Aged Semillon with Phil Ryan, Mount Pleasant
This show was published 22 December 2006
This week we talk about the white wine, Semillon and in particular, aged Semillon, with Phil Ryan General Manager and Chief Winemaker at Mount Pleasant winery located in the Hunter Valley. Mount Pleasant is a subsidiary of McWilliams wines.
The Hunter Valley is located 2 hours drive north of Sydney, Australia. It is formed from a natural valley 125 miles (200km) wide. The key varieties for the region are Semillon and Shiraz but it is Semillon and aged Semillon that the Hunter is most famous for. The climate is dry in winter and spring but can be wet during picking.
Semillon has a great ability to age, from a young fresh citrus to a honyed toasty aroma. We tasted eight wines in total, in the shortened interview we tasted their Elizabeth range and in the longer interview we have included the four single varietal Lovedale wines.
Mount Pleasant Classic Semillon 2005
This is the current vintage and it is this wine that is kept back to age and create their Elizabeth range. It has a limey citrus flavour similar in style to a fruity Sauvignon Blanc but fatter in the mouth.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2001
After aging in bottle for 5 years Mount Pleasant release their classic Semillon under the Elizabeth brand. Colour is deep yellow with a slight limey tinge. The aromas develop into nuts, toast and lanolin but still with fresh acidity.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Museum Semillon 1997
The wine is held back and released under the Elizabeth Museum brand. The acidity has softened which allows a hint of sweetness from the alcohol to come through giving a fatter mouth feel.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Museum Semillon 1994
Concentrated toast character and some honey. The colour has changed to a deep luminous yellow.
Wine Shows are very important to Mount Pleasant and Australia to give a quality benchmark and help to raise the standard across the board. They give the consumer confidence that the wines has reached a certain standard. The shows help generate awareness of the brand from press coverage and give the consumer confidence in quality.
Sauvignon Semillon blends
Although Hunter Valley does not create Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends Phil described Semillon as the foundation of these wines with Sauvignon Blanc providing the punch through the centre. This is a bit like Merlot providing the foundation and Cabernet Sauvignon providing the punch in Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon blends.
Mount Pleasant has been trialing screwcaps since 1968. Their results make them very enthusastic about ageing their wines under screwcap. The wines mature more evenly and in a more controlled way.
Malolactic Fermentation is the conversion of sharp citrus-like Malic acid into the softer milk-like Lactic acid.
The UK Wine Show is sponsored by ThirtyFifty. Our team of wine tasters are busy entertaining and educating UK consumers to help them get the most out of wine.
The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.