In writing this it’s quite likely I will be struck down by lightning but here goes anyway.
Deep breath. I occasionally quite like a white wine instead of red. So far so good. If I have white wine it’s usually a Semillon, a variety that lives in the shadow of its bigger, bolder and better known sibling Chardonnay. I love Semillon’s freshness, crispness and ease of drinking.
But most of all I love its versatility It can be drunk young as a lively, friendly wine; but unlike many whites it ages brilliantly. In Australia the most recognised dry Semillons are from the Hunter Valley, where the best are steely and austere with citrus the main flavour.
Here in Mudgee they are a little friendlier – delicate, with softer acid, and floral flavours to complement the lemon, plus – in the case of Huntington Estate – a touch of grassiness. There is no better wine to go with Rock Oysters.
The real magic of dry Semillon though is that age (7 years plus) brings complexity, softness and richness, and flavours turn to citrus peel and toastiness.
In singing the praises of Semillon I haven’t yet mentioned that Australian Semillon wines win more competitions in overseas wine shows than any other variety, making it the one variety in which we are truly world leaders.
I am talking here about Semillon as ‘Sticky’, its ultimate example of versatility. Left on the vine until Autumn, the grapes shrivel and in the best cases, develop a Botrytis fungus known as the Noble Rot. This combination makes the wine super sweet and gives intense characters of marmalade, apricot and all types of fruit. It’s quite ethereal.
At Huntington Estate we’ve been growing Semillon for 40 years, offer all three styles (young, old and sweet) and I love them all. They are a joy to make, to watch develop (I recently shared a divine 1997 Huntington Semillon with friends) and when the weather gets hot, they are quite simply my favourite drink.
Still not struck – I guess He must like a Semillon too.
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