These were on special at cellar door a year or so back — apparently there’s an issue with sticking corks. No such problem last night; in fact, the cork came out a little too easily and was quite wet. There were signs of leakage under the capsule, so I was prepared for the worst.
I remember having a bottle of the 1995 Lovedale some years ago and finding it at an excellent stage of its development. Gloriously waxy mouthfeel, flavours of lanolin and honey, just gorgeous. What’s amazing about the 1996 is how relatively undeveloped it is, at over ten years of age.
On the nose, toasty notes betray some bottle age, along with hints of sweet honey, and that peculiar cork (as opposed to “corked”) flavour that a lot of aged Semillons have. Relatively reserved, but complex and beautiful. The wine’s entry sizzles with spritzy CO2 and leads to a focused mid-palate of delicious, complex flavours that echo the nose. More toast, caramel and delicate honeyed notes sit alongside residual signs of the wine’s youthful citrus flavours. It has the beginnings of that distinctive waxy mouthfeel that so pleased my palate with the 1995 wine. The wine’s sweet, aged flavours linger with satisfying persistence.
Acid, though, remains a defining feature of this wine’s structure and it is still a fairly dominant presence. I can only imagine what this wine was like as a youngster. I prefer to drink aged Semillons in the full flower of their maturity, and am eager to experience this wine again in a few years’ time, when the aged flavours will, I hope, display greater intensity and complexity.
McWilliams Mount Pleasant
Date tasted: November 2007