The final wine and black pirate at our Michigan vs. Mosel Riesling Tasting came from Australia, and was brought by a friend who had just arrived from Australia. She knows Nina’s and my love for wine, and she pretty much nailed it earlier this year when she brought this wine for us…
It was only after the tasting that I dove a bit further into the winery. On its website, the owners state that Ross and Derice McDonald started planting some vines in 1993 as an escape out of Sydney’s corporate world…interesting. In 1998 they went in all the way by moving to their Hunter River property from Sydney. They now own 15 hectares of vineyards and claim to make biodynamic/organic wines. I know organic wine making is quite the rage for a lot of consumers these days. I am fine with drinking organic wines, but it would never be my main criterion in buying a wine. A wine has to taste good first and foremost. If that can be combined with less intrusive methods of growing, that is fine with me. What I do not like is that equation of organic = good. To their credit, Mcquariedale does not seem to push that point too hard.
They grow shiraz (it is an Australian winery after all!), cab sav, merlot, semillon, chardonnay and verdelho grapes.
The wine description on their homepage reads as follows: “Our late picked Semillon is produced in a light style with hints of citrus peel and marmalade on the palate. The semillon grapes are left to ripen on the vine and then fermented briefly to retain all the natural acidity and sweetness. The wine will age gracefully and deepen in colour and flavour with extended cellaring.”
Here are my tasting notes. The wine poured in a deep orange color, and was highly viscose, as was to be expected by a fortified dessert wine. The nose had prominent pumpkin and clove aromas, then dried apricots and overripe cantaloupe. On the palate, the first and slightly overwhelming note was honey. As the earlier detected pumpkin and clove came in, so did some hints of sweet potato. I hardly noticed any acidity at all. The finish had an interesting touch with slight salty notes in the end.
I have to say, this wine did not grow on me. It was just too sweet without redeeming acidity. The pumpkin and cloves aroma did not help, because I am not fond of pumpkin pie at all (hey, I am not American, I do not have to like pumpkin pie!). I think the craftsmanship is there, and I bet there are many that like this type of dessert wine, some of the vin santo I tried in Italy was of similar style. I am just spoiled by my riesling BA, TBA and ice wines…
I actually tried to pick up a bottle of Hunter Valley Semillon a few weeks ago at my favorite DC store (which has quite the selection); however, the guy helping me noted that he had not seen a bottle of Hunter Valley Semillon in quite some time, though it had been all the rage apparently 10-20 years ago. Strange. I’ve heard great things about the dry Semillon, though I’d love to try a sweet Semillon from the region. (I’m guessing there’s no possibility of botrytised Semillon from Hunter Valley?)
Thanks for stopping by! I really am very unknowledgable when it comes to Australian wines. No clue about botrytis in that area or that grape…
Funny though that the wines went out of style. I guess it is in line with a general move to fresher, crisper, younger wines when going after whites…a shame.
Ha, that is interesting! And it kinda reflects my thoughts, too: a tad more acidity would have helped. Not bad, Joon!! Thanks for sharing.
As an Australian, I am quietly proud of Hunter Valley Semillon. But they make much better Dry Semillon then they do Sweet Wine.
Thanks for that info, Nick. Will look for dry semillons from Hunter Valley…
[…] with the 2009 Macquariedale Hunter Valley Late Picked Semillon from Australia, which is described here. The black […]