For a recent wine tasting I was tasked with finding a wine made from the Semillon grape to share with a dozen or more other people, with the same task. I did an Google search to see what was new that I could come up with.
I was interested in trying Stickybeak as another Facebook pal had mentioned it, so I contacted the winemaker, Wayne Donaldson. Wayne and I exchanged a few e-mails and then he forwarded my query to Old Bridge Cellars.
Not a winery, “Old Bridge Cellars is an importer of fine Australian wines, and also produce their own Californian wines under the Stickybeak label, with Australian Wayne Donaldson acting as winemaker.” I e-mailed the company, told them of my quest, and they sent me the two bottles listed below to share. Below are my reviews, I used quotation marks for comments made by others in the group.
Hunter Valley, Australia
Appearance – Clear, diamonds, pale amber edge.
Nose – Cologne/perfume, fresh mown grass, slight kiwi, “crisp, clean.”
Palate – One guest called it an “explosion of fruit”, high acidity, “lemon/lime,” “springtime”, ending with a “lemon-flavored Jolly Rancher or Sweet Tart candy.”
Finish – Long length, one guest suggested a “pairing with Sea Bass”.
2009 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
72% Semillon, 28% Sauvignon Blanc
13.5 % alcohol
Appearance – Clear, palest of gold on the edge.
Nose – Grassy, honey, pineapple, “grapefruit”, “pomelo”.
Palate – green grass, “green apple”, “light fig”
Finish – One couple agreed: “Our favorite of the night!”, “Doesn’t need to pair with food!”, “I’d like with Oysters.”
My conclusion: We had nearly a dozen Semillon to try that night. We have found that only sampling one varietal, with a group, allows us to really learn about the wine’s nuances. My thought at the start, and a collective one my the end, was that the Semillons we tried from old and new world wine areas had one thing in common: aromatic noses that didn’t always carry through to the taste. It didn’t make too much a difference on what we liked, it was just an observation to call us the next time we try Semillon.
From the Old Bridge Cellars Website
In this age of ‘big company’ buyouts, increasing consolidation and mass production, Old Bridge Cellars brings you a group of Australian winemakers who retain their belief in artisan winemaking. Respecting the land and with minimal intervention in the winery, their wines remain true to the soils from which they come.
They share a fierce commitment to quality and a determination to preserve their independence and regional heritage. Many are the second, third and even fourth generations of their family to work the vineyards. It’s their intuitive understanding, quiet confidence and desire to produce only the best they can from each vintage that has made them Australian benchmarks, universally acclaimed by wine critics across the globe.
Founded in 1990, Old Bridge Cellars embraces the intense passion of these winemakers and remains one of only a few U.S. importers dedicated solely to the best of regional Australia. Our knowledge of Australian wine runs deep and has been recognized in such publications as The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine and Spirits, International Wine Cellar and Wine Enthusiast. Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate has gone so far as to say, “thanks in large part to the work of such talented importers as Old Bridge Cellars et al… American consumers have never had such an enormous selection of Australia’s finest as well as rarest wines.”
We see as our mission the promotion of Australia’s ‘real wines’, championing those winemakers who give everything in their pursuit of truly distinctive, regionally defined styles that sit comfortably with the world’s best. And who believe they can do it even better again next vintage!
It’s an enlightening, exhilarating journey. Welcome aboard.
http://www.oldbridgecellars.com “The Face of Australian Wine”