Iron Gate Estate was founded by Roger Lilliott in 1996 when he purchased the land on which Iron Gate Estate stands as a paddock. He planted Semillon, Verdelho and Shiraz vines the same year. Chardonnay vines were planted a year later, and more Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon the year after that.
The first vintage was in the year 2000 while the cellar door and tasting area were under construction. The cellar door opened in September 2001. The roof tiles were imported from Spain, and the floor tiles in the cellar door are also Spanish. The tiles below the bar and on the seat in the courtyard are hand painted by John Cliff of Newcastle University. The gates from which the Estate bears its name are handmade by Paul Simpson in Queensland who is among the leading blacksmiths in the world.
In 2017, Roger handed over the reins of his family business to another family-owned business, Iron Gate Winery Pty Ltd. They hired well-respected wine maker Geoff Broadfield as a consultant for the 2018 vintage and who has subsequently come on-board as a full-time winemaker in 2019.
“Our aim is to build on the bedrock of what Roger has created,” says Gavin, General Manager of Iron Gate Estate. “We will respect his legacy and build on the quality and consistency of the wines and fruit from the vineyard. Every winemaker puts their own stamp on the wines produced and Geoff’s understanding of the Hunter Valley and its styles has proven to be a winner with our customers and club members.”
The service and friendliness of our staff and beautiful tasting room has not changed and we look forward to welcoming you on your next visit.
Wine is sunlight held together by water. – Galileo
As you turn in from Oakey Creek Road and draw to a halt before our main building, an ambience of Tuscany and southern Spain diffuses through the senses. Spanish roof tiles complement the soft rendered facade of the cellar door.
Step inside our large entranceway and through the hand-wrought iron gates from which the Estate takes it’s name. As you enter, Spanish tiles are underfoot, and you will have the opportunity to take in the hand-painted, tiled facade of our cellar door wine tasting area.
A warm fireplace and antique bench provide a restful interlude inside. Before or after tasting our wines, please step out to our rear courtyard to take in the tranquil sounds of the fountains. If you are with a large group on a fine day there is a good chance you will be tasting our wines outside.
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Thoughts on Corks & Screwcaps
Our Iron Gate Estate wines are predominantly sealed with screw-caps to retain both freshness and control variability that can sometimes occur when using a cork finish. The wine-making doesn’t stop at bottling and the decision on which closure to use can impact greatly on the quality of the wine. While there has been much said and written in the cork Vs screw-cap debate, the fact is that wines will mature under both closures (albeit differently) and both closures have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here at Iron Gate Estate we want to preserve the freshness in our wines (especially the whites) and find that screw-caps are the best closure for that. Any problems with TCA (the compound that causes the “corked” character in wine) has been largely eliminated by cork suppliers but there is still the very slight risk of random oxidation from using anything but the highest quality cork.
We do, however, use these high quality corks in our top of the range Fenix Cabernet Shiraz.
Why you ask?
The answer is in the style of wine that Fenix fits into. The wine has big fruit, big flavour and BIG tannin. These styles mature a little better under cork, as the oxygen transmission through the cork softens and subdues these tannins. In this case we have matured the wines under cork for a while until the wine is balanced and then the decision is made to wax the top and neck of the bottle to slow down the maturation process. In this way, we have some modicum of control over how the wine will age.
We are also aware of the tradition of using cork and the associated ceremony of uncorking the bottle (which we love) and provide this option for the cork purists.
This has been written from a purely personal (and slightly technical) point of view and I realise not all of you will agree with me after reading this. I can assure you, however, that we put a lot of love, time and dedication into bringing all of our wines to you in great condition and hope you enjoy them whatever the closure they are bottled under.
Winemaker, Iron Gate Estate.