My aunty, who lives in Canberra, was telling me the other day that she found a 1973 Rothbury Estate Semillon in a corner of her cellar. She reckoned that it was probably the first serious wine that she bought and cellared back in the early 70s. One might expect that in 2011 this wine would be way past it, but having carefully pulled the cork, what she instead found was a beautifully fresh, yet complex Hunter Semillon. It’s amazing to think how long the better, current day Hunter Semillons will cellar under screwcap.
Brown and I have a bunch of Hunter Semillons to review and below is an initial trio -
2011 Pepper Tree Tallawanta Semillon ($28, 11.5% ABV) – I don’t often think of young Hunter Semillon as elegant, but this wine certainly provides that sense. It has a lovely unobtrusive acidity, and some nice texture and grip. Citrus, florals, and with a hint of honey it finishes with impressive length. One for the cellar. 4 Stars
2011 Thomas Braemore Semillon ($28, 11.5% ABV) - I loved the 09 and ’10 vintages of this wine, but not so much this wine. Its length and clean acidity mark it out as being of impressive pedigree, but the tropical fruit profile and some grassiness reminded me a little too much of a Sav Blanc in terms of flavour profile. I tried it again after a couple of days and the tropicals had happily subsided to some extent. Definitely a wine that needs some time to see its best. 3.5 Stars +
2011 Tulloch Semillon ($16, 11.3% ABV) – This might be the lowest scoring of this trio, but it is the most enjoyable to drink now, and perhaps the most easily identifiable as a Hunter Semillon. If you find yourself sitting in front a plate of Sydney Rock oysters this summer or next, crack this open and enjoy. Fresh, crisp, and with prominent acidity, it has lovely ripe citrus flavours and a good length of finish. It might surprise in the longer term but it’s open for business now. Great value. 3.5 Stars
Three quite different wines, and in the broader scheme of things, all very good value. The Tulloch is for now, while the Thomas and Pepper Tree should be popped in the cellar. I’m not sure if either of them will do 38 years like the ’73 Rothbury, but then again, betting against the Braemore or Tallawanta vineyards is a brave thing to do.