Semillon, ugly duckling?

SwanSemillon is the vinous version of the ugly duckling that turns into the beautiful swan. Often tight and tart when young, semillons can turn into rich, seductive, sophisticated beauties as they age.

Mount Pleasant ‘Eight Acres’ Hunter Semillon 2014: This is starting to fill out and take on the wonderful complexity for which Hunter semillon is famous. The journey may have started but it’s got an easy three to five years to go before arrival is within sight. 93 points now and more to come. It’s worth the $27 asked.

Mount Pleasant ‘Lovedale’ Hunter Semillon 2010: A lot of naughty things in life are enjoyable. This is a very naughty wine indeed. As yet, it’s not as enjoyable as it will be, but, boy, the promise is there. Gorgeous now, so an easy 95, but more points will come. If you’re a serious collector of wine $70 a bottle is good value, as this will continue to give pleasure for decades.

Margan Hunter Valley Semillon 2015: Very attractive on the nose and drinking quite well at the moment. Works better with food to tame youth’s raw edge. 90 points now, with more to come, and $20 is value.

Huntington Estate Mudgee Semillon 2015: Fresh, zesty lemon on the nose, underdeveloped on the palate due to youth, but should come good later in 2016. A mean 91 points on tasting but more to come and it is value at $22.

Shaw Vineyard Canberra District Semillon 2015: Lemon nose and soft to start, but has interesting edges on its journey. I wonder what it will turn out to be in five years, as the Canberra region is not noted for semillon production. A mean 90 points now but more to come. $35 is a high price at the moment but may be worth it if the wine is put down. A risk to take, maybe.

Mount Pleasant ‘Elizabeth’ Hunter Valley Semillon 2015: Raw and somewhat savage at the time of tasting, and I think it will spend most of 2016 in that state. A huge amount of power and depth of flavour is waiting to emerge when the beast settles. Therefore a mean 89 now, but I think another five points lie ahead. Value at $20 to put away for a year or three.

Pauletts ‘Helmsford’ Watervale Clare Valley Semillon 2015: This is different and very good. There is a textural aspect to the wine, as if some botrytis is involved. It’s rich, not sweet, with a strong lemon edge that draws itself across the palate in a lazy Sunday afternoon sort of way. 93 points and I think maybe more to come as it develops. Well worth $23.

Robert Stein Mudgee Semillon 2015: I almost dismissed this on first taste, but there was something in the background, something that lodged in my mind, saying not all taste is immediate. Cutting to the chase, it went from nothing to something. I kept it overnight and it seemed to grow in stature. 91 points, but is it worth $25? That I can’t answer, as I think this wine will have a different effect on each drinker.

Tyrrell’s ‘Vat 1’ Hunter Valley Semillon 2011:  When the wrapping is discarded and the Tyrrell’s Vat range is revealed, excitement is aroused. It’s been like that for many years. The wines are consistently first rate, which is borne out by the number of gold medals and trophies they pick up year in, year out.  This is no exception. The quality is outstanding and it’s an individual that should be on allocation, as it’s one of the best wines that comes out of Australia. It will live for years, so a mean 95 points now, and for those who have it, $80 is a very fair price.

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