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HUNTER VALLEY BLOG

With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

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The best bottles for a party? Magnums!

​Bigger IS better when you want to have the best party ever. When you're planning a big bash you want something that will make a huge impact with party goers. Come on down magnums. They're the ideal size for a crowd – these big beauties hold 1.5 litres, so that's equivalent to two normal-sized bottles or 12 glasses of wine. Yep, loads of lovely wine from one big bottle. They're flamboyant and fun, and that will make your party more Instagrammable. They're a limited-edition item – only small quantities are produced each vintage... and doesn't everyone love something exclusive they can sample, snap and share? They're a generous gift item too. They're the bottle that keeps giving, so why not take your party to the next level with some magnum madness? Here's a list of local producers with magnums in cellar door right now, just in time for Christmas parties or a New Year blowout.

Allandale only produces its Winemaker's Reserve wines in exceptional years and says they had perfect growing conditions in 2017. That's why they not only produced their regular-sized 2017 Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay, but also bottled 100 magnums of the flavour-packed drop. You can pick up a party-ready magnum for $100 from the cellar door.

This boutique beauty in Mount View bottles its Single Vineyard and Stockhausen Signature ranges in magnums each vintage, but they're in strictly limited supply – just 12 magnums of each wine are bottled each year. So, first in, best dressed if you want to nab a magnum of the 2014 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Shiraz, $150 (2014 was one of THE best vintages this century), the 2018 Stockhausen Signature Shiraz, $110, or the 2019 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon, $110.

Brokenwood believes in the magic of magnums, bottling several wine varieties in jumbo sizes every year. It varies from vintage to vintage, but they usually bottle around 600 magnums of each wine. You can choose from the easy-drinking 2019 Cricket Pitch White (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon), $46, 2014 Semillon, $60, 2013 Cricket Pitch Red (Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz/ Merlot), $46 and 2013 Pinot Noir, $72. They also release a selection of premium, large format wines just for Single Vineyard members to purchase, including the signature Graveyard Shiraz.

Glandore is another wine brand that loves the celebratory qualities of magnums with 10 large format wines for sale in the cellar door. They bottle between 60 and 240 magnums of each wine so you can make merry with magnums of the 2019 Elliott Semillon, $70, 2018 DPJ Chardonnay, $100, 2018 Broken Back Vineyard Chardonnay, $150, 2018 Cameleon Savagnin, $80, 2017 Hamish Shiraz, $150, 2016 Hamish Shiraz, $150, 2014 Hamish Shiraz, $165, 2017 Maluna Vineyard Shiraz, $200, 2016 TPR Tempranillo, $120 and 2017 Milbrodale Tempranillo, $200.

Rosé is a summer party favourite and if you haven't jumped on the #drinkpink trend, now's the time because Krinklewood has 100 magnums of its 2019 Francesca Rosé for $80 a bottle. Pair a chilled pink drink with some chilled tunes and you've got the perfect party starter.

Margan has two magnum party picks, both bottled in limited quantities with just 100 bottles of each. You can splash out on a magnum of the 2018 Breaking Ground Ceres Hill Barbera, $180 – a savoury Italian red that's perfect for a pizza party – or the 2018 Fordwich Hill White Label Shiraz, $180, which is sure to impress the wine crew.

This Pokolbin winery has one magnum wine available and it's a stunner. 2014 was a stupendous vintage and Pepper Tree made 100 magnums of its flagship red from that year. You can snag a magnum of the 2014 Single Vineyard "Coquun" Hunter Valley Shiraz for $200 but, be warned, they only have 36 of these babies left in stock.

Scarborough has taken its fandom for Chardonnay to the limit with magnums of their trademark Yellow Label Chardonnay, a real crowd-pleaser with chardy lovers. The magnums are available in a gift box for $80 direct from the cellar door. They bottle a few hundred of them each vintage, but here's a heads up. They also plan to release a selection of their Obsessive Range Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz in magnums (in much smaller quantities than the Yellow Label) sometime soon.

Winemaker Andrew Thomas bottles a limited number of magnums and jeroboams each year. Never heard of a jeroboam? They're the next big thing to a magnum holding a whopping three litres or 24 glasses. Thommo bottles 100 magnums and just 12 jeroboams of his benchmark Braemore Semillon and Kiss Shiraz each year and says "they're a collectors' item for the wine lover or for one heck of a party".

Each of the large format bottles are individually numbered and gift boxed. Indulge yourself with the 2019 Braemore Semillon, $100, 2014 Braemore Semillon, $150, and 2017 Kiss Shiraz, $250, as well as jeroboams of the 2019 Braemore Semillon, $300, and 2017 Kiss Shiraz, $700. They have a range of back vintages too. 

Over at Tulloch Wines, they also make 100 magnums of three of their benchmark red wines each year: Hector Limited Release Shiraz, Private Bin Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz and JYT Selection Shiraz.They have a large selection of back vintage magnums available too as they hold back a minimum of 10 of each vintage. So that means you can turn heads with some older wines, including 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 vintages of the JYT Selection Shiraz Magnums (priced between $210-$270) but if you want even more age they have five vintages of the Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz going back to 2006 (from $285-$360). And then there's the Hector Shiraz with six vintages of this exceptional wine bottled in magnums from the 2005 to the outstanding 2014 vintage (priced from $240-$534). 

Tyrrell's also has a terrific trio of magnums to choose from. They produce 150 magnums of their iconic Vat 47 Chardonnay and Vat 9 Shiraz, as well as 500 magnums of their Stevens Shiraz. The 2017 Vat 47, $185, is a must if you're planning a Kath & Kim inspired chardy party while the 2017 Stevens Shiraz, $125, or 2017 Vat 9, $210 (made from vines dating back to 1892) will wow red wine lovers.

​ Magnums are a conversation piece in their own right, but an over-sized bottle of wine called Headcase is a sure-fire way to get people talking. Vinden's 2019 Headcase Rosé, $60, is a smashable wine for a summer soiree, and you can also spread a little cheer with a magnum of the 2019 Ligneé Collaboration Shiraz Pinot, $90, and 2019 Headcase Single Barrel Shiraz, $150, or go for broke with a gargantuan-sized jeroboam of the 2019 Headcase Shiraz for $300.

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