From AU$28, £14.95 and 16 euros.
Find this wine. Apologies to purple pagers in the US: the wine is made in such small quantites that it not currently available in the States.
This deliciously concentrated and oaky Mount Horrocks Semillon 2007 Clare Valley stood out from the crowd at the extensive Australia Day tasting in London at the end of January. I had been tasting mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon/Semillon blends (which I will be reporting on in a separate article) but couldn't resist straying into the varietal Semillon camp here.
The wine exudes classy oak aromas but they certainly don't dominate the pure, zesty grapefruit and stone fruit flavours and the creamy texture on the palate. Even with all that flavour and depth, there's an intense clarity and a long minerally but still mouthwateringly fresh finish. Yum.
Stephanie Toole's total production at Mount Horrocks in the Clare Valley is about 5,000 cases, which is why she can keep a close eye on every detail that matters. She also produces very good Riesling, both dry and very sweet, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. All the fruit is handpicked. Half of it is estate grown and the rest – including the grapes for this single-vineyard Semillon – come from dry-grown vines owned by Peter and Yvonne Peglidis, highly respected growers in Watervale. This wine is made to go with food. It's lovely now but I'd be keen to try it again in a year or two. (A look at Wine-Searcher.com suggests that there are some older vintages still around and about.)
The oakiness at this stage in the wine's life is not surprising: it was barrel fermented in French oak (40% new, the rest second and third use) for nine months, with lees stirring every two weeks for the first three months. The fine use of oak, fresh acidity and depth of flavour are reminiscent of a very good young white Bordeaux in a riper year, even though this is out and out, gently waxy, Semillon without a dash of Sauvignon.
Stockists in the UK: Cellar Door Wines and Liberty Wines. For stockists around the world, and their contact details, see the list of agents on the Mount Horrocks website.