Wine Reviews

Tyrell’s HVD Vineyard Hunter Valley Semillon 2014

This proved to be quite a developing expression of Hunter semillon from benchmark producer Tyrells.  The wine has evident tertiary butter and lactic aromas, with notes of mild struck match.  As ever with more developed semillon, it is almost surprising there is no oak.  The palate has particularly enamel searing, very high acidity and a biscuit and toast character.  This wine is much more developed than expected from a still youngish semillon bottled under screwcap, and has entered its drinking window.  Rating: Good.  Abv: 11.5. Price: $20s. Website: Reviewed: June 2020.

Wine Reviews

Wills Domain Mystic Spring Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2019

This wine is a very sauvignon blanc influenced semillon sauvignon blanc blend from Wills Domain in the Margaret River. It opens to clarion like passionfruit and gooseberry aromas. The palate is crisp and ready to drink, with a roundness to the body its primary clue to its semillon portion. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5. Price: $20. Website: Source: Sample. Reviewed: April 2020.

Wine Reviews

Tyrell’s Wines Hunter Valley Semillon 2016

Tyrells are a benchmark producer of Hunter Valley semillon, and this wine is the “baby brother” of Tyrell’s more famous Vat 1 Hunter semillon.  In the glass, it has aromatics of lemon and bees wax.  The palate has a nip of acidity and good length.  The alcohol is only 11%.  A good release that can be approached now, but should age for a decade or more.  Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 11%. Price: $20.

Wine Reviews

Robert Stein Semillon Riesling Gewürtztraminer Mudgee 2017

This is a somewhat unusual white blend that finds semillon, riesling and gewürtztraminer together.  In the glass, it’s a pale yellow in colour, and has aromas that remind of grass and apple skins, perhaps explicable by the 7 day ferment on skins.  The palate is fresh and the acidity apple like.  Some CO2 and a light body complete the picture, whilst the abv is only 10%.  Suitable for current drinking.  Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 10%. Price: $18. Source: Sample.

Wine Reviews

Huntington Estate Special Reserve Semillon 2016

Huntington Estate’s 2016 semillon is from 50 year old vines in Mudgee, and opens to fresh cut grass and waxy apple skin aromas.  The palate is light to medium bodied, the acidity fresh and the length very good.  In all, this is very good semillon release that can be approached now or cellared for improvement over the next decade.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 11.5%. Price: $30. Source: Sample.

Wine Reviews

A couple of Bordeaux blancs; Sirius Bordeaux Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2014 and Château Crabitey Graves Blanc 2015

Take 2; in my haste to correct a typo, I managed to delete the entire post.  Easily done it would seem and the recovery methods offered by blogs various unusually arcane.  If you managed to read the first post, hopefully my replacement here bears some resemblance.

There is a sniff that Bordeaux Blanc may be in vogue, and I really can’t see why not.  They are fresh and very drinkable in style.  Here are two good ones.

Sirius Bordeaux Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2014
A blend of 50/50 sauvignon blanc and sémillon, this is a classical expression of the Bordeaux blanc blend with aromas of asparagus, smoke and green melon.  The palate has crisp acidity and lemon characters and a full bodied manner.  Rating: Good

Château Crabitey Graves Blanc 2015
A step up from the Sirius, the Château Crabitey Graves Blanc is a a blend of 65/35 sauvignon blanc and sémillon and sees 6 months in 20% new oak.  It is a lovely wine and has saline, earth and mineral overtones, with a backdrop of hazelnuts.  The palate is medium bodied with a linear character of struck match and minerals.  Yes.  Rating Good to Very Good

Read more:

Source: samples

Wine Reviews

Gartelmann Benjamin Hunter Valley Semillon 2016

I don’t drink or cellar nearly enough Hunter Valley semillon.  This release from the 2016 vintage from Gartelmann is quite attractive.  Its nose is bright with lemon, minerals and a lemon rind character.  The palate is light to medium bodied, with good length and balance framed with high acidity.  I enjoyed this.  Rating: Good to Very Good

Read more:

Source: sample

Wine Reviews

A vinous round up

Here is a vinous round up of wine notes that I, for one reason or another, have not been quick enough to type out individual posts on, but nonetheless ought to be commented upon.  There are some very good wines among these.  In re-reading them, it is a bit of vinous Noah’s Ark which, more or less, tracks my own obsession with good wine, no matter where it’s from.

As a brief aside, sometimes I wonder whether short lists such as these are the best way to communicate tasting notes, rather than individual posts per wine.  Feel free to chime in.  They do become harder to search though in this format.


Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2010, Hunter Valley
Pale intensity, lemon-green in colour.  Floral, lemon aromatics.  Bone dry, high acid with a light to medium body.  Lemon, yellow grapefruit and hints of toast and honey.  A delicious Hunter Valley semillon just starting to edge towards maturity.  I need more semillon in my cellar.  Rating: Very Good

Ten Minutes by Tractor Judd Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula
Benchmark territory here.  Nectarine, peach, cashew and clove aromatics.  Long length, fullish body, all in exquisite balance with a stone fruit overlay.  Delicious and first rate wine.  Rating: Very Good to Outstanding

Ten Minutes by Tractor McCutcheon Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula
More obvious in style than the Judd.  Still delicious though.  Butter, cashew, vanilla and green mango aromatics.  Palate with between medium and long length and terrifically balanced.  Rating: Very Good


Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2015, Clare Valley
Lemon-green in colour.  Steely, lemon and lime, very Clare Valley.  Dry, high acid palate.  Lovely riesling.  I’d buy this.  Rating: Good

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2013, Margaret River
A delicious wine, but evident winemaking oak influence.  Lemon in colour.  Quite aromatic expressions of nectarine, organs peel, cedar and smoke.  The palate is dry with prodigiously long length on the finish, coupled with cedar and stone fruit characters.  Rating: Very Good

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Quite a developed wine, with hints only of lemon and cashew.  The palate is quite subtle too and almost a little neutral.  Subtle length and balance.  Seemed to be missing some spark.  Rating: Good

3 Tales Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough
Soundly made Marlborough sauvignon blanc.  Grass, gooseberry, grapefruit.  Pronounced intensity aromatics and high acid palate.  Exactly what you might expect from a Marlborough SB, a style that is what it is.  Rating: Good


Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago, New Zealand
This wine evolved and improved considerably in the glass.  Residual impression of “not convinced”.  Deeply coloured for pinot noir.  Aromatics of caramel, toffee (the first two unusual for pinot), dark cherry and autumn with time.  The palate reminds of cedar, cherry and plum with good length on the finish.  Complex.  Rating: Good

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Coonawarra
This is a good wine.  Mint, eucalyptus, earth and dark olive aromatics.  Palate with considerable tannin and a full bodied expression of blackcurrant and dark olives.  One for the cellar.  Obvious mint  its only query.  Rating: Good to Very Good.

Chateau Plince Pomerol 2012, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Pleasant wine.  Not ambitiously priced for a Pomerol in Australia.  Cedar, typical merlot characters of plum and fruit cake.  Balanced palate.  Rating: Good

Angullong Crossing Reserve Shiraz 2013, Orange
A lovely wine.  Aromatics of clove,vanilla, plum and wood spice.  Balanced mid weight wine on the palate with good length.  Rating: Good

Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi 2010, Barolo, Italy
2010 is a great vintage in Barolo.  This wine is classic nebbiolo tar and roses although lacking the intensity and structure of some.  Rating: Good


Capella Prosecco NV, Conegliano Valdobbiadene, Italy
Here’s a good Prosecco.  Not all of them are, but this one is.  Apple skins, apple and apricot blossom. Palate somewhere between dry and off dry.  Creamy mousse and pleasant length.  Rating: Good

Torre Blanca Cava NV, Cava, Spain
Lemon and grapefruit aromatics.  Dry palate with a creamy mousse, and minerally after taste.  Fine, but not a style I search for.  Rating: Acceptable

Domaine Pichot Vouvray Brut 2011, Vouvray, France
Golden in colour.  Aromatics of grapefruit, biscuit, almonds and green mango.  Something ever so slightly socky.  Dry, high acid palate.  Delicate.  Rating: Good

Louis Roederer Vintage 2008, Champagne, France
Yeast, biscuit and strawberry aromatics.  High acid palate, racy, resolutely dry and lemon and yellow grapefruited expression.  Second bottle had more charm.  Rating: Good to Very Good

Dessert Wine

Chateau Coutet 2009, Sauternes-Barsac, France
Marmalade, orange peel, long length and pure expression of Sauternes.  Delicious.  Rating: Very Good

Note: some of these wines were samples.

Wine Reviews

d’Arenberg dessert wine 4 ways

d’Arenberg produce four different dessert wines and it was very interesting to taste them together.  Well, not literally together of course, but sequentially.  They are each $20 and from the 2015 vintage, and made respectively from riesling, chardonnay/semillon/viognier, semillon/sauvignon blanc and viognier/arneis.  As appears customary for d’Arenberg, the naming pushes boundaries and here I will give particular credit to the naming of the semillon/sauvignon blanc blend.

The Noble Wrinkled Riesling 2015 has aromas of lemon and lime zest.  The palate is intensely sweet and honeyed with a baked toffee character and proves too sweet ultimately for me.  The fruit is from McLaren Vale.  The Noble Prankster Chardonnay Semillon Viognier 2015 has unusual aromas of kiwi fruit and guava.  The palate is sweet and reminds of green mango with a full bodied fatness from the chardonnay, which is less often seen as a dessert wine.  The fruit is from McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.  Of this group, the next two were the most classically proportioned wines and both come from the Adelaide Hills.  The Noble Mud Pie Viognier Arneis 2015 is true to viognier type with kernel, apricot and honey aromatics, and a balanced, sweet palate reminding of apricots and is attractive.  The Noble Botryotinia Fuckellana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 challenges a few naming conventions, but is the best wine of the bunch.  It has stone fruit, nectarine and orange peel aromatics.  The palate is sweet, with brown sugar and orange peel overtones.

These wines did have me pondering a technical question.  How is it that only particular parts of the vineyard can be infected (deliberately or naturally) with the botrytis cinerea fungus without infecting neighbouring vines?  Your thoughts appreciated.

Source: samples

Wine Reviews

Robert Stein Mudgee Semillon 2015

This wine had me thinking that I don’t drink or cellar enough semillon.  The idea of looking in on decade old semillon is a highly attractive one; I guess you can’t buy everything.  Suffice to say that the semillon in question – Robert Stein’s from the 2015 vintage in Mudgee – is a very good one.  Lemons, stones and zest by way of aromatics.  Its palate is quite approachable yet linear with super fresh acidity.  Drink now, or I would suggest cellar for a decade.

Rating: Very Good
Abv: 12%
Price: $25
Source: sample
Vendors and website:
Tasted: 2016