Whilst the unprecedented bushfires across NSW earlier this year did not directly impact any vineyards in the Hunter, it is true that many vineyards were impacted by the smoke that drifted into the Valley from the west. Thommo addresses the elephant in the room - smoke taint. Read more here.
To hear a few words from Thommo - click here
2020 Braemore Semillon
Braemore is the only Hunter Valley single-vineyard Semillon I have bottled from 2020. In fact, Braemore was the only Hunter Semillon vineyard that I picked this year. Unfortunately, due to its proximity to the fires, the Fordwich Hill vineyard was definitely highly impacted by smoke and even the Oakey Creek vineyard was deemed too risky in terms of potential smoke taint.
The 2020 Braemore is wonderfully bright and vibrant, with the purity of citrus fruit and structural precision and energy that we have come to expect from this pedigree vineyard over the years. With the impact of the drought on our yields, I have only bottled a small quantity of Braemore this year, but those lucky enough to get their hands on some before it sells out will be delighted I'm sure.
I see no issues at all in the glass regarding smoke, but to be absolutely sure I have had the finished wine analysed by the AWRI. The volatile compounds that contribute to smoke taint are below analytically detectable levels, and the bound glycosides (those that may covert to volatiles with time in bottle) are only just above background levels expected in wines that have had no exposure to smoke.
I will watch with interest as this wine ages, and of course there is a minor risk, but my gut feeling is there will be no issues at all. In any case, the wine is so delicious I expect it will take some considerable willpower not to drink it all up as a youngster… The wine will be officially released 1st September.
2020 Joe’s Block Semillon
From adversity comes opportunity and innovation….
Clearly, only having one single vineyard Semillon in 2020 was going to leave a gaping hole in my range. Then I thought to myself… The Barossa has some pretty good Semillon vineyards, why don’t I take a look at that? After consulting my great mate Reid Bosward (Boz) from Kaesler, he found an awesome patch of Semillon, and here we have our very first single-vineyard Barossa Semillon.
Joe’s Block, owned and operated by Jim and Cheree Boehm, is situated on the deep alluvial loam soils of the Barossa’s Light Pass district. The 1.7Ha block was planted in 1983. Like many Australian wine regions, the Barossa was also in the grips of quite a severe drought, receiving only 40% of its average long term rainfall ahead of the 2020 growing season. The lower yields were offset by a coolish end to the ripening period, leading to a slightly later picking date of 19th February.
The hand-picked fruit was sent into Kaesler wines for whole bunch pressing, and then the chilled juice was transported to the Hunter for fermentation. As a salute to the traditional Barossa style, half of the wine was fermented in used French oak Hogsheads (300L), the other half in tank providing an excellent stylistic contrast to our classic Hunter style.
Light to medium straw in colour. There's a citrus core to the aromas, but with underlying melon and perfumed blossom characters providing a riper feel to the nose. Also a faint grilled nuts and brioche complexity from the subtle oak maturation. Bright and fresh, the palate has attractive lemon curd and stone fruit characters, a gentle acidity and a slightly chalky texture which are all wrapped up within a light to medium-bodied frame.
2020 Synergy Semillon
The smart money is on the Synergy Semillon this year....
This wine is normally a blend of various old vine Semillon vineyards, but having only picked Braemore this year, the 2020 Synergy Semillon is 100% Braemore Semillon.
Obviously, I have selected the very best parcel from the vineyard to bottle as the single-vineyard Braemore Semillon, but then I blended all the other parcels together for the Synergy Semillon blend. Of course, I also sent this wine off for smoke panel analysis, and not unsurprisingly the results are pretty much exactly the same as the Braemore Semillon bottling.
Slightly riper at 11.5% alcohol (compared to 11.0% for the Braemore), this wine has that extra level of generosity and fruit sweetness and slightly gentler acidity that we have come to expect with this label, making it a delicious every day drinking Hunter Semillon at a great value for money price.
2013 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon
I have been looking forward to the release of this wine for such a long time. Last year I made the decision to hold this vintage back for an extra 12 months, and released the (awesome) 2014 Cellar Reserve one year ahead of schedule.
A decision that is now paying dividends. This wine is now in a beautiful drinking window having emerged with those amazing bottle aged toasty complexities, yet still has the freshness and vibrancy of youth defying the seven years of time in bottle. Make no mistake, we will still be in awe of this wine as it continues to evolve over the next 10-20 years. The Halliday Wine Companion lists the 2014 Cellar Reserve at 97 points and included the wine in the “Best of the Best” Semillons of the year. The 2013 Braemore received 97 points back in 2014, yet received 94 points when tasted again last year. Interesting…
I’ll say this on the record…. The 2013 vintage Braemore Semillon is THE BEST vintage I have produced in the 21 years of making wine from this iconic vineyard. Awarded 12 Trophies and 21 Gold medals to date.
These new release wines will be available to purchase via our Cellar Door or online here from Tuesday 1st September, 2020.
Now that we have you interested.... BUY our Semillons here