Oldies but goodies
Hunter Semillon is special. It is one of the very few wine styles that are completely unique to Australia. And pretty well unique to our region. Its ability to age into stunning, golden gems that still sing with lip-smacking freshness years later is indeed a natural wonder. Un-oaked, low alcohol, low interference, brimming with citrus fruit and toasty complexity, the best versions are perfect after 10 years, iconic at 20. On the flip side, it can also produce delicious food-friendly young wines that will set the taste buds racing. Here are a few show-stoppers from recent competitions, both young and old. Let’s cherish
our local legend and celebrate Hunter Semillon in all its forms.
Silkman Reserve Semillon 2014
Reigning queen of Semillon winemaking in the Hunter is Liz Silkman. Award after award flows her way for wines made under the family label, as well as company brand First Creek. Not to mention all the contract clients whose wines shine after her Midas touch. Winner of the NSW Governor’s Trophy for Best In Show at last year’s NSW Wine Awards, this wine is pure Hunter Semillon perfection. Re-release date still to be confirmed, but look out for the current vintage 2018, it’s a cracker too. And its first cousin, the 2014 First Creek Blackcluster Semillon, swept the white wine field at the 2021 Hunter Valley Wine Show. No need to say more.
Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 2013
You can’t talk Hunter Semillon without mentioning Vat 1. The 2013 vintage was named Best Wine of Show at the 2021 Sydney Royal Wine Show, beating some stunning wines from across the country. Bruce Tyrrell proudly noted that this wine had won eight major trophies in eight years, while head judge PJ Charteris celebrated its “distinction, purity, and true expression, all bundled up with absolute balance and harmony”. Treat yourself when it is released in a year or so.
RRP: approx. $150 | www.tyrrells.com.au
Audrey Wilkinson – The Ridge Semillon 2019
A Hunter Valley Show gold medallist, the flagship Semillon from Audrey Wilkinson bounces with lemony loveliness and a steely line of complex minerality. Made by skilled winemaker Xanthe Hatcher from fruit grown by the estate’s best old vines, the future of this label shines brightly, with younger sister The Ridge 2021 also picking up a gold at the NSW Wine Awards.
RRP: $45 | www.audreywilkinson.com.au
De Iuliis Semillon 2021
Balanced, intense, crisp, zesty. Everything you want from a fresh, summery young white. An affordable, accessible wine from one of the Hunter’s best winemakers. Knock it back with a handful of school prawns and a few freshly-shucked oysters and you’re in heaven. Another gold winning beauty from the Hunter Show.
RRP: $25 | www.dewine.com.au
Gartelmann Benjamin Semillon 2021
This much-awarded member of the Gartelmann stable never ceases to impress, with a NSW Wine Awards gold going to the current release. Sourced from fruit grown in the alluvial soils of the Upper Hunter, this smart wine will continue to age for years to come. A range of zingy citrus flavours shimmy across the palate, which finishes with lingering, flinty concentration. Named in honour of owner Jan’s father Ben and grandson Benjamin, a lovely wine with a lovely heritage.
RRP: $27 | www.gartelmann.com.au