Flavours of Tulloch
As part of Tulloch’s 125th anniversary, we celebrate the personalities and flavour profiles that make them truly unique.
Every Tulloch wine is imbued with a colourful story. From Hector Tulloch’s Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz through to Jay Tulloch’s renowned Verdelho and Christina’s dry Rosé. Every Tulloch wine you taste represents the mark each generation of the family has made on the brand.
“I say I’m just the custodian of the brand for this era. Hopefully, I will be passing it on to another Tulloch custodian further down the line,” CEO Christina Tulloch reflects.
The Tullochs aren’t afraid to innovate, but they also know when they’re onto a good thing. Like the Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz, the label that first made Tulloch Wines famous. First released in 1952, the elegant medium-bodied style has won many accolades.
“It’s an iconic Hunter Valley style of Shiraz and it’s also a really enjoyable style of wine to drink,” Christina explains. It remains an important part of Tulloch’s repertoire today.
“If you know you can produce something really good, don’t mess with that. It’s a classic for a reason,” Christina says. Today, Jay Tulloch, Christina’s father, is the long-standing chief winemaker, who is especially well known for his Verdelho.
“My Dad has always been a massive champion of Verdelho here in the Hunter Valley because it’s really well suited to the climate,” Christina says. “We’ve also shown it can be quite versatile and as such we can produce five quite different styles.”
These range from the Vineyard Selection Verdelho, a drier style with a nice acid line, to the Tulloch Verdelho, a hugely popular style for people starting out drinking wine thanks to its fuller flavour profile and fruitiness. There is also the Verscato, a result of Christina’s vision for a bubbly, sweet Moscato-style wine. The year her father agreed to make it, the muscat crop failed so they tried making it out of extra Verdelho fruit with great success. The range is rounded off with the sweet Late Pick Verdelho dessert wine and the Madeira style Creme de Vin.
Jay is at the helm of the winemaking, from deciding on the wine styles to where they source the grapes. However, Jay, along with the team at First Creek Wines, where the Tulloch wines are made, has also been mentoring Christina through the process.
“Over time, my confidence has really increased,” she says. So when it came time for the Tullochs to create a Rosé around five years ago, Christina stood her ground. “Dad was like, ‘It should be sweeter’ and I was like, ‘No, it needs to be dry,’” she recalls.
She dug her heels in and in the end, Jay agreed to go with Christina’s flavour profile, with the qualifier that if it failed, it was on her. Christina was understandably a little nervous, but her instinct proved right with the dry Rosé an absolute success.
While Tulloch has earned its reputation as a leader in Hunter Valley classics, for customers wanting to branch out, they have innovated with a range of Cellar Door Releases.
“Having an actively engaged wine club means we have to make sure we are offering them enough range so we can take them on a journey,” Christina says.
Jay’s excellent relationships with growers in Orange and Young has allowed him to source the fruit to create new releases such as Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Barbera.
Christina says people often ask who will be chief winemaker once Jay retires. The question isn’t a big concern for the family, because ultimately the winemaking is a collaborative process.
“It’s very comforting for Dad to know I have learned from the people he has been dealing with for such a long time,” Christina says. “They understand Tulloch and the driving force behind us, which is making great wines for people to enjoy. We know the future of the brand is safe.”