Daniel Payne's new venture is Dirt Candy wine. Based in the Hunter Valley, he has recently finished his winemaking degree so his shoulder has been hard to the wheel to release his own label. Payne tells me, "I just want to make quality wines but I'm not aiming at the 50 year old Grange drinker."
The name was derived from his belief that grapes are sweet lollies from the ground - Dirt Candy was born.
The wines come wrapped in tissue paper and a wax seal - pretty damn sweet packaging. Despite the time this would take to put together, in essence, it simply shows that Payne gives a shit. Respect for the pride such folk have in their own brand.
A curious choice to blend Cabernet with Hunter Shiraz - there's not a great deal of that going on. The Cabernet (30%) certainly adds some grunt and perhaps takes away some of the Hunter Shiraz prettiness. Irrespective, throw this under your wing and head to a BBQ and you will be sure to please those around you.
Blackberry, mocha, dark plums, charred oak, plum cordial and dried sage. There's plenty going on after a few swirls of the glass that's for sure. Much more than expected to be honest. With time in the glass some of that expected Hunter Valley red earthiness starts to peer through capped off with a long finish bathed in raspberries dipped in dark chocolate. Tick the box, a fine debut.
45 dozen produced.
Drink now to six years.
Region: Hunter Valley