Sounds obvious for a wine maker that the passion for the red and white would be all consuming. In Andrew Thomas’s case he also passionate about the Red and White in the jersey of the mighty Sydney Swans. For a country NSW boy this might seem strange when you are in Rugby League heartland.
You have to go back a step and realize he is McLaren Vale born and raised. His dad, Wayne Thomas was well known in SA wine circles and has a scholarship named after him. Hence the love of the all dominant game of AFL in SA.
The grape doesn’t fall far from the bunch as wine folk admire the work of his Father and the enthusiasm and finesse of Andrews wine making skills. Throw in a big dose of larrikin and “tell it like it is NO BS policy” and you have Andrew in a nutshell.
Roseworthy College gave him his degree in Oenology. He has done vintage in Sonoma, Piedmont, Tuscany and Provence. These iconic wine making areas lend themselves to structure and finesse. Hence Andrews pull towards the Hunter Valley. He worked for Tyrells an invaluable 13 years.
Andrew had an opportunity to lease wine making facilities and had relationships with some of the best fruit producers in the region. The first vintage was in 1997. He has recently opened a designated cellar door in Pokolbin The website is www.thomaswines.com.au
Semillon and Shiraz rule in the hunter. It can be a tough place to make wine with tropical rain and thunder storms peppering some vintages. So when these wine makers create little master pieces, the wine world should stand and applaud.
All wine regions should be idiosyncratic in their final product. The Hunter is indeed this. The Semillons are usually grassy with citrus notes and have sharp acidic finishes, they last for decades and transform into highly sort after wines. The reds, often described with funk and leather, sweaty etc. have been created in a fresher mid weighted wine style.
As the palate of this writer develops, you appreciate the affection great wine writers like Len Evans and James Halliday have for the Hunter. No one else makes anything like these expressions of Semillon and Shiraz. Andrew as opened a designated cellar door
2015 Six Degrees Semillon Hunter Valley- Pale lemon/lime color. Bouquet-White peach aromas with and interesting mushroom/herbal complexity, from subtle suspended yeast contact. Palate- this is an off dry style with 38 g/l residual sugar. It will not appeal to all palates due to its sweetness, I believe it to be a balanced wine with a lush fruit driven style and supporting acids. At 8% alcohol it’s a great lunch wine with a Fisherman’s basket. It could an aperitif style with soft cheeses.
2015 Braemore Semillon Hunter Valley- Pale Lime colors. Bouquet is classic hunter Semillon with grassy lemon notes. The Palate is quite lush with fruit, finishes somewhat mid palate with a crisp flinty acidic structure. This wine has won many trophies and medals and will cellar for 12 plus years.
2014 Elenay Shiraz Hunter Valley- Garnet in color. Lush red currant notes with vanillin oak aromas. There are smoky herbal notes that make this wine quite alluring. It is medium bodied red with a full anterior palate and mid palate structure. Have with a Chacuterie plate. 5-7 years cellar.
2014 Synergy Shiraz Hunter Valley- Purple Garnet in color. A deeper red currant maraschino cherry nose. Hints of violets/ Chinese 5 spice. A lush full wine, lovely mouth feel and structural Tannins. Any Japanese food would match. 7-10 y cellars
Dr Plonk check him out on facebook