I recently spent an afternoon with the iconoclastic Peter Hall and his McGuigan winemaking team, pestering them with all sorts of questions and getting much back in return, including this bottle of wine to taste. This particular Bin 9000 was awarded Best Semillon in the Universe (I may have the name of the award slightly wrong) so I was naturally curious to taste it.
One comes at these things with a set of expectations, in this case that it would be a high octane style in the manner of Lovedale or Vat 1. Refreshingly, it’s an approachable wine in the context of Hunter Semillon, with a softness of mouthfeel and prettiness of flavour that strikes me as highly commercial. The nose shows gentle evolution, with typical aromas of honey and wax in addition to primary fruit, which is gently lemon-like in character. The whole is soft, caressing rather than slapping.
The palate echos these impressions with an ultra-clean, gently evolved flavour profile and the sort of acid structure that might win more fans to the style than not. Does this represent a hard line in Hunter Semillon? Hardly; it does, though, show typicité of flavour and a cuddly attitude without resorting to an obviousness of approach (residual sugar, and so on). Mouthfeel is showing signs of thickening and developing a waxiness that lovers of this style will relish.
Perhaps not one for purists, but the bottle, shared with friends, disappeared alarmingly fast, which perhaps speaks for itself.
Note: some quick research reveals the prize awarded to this wine at the International Wine & Spirit Competition was in fact that of International Semillon Trophy.