French Semillon is a blending grape prized for its low acidity, rich, oily mouthfeel, and tendency to develop botrytis. Aussie Semillon, especially from Hunter Valley, is an entirely different animal. Although Hunter Valley is hot and humid, cool afternoon sea breezes and cloud cover moderate the temperatures, and their Semillon is harvested early before the acid drops. The result is a wine that hovers between rich and austere and some show a funky diesel-like aroma note that sets them apart.
Tyrrell’s is one of the better known producers of Hunter Valley Semillon.
Intriguing and complex, this bottling shows a honeyed apple aroma with citrus, a bit of tarragon, and that diesel fuel note that, with aeration, morphs into nut-like aromas.
Bone dry and only 10% alcohol. The texture is quite unique. Medium weight with a lanolin foundation that reveals subtle grit and sand as it moves across the palate, the wine has a lemon keynote that rides on crisp, acid-driven top notes. A pure, transparent mineral water quality dominates the midpalate as it expands and then compresses and fades on a very tart finish that sinuously, subtlety probes, attacks, withdraws, and attacks again.
Spirited and eccentric but acerbic, ingratiating but then scornful, it persistently goads with little insults, like listening to Bob Dylan’s I Want You.
Technical Notes: 50% stem inclusion, cool fermentation with inoculated yeast, 6 weeks on the lees.