McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2000 Fast Facts:
Country: Australia
Region: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Winemaker: Phillip Ryan
Variety: 100% Semillon
Closure: Cork
Oak: Unoaked
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.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. I used to drink this in the late 70’s (boy does that show my age!). I think it was marketed as Mt Pleasant Elizabeth Reisling as there were no rules to stop it back then.

  2. Hi Barbara,

    You are right in that this was formerly known as Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Riesling as were most Hunter Valley Semillons until reasonably recently (I think around the early to mid 90’s this practice ended). Wine made from Riesling grapes was usually labelled as “Rhine Riesling”.

    I believe that there were also some wineries producing a “Hunter Valley White Burgundy” from Semillon grapes, despite the fact that true White Burgundy is made from Chardonnay grapes and that there has never been Semillon planted anywhere near Burgundy!

    Interesting to note that Hunter Valley Semillon is still usually bottled in Burgundy shaped bottles, rather than the more obvious choice of Bordeaux bottles.

    Cam Wheeler

  3. I enjoyed this one several times while on my honeymoon in Fiji last summer. I am trying to locate a few bottles for a Christmas gift for my husband but am unable to find any in the United States. Does anyone know a distributor in the U.S. that would carry the Mount Pleasant Semillon?

  4. Hi Lindsey,

    McWilliam’s distributors in the US are listed as;

    E&J Gallo Winery
    600 Yosemite Blvd , Modesto, California, 95354, USA

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