Brothers Matthew and Jonathan Hughes established Mewstone Vineyard in 2011 on the banks of Tasmania’s D’Entrecasteaux Channel in the tiny hamlet of Flowerpot. The small, boutique vineyard is a former cherry orchard and with some new plantings this year will expand to an ultimate size of just 3.5 hectares. The original plantings consist mostly of Pinot Noir with small plantings of Chardonnay, Syrah, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Jonny studied winemaking at Lincoln University in New Zealand before gaining further experience in regions as diverse and far-flung as Langhorne Creek, Central Otago, Mornington Peninsula, Barolo, the Hunter Valley and the Okanagan Valley. Back in Tasmania, he was the Assistant Winemaker at Moorilla for seven years, before moving on to a similar role at Pooley Wines in 2016, where the Mewstone and Hughes & Hughes wines are currently made.
Whilst the Mewstone wines are strictly produced from the Flowerpot vineyard, the Hughes & Hughes range of wines brings together fruit sourced from around Tasmania, with the aim of producing wines that are high on both natural acidity and drinkability. In addition, from time to time individual small batches are released that capture the results of investigations into the use of skins, stalks, solids and other fermentation variables. All Hughes & Hughes wines are bottled unfined and with low sulphur.
The Mewstone Vineyard lies on the banks of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in the farmland of Flowerpot. The gently north facing slopes capture the cool southern sunshine, whilst the vineyard is protected from the harsh westerly winds by the hills that rise quickly from the water. The soils are predominantly duplex soils formed on Jurassic dolerite. This consists of loam textured topsoil over a sandy loam horizon on clay subsoil.
The vineyard is hand pruned and the fruit hand picked. The extra effort put into ensuring a vibrant ecosystem below the ground translates into quality fruit on the vines above. Leading soil microbiologist, Letetia Ware, is a close neighbour and has guided the vineyard nutrition plan from the beginning. Through extensive use of mulches, composts and compost teas the soils are continually being revitalised.
A comprehensive array of clones has been planted across the five varieties, both on phylloxera tolerant rootstocks and the vines' own roots. This diversity of selection brings complexity to the finished wines, but also provides an experimental lens through which to evaluate the optimum configurations for site and variety.
Wine Notes and Reviews - Current Vintages
2018 Mewstone Riesling (Sold Out)
Picked on April 8th, the fruit was destemmed, crushed and left to soak for 24 hours. Pressed to old oak and naturally fermented. As the cellar cooled in late autumn so too did the ferment. Fermentation extended out beyond six weeks before we called a halt as the sugars and acidity found their balance. Matured on lees through to late spring before filtering and bottling. Only 1128 bottles and 60 magnums produced.
2018 Mewstone Sauvignon Blanc
Our final Sauvignon was picked on April 4th. Whole bunch pressed to oak, 50% new, and naturally fermented. Full malolactic fermentation. Matured on lees for six months prior to bottling at the end of spring. Only 384 bottles produced.
2018 Mewstone Chardonnay (Sold Out)
Our earliest pick to date, vintage began on 23rd March in our Chardonnay block. Whole bunch pressed directly to barrel and naturally fermented followed by full malolactic fermentation. Aged in oak, 40% new, for nine months and bottled in late summer. Only 792 bottles and 24 magnums produced.
2018 Mewstone Pinot Noir (Sold Out)
The two pinot blocks were picked individually on March 23rd and April 2nd. The top block was then naturally fermented with 40% whole bunch, the bottom block with 20% in our old milk vats. These were pressed after 20 days on skins to oak, 40% new, and matured while undergoing malolactic fermentation. They were racked and sulphured prior to bottling in late summer. Only 3036 bottles and 72 magnums produced.
2018 Mewstone Syrah (Sold Out)
Harvested on the 13th of April, the 2018 made for the end of an early harvest. It was natural fermented with 10% whole bunch in one of our trusty milk vats. Pressed after 21 days directly to oak, 40% new, and left to mature for 9 months before bottling in late summer. Only 546 bottles and 36 magnums produced.
Hughes & Hughes
”The Hughes & Hughes range is one of the great examples of producers diversifying in the landscape of fine pinot noir and chardonnay (and sparkling wines) that Tasmania holds aloft. I like the cut of their jib.” Mike Bennie, Winefront June 2019
All the following wines are from purchased fruit mostly from southern Tasmania and as more vineyards develop in the dÉntrecasteaux channel region the aim is to source most of the fruit from this region.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Riesling
Fruit from vineyards in the Derwent and Coal River Valleys and the North West, picked at approximately 12 baume. Skin ferment makes up 10% of the blend with the remainder soaked on skins for 12 to 24 hours and slowly fermented in stainless with natural yeast. Stopped when sugars and acids found balance and matured on lees. Bottled unfined and filtered.
”This wine plays with riesling in a considered way – it sees about 10% skin ferment, “just to add a bit of tannin”, and holds somewhere between eight and ten grams of sugar. Highly aromatic, floral, sense of sweetness, candied citrus peel, green herbs. Cool and crisp to taste, a touch of mealy-wheaty character, yeasty let’s say, then the gentle sweetness of ripe citrus and green apple. It’s got character, texture, loads of personality. High drinkability too. Sweetness does stick out a bit over acidity, as does yeasty character, but the message is that this is a distinct riesling of good drinkability.” 90 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront June 2019
2019 Hughes & Hughes Pinot Gris
Fruit from vineyards in the Coal River and Derwent Valleys, picked between 11.5 and 13 baume. Parcels were fermented on skins (20%), in seasoned barrels (25%) and in tank (55%) before being matured on lees. Bottled unfined and filtered.
”This sees about 20% skin fermentation, with barrels in the mix of vessels used. Clever winemaking and some mitigation of bushfire influence. Slick and slippery texture then finishes with a chalky pucker. Loaded with pear fruitiness, intense in a way, but holds freshness and lots of personality. Good length, drive. This is good vibes right here. If you like personality of the variety with textural interest, it’s a good deal.” 93 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront June 2019
2019 Hughes & Hughes Sauvignon Blanc
Fruit from a vineyard in the Coal River Valley (Clarence House), picked at 12.5 baume, skin soaked for 12 hours, 95% naturally fermented in tank and 5% naturally fermented in oak before being matured on lees. Bottled unfined and filtered.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Chardonnay
Fruit from vineyards in the Coal River (Roslyn and Clarence House) and Derwent Valleys (Kinvarra). 70% whole bunch pressed, 30% cold-soaked on skins for five days, all naturally fermented in oak (15% new). Partial malolactic fermentation while maturing on lees for five months. Bottled unfined and filtered. White stone fruit overlaying citrus and gentle oak aromas. Racy acidity balanced by rich textures, classic Chardonnay.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Pinot Noir
Fruit from vineyards in the coal river (Roslyn, Nocton, Gunnings Peak and Clarence House, 90%) and derwent valleys (Crisp and Kinvarra 10%). Predominantly whole berry, 15% whole bunch including a carbonic component, natural yeast, held on skins for 16-21 days. Pressed directly to and matured in oak (5% new). Bottled unfined and unfiltered. A rich style with generous blue fruits adding to crunchy red foundations. Good soft tannins support full flavours and ripe acidity. Represents the warm and sunny season that 2019 was.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Dornfelder
From a single vineyard in the north west (White Rock). Predominantly whole berry, 5% whole bunch, natural yeast, held on skins for 18 days. Pressed to and matured in oak (5% new). Bottled unfined and unfiltered. The most intense, deep colour you’ll find. Great aromatics of rich blackberries and anise. Dusty mouth-filling tannins, precise acidity. Its light on its feet for a big man.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Soiree Pet Nat
Fruit from vineyards in the Coal River and Derwent Valleys, picked between 11 and 12.5 baume. A pétillant naturel made from Pinot noir (45%), Merlot (25%), Pinot gris (15%) and Riesling (10%). Bottled during primary ferment to capture the bubbles. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no added sulphur. Bright aromatics with hints of mandarin and red fruits. Gently sparkling with soft bitter notes layered over vibrant fruits. A perfect palate cleansing style.
2019 Hughes & Hughes Solstice red
Fruit from vineyards in the Derwent and Coal River Valleys and the North West. A novello style red made from Dornfelder (50%), Pinot noir (30%), Merlot (15%), and Sauvignon (5%). One third was fermented whole bunch, one third was whole berry and the other third whole bunch pressed. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no added sulphur.
Aromas of blackberries, wild strawberries, florals and liquorice. Soft tannins, bright acid and mouth filling juicy fruits make for a nourishing wine that will suit a light chill.
”A new wine from Messrs H&H – a no sulphur red(ish) blend. It’s about 50% dornfelder, produced in two ways pretty much, then a splash of sauvignon, and pinot and merlot also make up a portion of the wine. Charisma! Wild style red of juiciness with brooding forest berry fruit characters, black olive, earth, pepper, some toasty/smoky notes. Crunchy in the palate with edgy acidity, peaky, perky feel, crunch, herbs and berries and a tumble of spice. It’s an exciting wine, best drunk with a chill.” 91 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront June 2019
2018 Hughes & Hughes Barrel and Skin Ferment Sauvignon Blanc
From a single vineyard in the Coal River Valley, 60% barrel fermented after a 4 hour skin soak, 40% skin fermented for two weeks and pressed to oak, all natural yeast, partial malolactic ferment while maturing on lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2018 Hughes & Hughes Chardonnay
Fruit from a single vineyard in the Derwent Valley over two picks (12.0 and 12.8 Baume), whole bunch pressed to oak (20% new), fermented with Sauvage yeast (60%) and natural yeast (40%), underwent partial malolactic fermentation while maturing on lees ageing for 6 months. Bottled unfined and filtered.
Review for 2017 Vintage 'From the Derwent and Huon Valleys, it is 100% barrel fermented in new and used oak, matured for 4 months on lees. The aromas and flavours are in the grapefruit/citrus corner of the ring, minerally in tandem. Drink to 2027.' 95 points, James Halliday, May 2018.
2018 Hughes & Hughes Skin Ferment Pinot Gris
From a single vineyard in the Derwent Valley, picked at 12.5 baume, whole berries fermented for a week on skins with natural yeast, then pressed to seasoned oak to finish ferment, partial malolactic ferment while maturing on lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2018 Hughes & Hughes Rosé
90% Merlot and 10% Pinot Noir from the Coal River Valley, the Merlot given 4 hours of skin contact, while the Pinot was drained off ferment after 48 hours. Barrel fermented in seasoned French oak barriques. Matured on lees for 2 months and bottled unfined.
2018 Hughes & Hughes Pinot Noir
Our 2018 Pinot brings together fruit from vineyards in the Derwent and Coal River Valley, predominantly whole berry, 10% whole bunch, R71 (75%) and natural (25%) yeast, pressed to and matured in oak for 5 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
‘Perfumed, silky, super-fresh and super-drinkable. Pinot noir in a very good place. Musk, cranberry, red cherry and twiggy herbs, though the latter are finely-stitched and understated. There’s a tartness and a fruit sweetness though it’s not a tug of war; they play nicely together. I drank one glass of this over three consecutive days and it remained fresh, vivid, interesting and delicious throughout. No hesitation in recommending this. Drink 2018-2024+’ 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, December 2018.
2018 Hughes & Hughes 15% Whole Bunch Pinot Noir
Sourced from a single vineyard in the Derwent Valley, one puncheon from MV6, two puncheons from the mixed clone ‘home’ block, naturally fermented with 15% whole bunches in barrels, no plunging or pump overs, pressed to and matured in oak, 33% new, for 7 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 1848 bottles produced.
2018 Hughes & Hughes Pied de Cuve Pinot (Sold Out)
Sourced from a single vineyard in the D’entrecasteaux Channel, a natural yeast starter was prepared in the vineyard a week prior to harvest, it was placed at the ‘foot of the tank’ (translation) and covered with 100% whole bunches. Lightly foot stomped after one and two weeks, then pressed after three weeks to oak. Matured for 9 months with 33% new oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 888 bottles produced.
‘From a single vineyard in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. 100% whole bunch for three weeks. Pressed to barrel and voila. 888 bottles produced. No fining, no filtration. “fermentation started in the vineyard”. It’s smoky and sappy but the fruit is there, so too the florals, and certainly both the length and the tannin. It’s a sinewy, characterful, mid-weight expression, all turns, tosses, smokes and mirror-smooth texture. It’s a hard wine to rate; its appeal is more of a style/vibe thing. Drink 2020-2025+’ 94 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, March 2019.
Wine Notes and Reviews - Prior Vintages (all sold out)
2016 Mewstone Riesling
'Medium to light yellow colour with a tint of grey, the bouquet is oak-kissed as if it's been barrel fermented. There's a note of talcum powder, too. The wine is rich and full, soft and texturally unusual but appealing. The palate is quite rich and full for a young riesling, finishing with a touch of bitterness - presumably from skin contact. A good wine but a slightly eccentric style of Australian riesling. The muscaty cool-climate riesling fragrance came up beautifully with extended airing. A fascinating wine. Drink 2017-2029. (930 bottles made).' 95 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review, September 2017.
2016 Mewstone Chardonnay
'Hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed direct to French oak for wild fermentation and ageing on lees, 96 dozen made. Here new French oak and a rich, supple, yet intense palate with white peach and nectarine all sing in perfect harmony from the same page. The lingering aftertaste reaffirms everything you have encountered on the bouquet and palate. Drink by 2026.' 95 points, James Halliday, July 2018.
'I have a bee in my bonnet about the oft-used term “Tasmanian acidity”. It’s not a phrase I like to see; it looks lazy to me. And so I’m a little red-faced to admit that when I first tasted this Chardonnay from Mewstone, the first thing to pop to mind was indeed that phrase. It’s a wine with flavour, texture and length but yes, it’s slipped with cool-light acidity. It gives the wine a certain ring of confidence. There are notes of ginger, preserved lemon, pink grapefruit and oyster shells here, and while I’m sure there was oak involved there’s very little sign of it in the wine. A kiss of toasted cedar wood, is all. More than anything it’s about pure fruit, illuminated by a cool low light. Thankfully it went through malo; it needed to. Pick this up in three years (+) time and it will be just starting to hit its straps. Tasmania certainly knows how to produce modern wine stars. Drink 2019-2025.' 94 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, July 2017.
2016 Mewstone Pinot Noir
'Very deep red/purple, bright and youthful. Superb black cherry aromas of very ripe pinot noir, and full of interest - not simple. It smells luscious. Gorgeous sweet-fruit pinot flavour and soft, ample tannins providing a foil for the delicious ripe fruit. Excellent pinot. Drink 2017-2031.' 96 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review, July 2017.
'We are on to a very good thing here. Rejoice. Make hay. Get in. This wine nails the centre point between sweet fruit and outright savouriness, and for good measure adds undergrowth and forest berry flavours aplenty. It’s plush and direct at once; it uses oak to modest but important effect; it’s awash with fruit but long and mouthwatering. There’s even a linger of smoke and/or mineral to the aftertaste. It is, in short, a beautiful wine. Drink 2017-2024.' 95 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, July 2017.
2016 Mewstone Syrah
'Shiraz/syrah grown in an incredibly southern situation. Indeed it would be difficult to find a more southern destination for Syrah. Beautiful shiraz. Painted in watercolours. Spice, leaves, peppers, nuts and florals. Tangy, spice-infused cherries rise as the wine breathes. Not in any way heavy. Well ripened. Intricately tannic. Has a dusty, twiggy character to the aftertaste; in a positive sense. Could probably – just – do with a bit more oomph but we’re in delicious cool-climate territory here. Drink 2017-2023.' 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, July 2017.
2017 Hughes & Hughes Barrel Ferment Riesling (Sold Out)
100% Riesling from the Coal River Valley, 100% barrel-fermented in French oak barriques. Matured on lees for two months and bottled unfined with 5g/l residual sugar. 1092 bottles produced.
'From the Coal River Valley, avant garde winemaking: fermented with solids in old oak and matured on lees. There is a nearly invisible touch of sweetness deliberately retained to provide the balance (and length) the wine has. 91 dozen made. Drink to 2032.' 94 points, James Halliday, August 2018.
2017 Hughes & Hughes 15% Whole Bunch Pinot Noir (Sold Out)
100% Pinot Noir from the Derwent Valley. Fermented in four puncheons, two open and two closed, each held on skins for 21 days, with only the open puncheons lightly plunged twice. Matured on lees for four months and bottled unfined. 1188 bottles produced.
'From the Derwent Valley. The avant garde winemaking is an unqualified success: barrel-fermented with 15% whole bunches, left strictly alone with no plunging (nigh-on impossible in any event) or pumpovers. Elegance is the key descriptor of a wine with potent pinot berry and plum fruit within a garland of savoury notes coupled with very good tannins. Drink to 2029.' 95 points, James Halliday, August 2018.
'Pinot noir from the Derwent Valley. 1188 bottles. It drinks well now but it will soar given cellar-time. It combines tension and stuffing in just the right way. Sweet, sour, spiced and smoky; red cherries and plums with emphasis on the cherries; it looks light but it’s not; the finish keeps on going when it has every right to pull up stumps. It’s a long, lean pinot noir with a sleeve stuffed with tricks. Excellent pinot noir. Drink 2019-2025+.' 94 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, November 2017.
2017 Hughes & Hughes Co-Ferment Pinot Noir (Sold Out)
91% Pinot Noir, 5% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Gris from the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Two batches were co-fermented with the Pinot Noir, one with the Chardonnay and the other with the Pinot Gris, each held on skins for 21 days. Matured on lees for four months and bottled unfined. 1188 bottles produced.
'From the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The colour has a little more purple than its 15% Whole Bunch sibling, probably ex the co-ferment components of the blend, one with 5% chardonnay, the other 4% pinot gris. It has a profoundly complex bouquet, with spices woven through dark cherry and plum fruit, the palate seamlessly incorporating the lead of the bouquet, but building and expanding the baroque splendour of a very, very good pinot noir. Drink to 2032.' 96 points, James Halliday, May 2018.