightful wine to enjoy with winter-time beef dishes, or any-time Thai foods.
ONE FOR LUNCH
Hesketh's 2010 Usual Suspects McLaren Vale Shiraz is a wine to enjoy now, or to pop away in the cellar for anything up to another five or six years.
A wine that's had time in both American and French oak, it's generous with flavours of ripe blackberries, milk coffee, cocoa and dark chocolate, and a little hint of typical Shiraz white pepper: a lovely drop with a hearty Spaghetti Bolognese.
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