Jancis Robinson calls it “Australia’s gift to the wine world.” Along with seemingly immortal fortified wines of Seppeltsfield and Rutherglen, Hunter Valley Semillon is one to put in the cellar and forget about for a few years, allowing the incredible power and depth to be revealed. Problem is, they taste so good when young that putting them away is a hard thing to do. Luckily the Hunter Valley winemakers know all this and regularly put aside stock to sell as aged releases. Considering the quality of the wines and the effort that’s gone into this process, their value is staggering. Here’s 3 of the current available aged releases.
Mount Pleasant, “Elizabeth” Cellar Aged Semillon 2007
Glows very bright in the glass. Coming out of adolescence and developing maturity: Soft-ish almost snow pea, vegetal mulch lift. Palate still has lemon butter over lime pith. The trademark Hunter acidity still there & some residual CO2 making little bubbles that explode on the tongue. I don’t think there’s any reason to leave it much further, enjoy now and celebrate the structure and flavour.
Wine sample courtesy of McWiliam’s Mount Pleasant
Thomas Wines, “Braemore” Cellar Release Semillon 2009
I first saw this in 2014 before Thommo had released it. Whilst working* vintage with Thommo, he presented a vertical of the Braemore Semillon back to 2001. I’m pleased to say that only Iain Riggs and I picked this as being one of the best among the line up. Bright and luminescent green in colour, not dissimilar to the lights in Thommo’s winery. Opened up a little eggy and reductive, almost with baked quiche aromas, but a little air blew that away to reveal developing citrus curd richness. Still quite primary on the palate: Mouth watering crunchy acidity with layers of lemon and soft lime citrus that seem to go on forever. Indeed, this may very well be a vinous Tithonus. Simply magnificent.
Wine sample courtesy of Thomas Wines
Margan Wines, Aged Release Semillon, 2010
Margan Wines are located in the region of Broke, a little further to the north west corner of the Hunter Valley and often has a different micro climate to other sub-regions of the Hunter. Candle wax and lemon butter richness over a toasty buttered crumpet complexity with some pea sprout herbal notes signifying youthful perfume. The nose suggests greater maturity than the palate: still lean, mineral lines and tight lime and lemon with driving acidity. Plenty of time to go.
Wine sample courtesy of Margan Wines