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August 24, 2020

Tamburlaine: Hunter Valley Wine

Conor Brasier and Hunter Valley Wine
Today we go down under to Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Australia’s largest independent organic producer with over 300 hectares of organic wines in the Orange and Hunter Valley wine sub-regions of New South Wales. Independent meaning that they don’t sell to big-box retailers. Quite impressive for a 120,000 annual case production.

Cheese plate and Hunter Valley Wine

Tamburlaine’s Entry into Hunter Valley Wine

Tamburlaine started over 50 years ago when a small group of friends, led by Mark Davidson, purchased the winery and started making Hunter Valley wine. At Tamburlaine, they believe in low-intervention winemaking and strive to leave their spot on the Earth in better shape than how they found it. While at the Wine Media Conference in October 2019, I toured Tamburlaine with my old wine pal Liz of What’s In That Bottle, and my new wine pal, Conrad of The Wine Wankers. Tamburlaine assistant winemaker Conor Brasier guided us through the property and through a flight of wines for a lovely afternoon!

Hunter Valley Wine in Action

Conor is a breath of fresh air. I always appreciate a young winemaker and their ability to embrace change and innovation. He knows the place inside and out….it felt like he gave us a tour of his living room!

Hunter Valley Wine coming out of barrel

Tasting Hunter Valley Wine at Tamburlaine


Preservative Free Au Naturel Premium Cuvée

An all-natural, sulfur-free blanc de blanc made in the Charmant method (the same method used with Prosecco). All fruit from Orange. A nice, easy sparkling clocking in at a low 11.5% ABV.

Wine Lovers Verdelho-Semillon (current vintage 2020 $24)

Conor described this as a “session wine”. Not too serious, yet crisp and refreshing. “Crushable” as the kids say!

Reserve Orange Riesling (current vintage 2019 $33)

Tamburlaine makes 4 Rieslings, all from the same biodynamic vineyard in Orange. Green apple, citrus (grapefruit), and floral notes of white jasmine.

Mark Davidson Riesling (current vintage 2020 $18)

This wine is off-dry showing notes of citrus (lime), plus a floral note of orange blossom. Bracing acid.

Wine Lovers Sweet Phoebe ($24)

A NV late harvest Riesling. Great with Asian/Indian food!

Reserve Noble Riesling (current vintage 2017 $39)

A late harvest Riesling, with a portion of botrytised grapes. I get citrus (lime), plus a honeyed note, and lots of tropical fruits. Though sweet, this wine has great acid to counterbalance.

Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (current vintage 2018 $30)

Fruit comes from their Orange vineyard. 70% of Australia’s Pinot Noir clonal material comes from this vineyard. The wine is quite pretty; beautiful, in fact. Uniquely Aussie.

Barrel Tasting: 2019 Reserve Malbec

This is Conor’s favorite wine at the moment. I got an herbaceous note I don’t generally get from an Argentinian Malbec. Not over-oaked, like some Malbecs from Argentina. The vines in Orange are at about the same altitude as many Malbec vines in Uco Valley, Argentina, approx. 2,700 feet.

Hunter Valley Wine views

Since our visit, Tamburlaine announced that they bought former Cumulus Winery to expand its production capacity. Consequently, this helps cement them as an even bigger player in Australian organic winemaking. They plan to open a cellar door in Orange. However, I do not know the status of that since COVID hit. Tamburlaine is a solar-powered, energy-saving sustainable property, recycling its wastewater and turning solid wastes into vine mulch and compost.

This all sounds like good stuff to me! Certainly, I can attest, the wines were lovely. I highly recommend a visit to Tamburlaine if you ever find yourself in need of some Hunter Valley wine while visiting Australia! In the same vein of Hunter Valley Wine, a visit to Tyrrell’s, is definitely in order. In short, Tyrrell’s is considered the first family of Hunter Valley Wine and makes the best Semillon in the region!

Ground zero for Hunter Valley Wine

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a Los Angeles-based certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer.

Brianne has educated and entertained over 10,000 people through her in-person and virtual wine tasting experiences.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping people Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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