Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2010 Margaret River Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc Tasting

Is Margaret River the king of Semillon Sauvignon blends? Nah, I’m not buying into those arguments, but the 2010 vintage was a very smart one indeed for the region. These wines represent a good cross-section of producers and styles – some oaked, some not, some pretending not to be oaked. They were tasted blind at an informal gathering a little while back and I finally got around to writing them up.

All wines are from Margaret River. All wines are 2010 vintage. The following are not all the wines tasted, just a snapshot, and not all the 'medal' winners are listed. There’ll be a brief note on each wine lifted straight from my tasting sheet, plus a ‘medal’ rating for those that made the cut. I hate scoring wines, but in the interests of comparison – or rather, ranking – I’ve fallen back on the tried and (un)true format of the 20-point score, and therefore wine-show medal ratings.

Edwards Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $23
Subdued on nose; herbal, green bean. Under-ripe citrus, tangy grapefruit a with touch of pineapple. Seems tired?

Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $22
So2 attacks. Green apples, tangy lime. Crisp, acid bites. Flavours not developed. Has weight but finishes short

Preveli Wines Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $19
Touch reductive on opening, some funk. At the greener end of the spectrum – green pea and herb, some zesty lime, peach fuzz and passionfruit/grapefruit. A minerally herbal style.

Flametree Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Touch of oak? Simple citrus/tropical aromas. Palate lean, underdeveloped. Some grapefruit. Fruit lacking intensity, but wine is sound.

Fraser Gallop Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Citrus and herb on nose, palate goes tropical. Good complexity, weight and a bit of ‘X’ factor. Bit of oak maybe? Very good wine.

Hamelin Bay ‘Five Ashes’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - $22
Grassy, wet straw. Oak evident, yet unassuming. Harmony wine; flavours integrated and complex from tropical to citrus. Very nice.

Redgate Wines Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $21
Salty dog! (What’s the pH?). Matchstick flint, minerally – like mineral water. Lifted aromas of citrus and passionfruit, but slightly subdued. Lacks weight.

Cullen Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $35
Lean. Grapefruit tang, lemon/lime. Some drive on palate. Citrussy, plus green tropicals. Some oak too. Uninspiring.

Cape Mentelle Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $28
Stalky and lean with some meaty & earthy characters. Grapefruity. Good weight – flavours at herbal and citrus end – nice length. Serious style. A keeper.

Watershed Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $17
Pungent, ripe tropical fruit salad. Fresh and zesty palate. Crisp, weighty, long, good. Simple, yet fulsome!

Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $24
Grassy, lime zest, passionfruit & pineapple – citrus lemon/lime on palate, nice acid, weight and length. Some dustiness – touch of oak?

Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $25
So2 on opening. Minerally, salty seaweed. Cut grass. Fruit in tropical spectrum yet lean oak cools things down. Palate opens in glass. Complex. Good fruit/oak balance. Well made.

Xanadu Sauvignon Blanc Semillon - $26
Exotic! Tropical, wild yeasty aromas. Floral. A steely line and a sweet muskiness. Behind: fuzzy citrus, passionfruit and Asian fruits. Wild!
Gold (An atypical style, but I like a bit of boundary-pushing. An out-there wine)


  1. Nice line up. I would have expected the Lenton Brae to finish up higher though

  2. Yep, agree. Usually a strong performer across vintages. We went back to the wines after unmasking and the LB was still disappointing. As was the Cullen, but I usually find this wine grossly over-rated for the price. This bottle just didn't look good.