Gabrielle Semillon 2011
In my view, time has proven Semillon to be the only white variety grown in the Barossa Valley capable of producing a world class wine. And whilst many times over the years other eminently more popular varieties have been planted in the dry Barossa Valley soils, none have produced a wine of excellence, and
none have endured. The piles of freshly ripped Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vines that litter the Barossa Valley landscape today are glaring testament.
- TEUSNER VISION
- BACKGROUND SPIEL
- PLEASURABLE NEWS
Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel once said ‘Fashion changes – style endures’ which I think says it all about Barossa Valley Semillon.
In my view, time has proven Semillon to be the only white variety grown in the Barossa Valley capable of producing a world class wine. And whilst many times over the years other eminently more popular varieties have been planted in the dry Barossa Valley soils, none have produced a wine of excellence, and none have endured. The piles of freshly ripped Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vines that litter the Barossa Valley landscape today are glaring testament.
That the Barossa Valley can still lay claim to be home to the oldest plantings of Semillon in the world is thanks to the generations of Barossa grape growing families who’ve stuck by it (despite the cripplingly low prices being paid in many cases) and the handful of battle hardened Barossa winemakers who’ve worked long and hard as impassioned advocates, almost always in the face of
considerable and sustained headwinds. Yet in spite of all this…and its outstanding pedigree, provenance, impressive qualities and unquestionable style, the tragic irony is that ‘unfashionable’ Semillon now faces the same fate that has befallen even the most ‘fashionable’ varieties! As every year goes by, the Barossa’s stocks of old vine Semillon continue to dwindle.
Back in 2011, on a bit of an impulse (Who? Me? Impulsive? Never!!) I bought a small parcel of Semillon from an 80 year old vineyard on the eastern edge of the Barossa Valley near Angaston. We pressed the juice off oxidatively and fermented it cool with a little solids to offer some textural complexity. About 20% was matured in new French oak for around 3 months before we bottled
the wine….and then stuck it in the shed…and waited. We did the same in 2012… and again in 2013…and yet again in 2014 and 2015…before we finally got around to releasing the first wine. Impulsive….and patient…and with 5 vintages of Semillon in my shed and not a bottle sold! Genius?
Released as a four year old, the 2011 is still showing plenty of youthful lemon curd, lime juice and fresh cut straw on the nose, intermingled with fresh butter and biscuit like aromatics. Bright, fresh citrus characters dominate the palate, with the textural components providing the structure for the palate as the wine ages and mineral like acidity giving it length and a crisp finish. All up, whilst the cool kids might think it’s unfashionable, I’m quietly pleased that we’ve made an awesome drink. And if no-one buys the stuff, who cares! I’d happily drink the lot myself.
KYM TEUSNER, WINEMAKER
“The vintage was as good for white wines as it was poor for reds, the intensity and finesse of this semillon rarely encountered in the Barossa Valley, even from old vines; it positively vibrates in the mouth with its lemon juice/ lemon sherbet flavours, the finish as clear as a spring day.”
94 points, James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 10th June 2014
“Cool, wet vintages are rarely a bad thing when it comes to semillon. This one is out of the box in Barossa terms. It’s fundamentally delicious. Honeysuckle, candied lemon, lemongrass, caramel, steel. It’s at its peak, or in its prime, now. “
92 POINTS, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front 27/10/15
“Medium to full buttercup yellow colour with a toasty, nutty, buttery bouquet reflecting barrel fermentation as well as a hint of sulfide. It’s more like a well-worked chardonnay than a semillon. The palate is rich and dry, intense and full, round and complex. Very good wine, but is it really typical of semillon?”
90 points, Huon Hooke, Huonhooke.com January 2016