LATEST CHAPTER: Allandale’s owners Michael and Cecilia Lee and May and Dominic Leung.THISmonth the Hunter’s trend-setting Allandale winery marks its 40th birthday – an event harking back to an English migrant’s enchantment with a Tulloch 1964 Pokolbin Dry Red.
When founded in 1978, Allandale broke new ground by owning no vines and relying on grapes from growers in the Hunter and beyond.
The migrant was Ed Jouault, born on Jersey Channel Island and an accountant. After he migrated to Australia in the 1960s, the Tulloch red ignited a burning desire to switch from accounting to a career in wine.
That brought him to the Hunter to jobs with the old Saxonvale company, part-time winery cellar hand work and to a Wagga Agricultural College winemaking course.
Then came a post as sales manager and assistant winemaker at the McPhersons winery, now Bimbadgen Estate, in McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin, and in 1975 he earned a study tour of France’s Champagne Region by winning the Australia-wide Vin de Champagne Award based on knowledge ofChampagne.
Next came realisation of an ultimate dream.With the backing of a group of investors, Ed Jouault bought 12 hectares of sloping land in Lovedale Rd, choosing the name Allandale in memory of winery that ceased operation in 1920 after being one of the Hunter’s largest producers in the 1890s.
A winery and cellar door were set up on the brow of the hill with panoramic views of the Brokenback Range and, using 25 tonnes of grapes from premium growers Ed had signed up, began producing wine.
It was a rare business model for those times, but paid off grandly thanks to Ed’s hard-earned winemaking expertise and the excellent fruit from such suppliers as Petersons at Mount View, the Jack Leonard vineyard in Palmers Lane and Lovedale Rd neighbour Ben Dawson.
The 1982 National Wine Show in Canberra gave the little new venture a stunning triumph when the Allandale 1980 Dawson Vineyard Chardonnay won the Farmer Brothers’ Trophy for the champion chardonnay.
It was the forerunner of decades more of major show awards for Allandale, but Ed Jouault parted company with his fellow shareholders in 1986 and took a job with Wyndham Estate and shortly afterwards but was grievously injured in a car crash and died in 1991 after spending four years in a coma.
He is now remembered in a Hunter Valley Wine Show trophy for the best one-year-old dry semillon.
In the wake of Ed’s departure, Allanandale was caringly owned between 1987 and 2016 by founding shareholders Sydney shoe repairs and shoemaking businessman Wally Atallah and his pharmacist wife Judy.
In January 2016 the Atallahs sold to Hong Kong-based May and Dominic Leung and engineer Michael Lee and his wife Cecilia. Dominic Leung has had a long association with Allandale as its Hong Kong distributer.
The Lees, the Leungs and the Atallahs will all be joining in Allandale’s 40thbirthday celebration at the winery on Saturday week, November 24. Bookings for the $185 per person event, featuring a four-course Ros Baldwin dinner and a fine array of Allandale wines, live music and dancing, can be made on 4990 4526,[email protected]杭州龙凤m.auandallandalewinery杭州龙凤m.au.
For the past 32 years the post of Allandale chief winemaker-general manager has been held by Bill Sneddon, who had joined the winery as assistant winemaker to Ed in 1983.
Under Bill, Allandale’s chardonnay excellence has been maintained – with the 1997 Hunter River Valley Chardonnay being declared the top chardonnay of 1998 by Winestate magazine.
Bill, born and schooled in Cessnock, put himself through a Newcastle University economics degree by working in Hunter wineries then won a Charles Sturt University winemaking degree.
Allandale has gained its own seven hectares of semillon, chardonnay and pinot noir plantings below the winery and continues to buy in quality grapes from the Hunter Valley, Mudgee, Orange, Hilltops, Tumbarumba, Wrattonbully, Goulburn Valley, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
Bill and Alex Woods, who joined Allandale in 2006 after switching from a UK IT project management career to winemaking in Australia, produce an interesting and diverse Allandale portfolio that stays true to the tenets of Ed Jouault.
WINE REVIEWSEXCELLENCE UPHELDTHEAllandale 2017 Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnaymaintains the brand’s fine chardonnay reputation. Green-tinted straw, it has tropical fruit salad scents, smooth, ripe peach front-palate flavour, apricot, lemon curd, almond and vanillin oak on the middle palate and flinty acid at the finish. It’s at cellar door andallandalewinery杭州龙凤m.au.
DRINK WITH: paella.
AGEING: six years.
RATING: 5 stars
SHIRAZ IS PLUM ONTHISmulti-faceted, 15%-alcoholAllandale 2017 Matthew Hunter Valley Shirazis bright garnet-hued and bouquet garni-scented. The front palate introduces intense Satsuma plum flavour, the middle palate shows dried cranberry, black olive, mint chocolate, spice and mocha oak characters and the finish chalky tannins.
DRINK WITH: roast pork loin with prune stuffing.
AGEING: 10 years.
RATING: 4.5 stars
HILLTOPS VIBRANCYFROMthe Young area that’s supplied fruit for 25 years, theAllandale 2016 Hilltops Tempranillohas 15.5% alcohol and gamey aromas and is deep purple in the glass. The front palate shows vibrant raspberry flavour, followed on the middle palate by Morello cherry, spearmint, cloves and savoury oak and on the finish by dusty tannins.
DRINK WITH: veal scallopine.
AGEING: five years.
RATING: 4 stars