Following the difficult farming conditions in 2020, which saw this producer release just one out of three wines, 2021 proved a welcome return to normality in Jeff Byrne’s adopted region of Orange. After four years of drought, this vintage came through with a very cool summer and above-average rainfall, ultimately delivering a measured crop of bright fruit with vibrancy, purity and structure to the fore. So, feast follows famine and Byrne’s skilled hand in the cellar has made the most of nature’s benevolence: it’s easy to see why this winemaker’s talents have been in much demand over the years.Jeff tells us he’s never seen natural acidity this high, period. And that’s in a career that spans decades. In contrast to the much warmer 2019 vintage, the focus in 2021 was on tempering the acidity, allowing Byrne to introduce some malo and more bâtonnage in the Chardonnay, as well as destemming his Pinot Noir. Meanwhile, Byrne’s red blend reverts to a Shiraz-dominant composition. You can take the man out of the Hunter…In short, 2021 marks an impressive release from a winemaker absorbed in crafting delicious and balanced wines that focus on region and site—and in this he succeeds with honours. Byrne’s pulpy Chardonnay shimmers with high country purity, while the Pinot Noir wastes no time introducing this seasoned winemaker’s preference for clarity and crunch. The Shiraz-Pinot is just a joy; freshly picked summer berries metamorphosed into wine. All the wines have wonderfully fresh, juicy personalities that make them hard to stop drinking.