Bottle variation has been an unfortunate hallmark of the lesser Mount Pleasant wines, something the use of Stelvin closures may ameliorate. This 1999 Semillon, though, is bottled under old-fashioned cork, and my experience of it has been up and down. The last bottle, opened perhaps two weeks ago, was dumb and lifeless. I thought I’d try my luck again tonight, and I think this bottle is more representative of the wine’s quality and character.
Lovely golden colour. The nose was initially a bit muted, with a little prickly sulfur. Closer to room temperature, and the wine is showing a range of elegant aromas, such as beeswax and a lightly herbal astringency, perhaps some buttery softness too. Still quite fresh at nearly ten years of age. The palate shows remnants of the spritzy acidity often observed in young Semillon, but this soon gives way to a waxy, slippery mouthfeel that lovers of aged Hunter Semillon will no doubt adore. This wine’s line is akin to a wedge that starts tight and widens progressively through to an expansive finish. On the way, classic notes of sweet honey and lanolin caress the tongue, along with some citrus-like reminders of youth. There are also hints of caramel and butter, and in some respects one could be forgiven for thinking this is a Chardonnay. Palate weight also accumulates towards the after palate, to the point where it’s really quite mouthfilling and almost chewy. Good length.
This wine is just starting to show at its best and, although not the most complex or most intense, shows brilliant typicité. Bloody good value.
Date tasted: July 2008