Hunter Valley Semillon is a personal favourite wine of mine, I think it is a world class style that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. I was excited to be able to attend this recent tasting with a regular tasting group, focussing on Australian Semillon. As usual there were some wild cards thrown in to the mix for good measure as well.

  • NV Philippe Bornard Crémant du Jura Blanc de Blancs – France, Jura, Crémant du Jura
    Light hazelnut and some floral notes on the nose. Palate is nutty and has light citrus fruit. Pleasant enough and the flavour actually lingers longer than expected. 87/100
  • NV Philippe Bornard Savagnin Vin de Table Français çava bien – France, Vin de Table Français
    Apple cider, peach, florals and a slight funky earthy note. The palate isn’t as interesting as the nose, but it has good cleansing acidity and drive. 89/100
  • 2006 Meerea Park Sémillon Alexander Munro – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Very toasty nose showing development, with lemon and wax coming through as well. The palate continues the toasty trend, there is nice depth and some rich fruit to it and the finish is long and lingering. 91/100
  • 2006 Meerea Park Sémillon Hell Hole – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Swirling floral aromas, with mandarin, lime and lemon. Impeccably balanced palate. Brilliant focus and length. Without doubt, a top class Semillon. 93/100
  • 2006 Meerea Park Sémillon Terracotta – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley, Pokolbin
    Some lemon and toast on the slightly shy nose. Acid takes the prominence on the palate, there isn’t as much depth as the other wines in this flight but it is still a good wine that probably needs another 3-4 years to show its best. 89/100
  • 2010 Hollydene Estate Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    The nose has some funky earthen character and lime. The palate is medium bodied and without obvious fault, but there isn’t much to distinguish it. 86/100
  • 2011 Petersons Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Very grassy on the nose, there is are herbs and some lemon. The palate is light and fresh but extremely simple. 87/100
  • 2011 Scarborough Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Apricot, lime and grassy notes on the nose. The palate has good focussed acidity and has some depth even in its youth. Needs time. 89/100
  • 2010 Tallowwood Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Musk, graphite and lime on the nose. Palate is inoffensive but lacks depth and character. 86/100
  • 2011 Ashbrook Sémillon – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River
    Passionfruit and tropical fruit salad nose. Palate is all passionfruit flavour and the alcohol stands out as well. 83/100
  • 2007 Moss Wood Sémillon – Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River
    Grass and wood on the nose. Palate has decent richness without feeling out of balance, there is a touch of alcohol on the finish but it isn’t enough to ruin the wine. 87/100
  • 2007 Rockford Sémillon Local Growers – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Lychee, lanolin and wax aromas. Palate had that lanolin character carry through. Good flavour and drinking well now. This isn’t usually a wine from Rockford that I like, but I thought this was very good. 90/100
  • 1999 Rothbury Wine Society Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Oxidized, sherried, done. Not Rated
  • 1988 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Elizabeth – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Corked. Not Rated
  • 1986 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Sémillon Lovedale – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Closed slightly at first but soared in the glass – a touch of mint, honeysuckle, citrus and nutty aromas. The palate is beautifully structured, holding up magnificently. There is a youthfulness here that is amazing for its age but it is also layered and complex. Good bottles like this one show the magnificent potential of Hunter Valley Semillon. 94/100
  • 1995 Tyrrell’s Sémillon Vat 1 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Only just starting to turn golden coloured with tinges of green evident. Nose belies its age somewhat, there is fresh lemon with honey characters only just starting to develop. The palate is rich and long, it just doesn’t have the complexity of a top wine, but it is still fantastic. 91/100
  • 1997 Tyrrell’s Sémillon Vat 1 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Musty, muted, corked. Not Rated
  • 1998 Tyrrell’s Sémillon Vat 1 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Honey, citrus and pear aromas. Palate has fruit richness but there is an astounding core of acidity giving it balance. Still youthful but so incredibly impressive already. 94/100
  • 1999 Tyrrell’s Sémillon Vat 1 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Citrus, pear and a floral note. The acid is still searing on the palate, it has barely softened at all. Despite this, there is clear structure and I think it has enough fruit that it will live long enough to come around. Of the Vat1 wines tried tonight, this needs the most time, at least 5 more years if not 10. 91/100
  • 2001 Tyrrell’s Sémillon Vat 1 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Aromas of graphite, rock melon and lemon pie. The palate is extremely approachable, there is a richness and roundness to it without being broad. I’m happy to drink this now while waiting for the 98 and 99 to mature further. 92/100
  • 1995 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Sémillon Lovedale – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Honey, wax and lanolin aromas. The palate has good texture and complexity, but it fades away slightly early which drops this down a grade. 90/100
  • 1996 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Sémillon Lovedale – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Waxy, lemon and pear with a sweaty element. The palate is rich but there isn’t enough acidity and it feels a little bit flabby as a result. A bottle tasted a year earlier was much better. 88/100
  • 1996 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Sémillon Elizabeth – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Honey, rocks and wax on the nose. The palate is starting to fade and drops away early. This bottle was heading past its prime but other bottles may or may not be better, I thought the last bottle I had 7 years ago was ready to drink so I guess this is consistent. 87/100
  • 1997 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Sémillon Elizabeth – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Butterscotch and honey with citrus on the nose. Palate doesn’t show as much age, there is super acidity and it is lifted and long. Delicious and left me wanting more. 91/100
  • 1991 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Shiraz Rosehill – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley, Lower Hunter Valley
    Earthy, with some leather saddle and blackberry. Medium body and length, drinking well now. 88/100
  • 1993 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines Shiraz Maurice O’Shea – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley, Lower Hunter Valley
    Eucalypt dominant, there is some black pepper and smoked meat aromas as well. Palate is minty and doesn’t have amazing complexity, but there is good length and it is drinking nicely right now. 90/100
  • 1990 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Vat 5 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Cloudy coloured. Graphite, red berries and saddle aromas. Palate is sauvory and has good balance, but there isn’t enough depth to it and I don’t think this will get much better with more time. 87/100
  • 1994 Tyrrell’s Shiraz Vat 5 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Nose shows orange peel, menthol, barbecue sauce and boot polish. The palate is slightly vegetal and smoky and isn’t all that pleasant. 82/100
  • 1994 Lindemans Shiraz Bin 8803 – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Smoky notes, leather, liquorice and redcurrant on the nose. Palate is well balanced with savoury character and restrained fruit still present. It is probably time to drink as I don’t think it has the structure to get better. 88/100
  • 1998 Rothbury Estate Shiraz Brokenback – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Aniseed and leather on the nose. Palate has good texture and length. 89/100
  • 1998 Meerea Park Shiraz Alexander Munro – Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley
    Colour is fantastic, vibrant and no fading at the rim. Raspberry, some earth and iron as well as blackberries on the nose. Palate is brooding – tannins, oak and fruit are all present and they do work well together to provide balance. Structured and with lots of potential, this is an excellent wine. 91/100
  • 2003 Irvine Zinfandel Reserve – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Eden Valley
    Tobacco and liquorice, with apricot and red cherry aromas. There is a bold fruit streak to the palate, but there is some good structure as well. Very good. 88/100
  • 1993 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Sémillon – Australia, New South Wales, Big Rivers, Riverina
    Madarin and quince with some marzipan and honey aromas. Palate has very good acid still to balance the medium sweetness. Holding up well and should continue drinking well over the next 3-4 years from 750ml bottles like this one. 90/100

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