There’s no better declaration of love than naming a wine after a special someone. At the family run Gartelmann Wines, every bottle shares a name with one of the Gartelmanns, showing just how important they are to the entire process of winemaking.
In 1996 Jorg Gartelmann lft his job as a computer engineer to pursue his passion for winemaking. He and his wife, Jan, purchased a vineyard in Lovedale, and with the help of some experts in the local area they soon opened Gartelmann Wines.
While they loved their vineyard, Jorg and Jan’s real passion was for wine, not vines. They sold their vineyard in 2006 and started sourcing the best grapes from around New South Wales. They were then able to experiment with fruit from Mudgee, Rylstone and Orange, as well as local grapes from the Hunter Valley.
Liz Jackson is responsible for making the magic happen. One of the Hunter’s most talented vintners, she’s been Gartelmann Wines’ Chief Winemaker since 2008, helping to craft their specific style of wines.
The label’s white wines have a distinct taste, with a lower sugar level than other wines from the region. By picking grapes at exactly the right time, the grapes retain a strong, fruity palate that’s well balanced and without sharp acidic flavours. Similarly, the red wines have low residual sugars and are lower in tannins, meaning they tend to be softer, more approachable wines.
Jorg and Jan have also invested in building excellent relationships with staff over the years, meaning everyone involved has extensive knowledge of wineries and vineyards throughout the region. As Gartelmann Wines doesn’t own any vineyards, it relies on relationships with the vineyards to ensure grapes are grown to their high standards.
Semillon grapes are sourced from a 76-year-old vineyard block in the lower Hunter Valley. The soil maintains a relatively constant level of moisture and the fruit is shielded from hot afternoon sun. Red varieties are sourced from vineyards whose terroir boasts slight slopes for drainage with a mixture of red clay and ironstone for strong mineral input.
With so many delectable drops, it’s hard to find just one favourite. However, one that stands out amongst the rest is the Benjamin Semillon. Over the years it has won more than 60 gold and silver medals for its lemon blossom bouquet with hints of pineapple and hay. The long, tangy finish makes it the perfect accompaniment for oysters, white fish or goat’s cheese.
Throughout the year, Gartelmann Wines hosts plenty of exciting events, including the Lovedale Long Lunch and Barrel Tasting. At the latter, four different wine varieties are tasted from four or five barrels to show the effect different oak has on wine. The tasting is followed by a two-course lunch with several paired wines per course.
With so many wineries in the Hunter Valley, it’s hard to stand out. Unlike other labels that rely on famous vineyards and wineries, Gartelmann allows its wines to speak for themselves. With plenty of industry recognition it’s easy to see why Gartelmann Wines has become a Hunter Valley favourite.