Richard Hamilton McLaren Vale celebrating half-century

Image: Dr Richard Hamilton
By Samuel Squire

McLaren Vale’s cravat-clad winemaking doctor, Dr Richard Hamilton, is celebrating 50 years of winemaking under his label Richard Hamilton McLaren Vale with the unveiling of an elegant new look for the winery’s Estate Range.

The Richard Hamilton Estate Range has taken the family’s link to history, simplified it and modernised it – modernising history, as they call it. The result is a lively, elegant range of wines adorned with stylised roses, rosettes.

Yesterday, Dr Hamilton, senior winemaker Paul Gordon and winemaker Greg Foster held an hour-long masterclass tasting of fourteen wines, including the winery’s seven-wine Estate Range and the Centurion Shiraz over three vintages.

Dr Hamilton says the revamped design of the Estate Range is all about “modernising history”, and that the wines truly demonstrate the regions their grapes are from.

Senior winemaker Paul Gordon says this contemporary label has brought new life to the wines, but has also given him license to modernise the wine styles.

“The rosette series wine styles are made to appeal to a slightly younger audience than our Single Vineyard range,” Gordon said.

“While many will age gracefully, they are made to drink within a few months of bottling. The Pinot Gris was made with colour in mind as well as flavour and has a beautiful blush colour.

“The Shiraz was made to have a vibrancy of fruit flavours, and the quality of the finished wine from the Cabernet from the Hut block continues to amaze me. It really is one of the best wines in the range.”

Richard Hamilton’s winery was the twelfth ever built in the region, or as Dr Hamilton puts it, his winery was “the Twelfth Apostle”.

Winemaker Greg Foster (L) and senior winemaker Paul Gordon (R).

The Hamilton family was one of the first families of the South Australian wine industry, with the late Richard Hamilton (Dr Richard Hamilton’s great-great-grandfather) arriving in 1837 and planting the first wine producing vineyards on the Adelaide plains.

Today, Dr Hamilton and his wife and co-owner Jette are at the helm. Roses are an integral part to winegrape growing and are prevalent right across South Australia, however they have a particular significance to Richard Hamilton McLaren Vale where extensive rose gardens surround their vineyards and cellar door.

The Rosette series celebrates the family’s long standing in the South Australian wine industry, which has been making wine in McLaren Vale for 184 years.

Dr Hamilton said bringing the rose to life in an illustrative way on the labels links the labels to a sense of place at home in McLaren Vale and offers an appealing option to younger people who are regular visitors to the McLaren Vale region.

Images: Aubrey Jonsson 

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