Region: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Winemaker: Phillip Ryan
Variety: 100% Semillon
RRP: $ 18AU
Outside the Hunter Valley, Semillon is infrequently bottled as a single grape varietal wine. Most commonly it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc, making two classic French white wines, White Bordeaux/Graves and Sauternes. Hunter Valley Semillon could well be our most underestimated wine variety, when young it will often be closed and hard to approach, but given enough bottle age, it will slowly transform into an absolute delight and something quite unlike any other varietal wine. It’s something that I think Australia can be proud of as a unique world-class wine. The best examples of Hunter Valley Semillon need at least 10 years to open up and will still be improving after 15-20 years and often well beyond…
A little bit about the winery: McWilliams is one of the largest remaining family owned wine companies in Australia, which are sadly becoming all the more rare these days.
The Mount Pleasant label is dedicated to the McWilliams wines from the Hunter Valley where they make some exceptional Shiraz and Semillon.
This particular wine is the base level of their range from the Mount Pleasant section of the business, and it is given a minimum of three years of bottle age before being released.
Tasting Note: After 5 years of bottle age, this wine is just beginning to open up. A pale straw yellow in colour. Lemon and lime aromas were present and the wine was just beginning to develop some of the classic aged Semillon creamy toast and honey characters. Citrus fruits and more lemony, citrusy flavours on the palate with what I thought to be a hint of a slightly grassy element to it. The finish was lingering, without being overwhelming and is well suited as a wine to pair with food.
Food: The classic match for aged Semillon is seafood.
Drinking Window: While drinking well now, I think this wine shows good promise and will benefit immensely from an 3-5 additional years bottle aging.
Score: It’s well worth 91 points, and sure to improve with time, with a value rating of Excellent.
See “How to interpret my scores” for an explanation of how the above scores were reached.