Drayton’s Family Wines, great food friendly wine.

Draytons 1Our friends at Drayton’s generously sent us some wine in line with our samples policy. They took our tongue in cheek suggestion, that they send 2 of everything to avoid bottle variation, literally; thanks guys.

We were not entirely familiar with Drayton’s wine, although we are very au fait with the Hunter Valley region given its proximity to Sydney and its cracking semillon and shiraz. Drayton’s have been in the wine industry since the mid 19th century, so they should know what they’re doing with such a long string of vintages under their belt.

To make the tasting more interesting we chose 10 wines from their line up and conducted it blind, achieved by putting a paper bag over the wine bottles so we were in the dark as to what was what. Getting the paper bags from the wine retailer was not easy, explaining that I wanted 10 x paper bags and nothing else, tricky. She eventually relented (I did offer to pay for them), I think she was just happy to have me out of her store.

Draytons 2We invited our friend Stuart around to assist us and he obligingly brought some cheese and crackers along, this really enhanced the experience and eventually led us to the conclusion that great food wine is what these particular wines are all about (see our post Don’t be a wine wanker to see how important food and wine are).

Drayton’s sent us wines from 3 of their ranges; New Generation, Hunter Valley and Vineyard Reserve with a retail price of $15, $20 and $30 respectively (AUD). They also have a Heritage Vines range at the higher end that go for $60.

Let’s get into it …

2012 New Generation Chardonnay – A very light and easy to drink style of Chardonnay that would go with a lighter meal and suit someone who does not like an overpowering oaky chardonnay.

2011 New Generation Merlot and 2011 New Generation Shiraz – We found that these 2 wines were very similar to each other in that they carried a little bit of sweet fruit flavours, and just like the New Gen Chardy, they would suit someone who doesn’t like heavy red wine.  Very soft tannins and a lot of sweet fruit flavours, not for everyone, but we think the perfect wine to use to introduce a newcomer to red wine.

Draytons 32012 Hunter Valley Semillon – This one showed the characteristics of very young Hunter Semillon in that the acid still dominated over the fruit flavours, this gave the wine a grassy citrus driven lemon/lime flavour that went extremely well with the cheese. This wine could potentially last quite a few years.

2011 Hunter Valley Cab Merlot – We found this to be an easy to drink wine that had some enjoyable spicy elements towards the end of each sip, which leads us to believe that it’s a red wine that could possibly go well with lightly spiced dishes.

2011 Hunter Valley Shiraz Bin 5555 – Again a quite soft wine with hints of aniseed flavours late in the profile. Although a little heavier and fuller in style than the New Gen Shiraz it was still on the medium-body end of red wine and also carried a level of sweet fruit with a peppery and spicy finish.

Draytons 42011 Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay – Having spent some time on oak this is a classic styled chardonnay that would appeal to those that like the fuller oaky style. A lovely chardonnay that had the classic rich oaky Hunter Valley flavours full of peaches and cream and some decent length that really lingered.

2009 Vineyard Reserve Semillon – Now this was the real crowd pleaser and was perfect with the Austalian Pyengana cheddar (try this if you like cheddar, it’s spectacular). A fine example of Hunter Valley Semillon with very well balanced fruit and acid and just starting to show the honey toasted biscuit notes of classic aged Hunter Semillon.

2011 Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet is not often grown in the Hunter Valley so this is an interesting wine being rather fruity and spicy while only being medium bodied, again making it a good food wine.

2011 Vineyard Reserve Shiraz – A classic Hunter Valley shiraz that had everything you’d want from leathery and gamy flavours to a decent amount of fruit to make the earthy aspects rather enjoyable. It had a decent length, and being still just in the medium-body spectrum it would go very well with meat based dishes, especially a BBQ with its smoky earthy flavours.

We had a cracking time tasting these wines, I won’t tell you how much wine was left after our session but we were all a little delicate the next day.  Our highlights were the 2009 Vineyard Reserve Semillon and the Vineyard Reserve Shiraz.

Drayton’ s Family wines are available internationally as follows;

USA usa@draytonswines.com / UK uk@draytonswines.com / Singapore singapore@draytonswines.com / Canada canada@draytonswines.com / New Zealand newzealand@draytonswines.com / Ireland ireland@draytonswines.com

Author: Neal (The Wine Wankers)



  1. You comment on wines and get free samples
    I comment on faith and … … … What is WRONG with this picture? LOL
    Seriously: I think I need to put together a wine-tasting team of altar-care people and I’m going to see if we can track down some of those lovely suggestions up here in the ever-so-chilly northern hemisphere (minus 16 degrees just now


  2. Very nice job. I am in a household that doesn’t care for oaky Chardonnay (my sister) and I don’t drink a lot of red. So the New Generation sounds perfect for us. That said I haven’t seen any Drayton Valley over on this side of the ocean. Do they send it over this way? hmm…I have an idea. I can ask my local wine store. Crazy GOOD idea. harumph….


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