Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

New Release Tasting

1 April 2013

As many of you would remember, there was a time when this style of wine needed to be consumed as young as possible. This was a result of both the winemaking techniques employed at the time, as well as the use of cork as the closure.

The current crop of wines are made in a fresher style and closed under screw cap. The result is that the wines are positively youthful on release and have the ability to improve for a year or two in the bottle (or more in many cases). This was beautifully demonstrated by the wines from Celestial Bay. Whilst obviously made in a similar style, the extra age of the 2010 conferred a degree of richness and balance that was very attractive.

The wine of the tasting was the Squitchy Lane. An excellent example of the fumé (oaked) style that will provide plenty of drinking pleasure over the next 2 – 4 years.


Squitchy Lane – Sauvignon Blanc – Fumé Blanc – 2012 (17.7). A complex wine that has seen more attention from the winemakers than the others on show here. The barrel fermentation has imparted a creaminess to the palate, while the lees contact has added texture and depth. Lemony fruit and acid carry on to a finish that is long and drying. A very smart wine with excellent fruit quality and and acidity. It just needs a year for the oak to fully integrate.

Celestial Bay – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – 2010 (17.5). Developing just a touch and starting to show some complex/funky characters that are quite attractive. The lemony fruit on the palate is complemented, rather than dominated by the acidity. There is depth to the fruit flavour and this has developed in to a softer style that lingers.

Celestial Bay – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – 2011 (17.3). This is a very lemony wine, though there is a touch of complexity showing that suggests a touch of barrel ferment or extended lees contact. Long and savoury, this is a wine that I would like to drink. A chardonnay alternative?

Woody Nook – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – Kelly’s Farewell – 2012 (17.2). Another wine that had unanimous support. Long, savoury, fresh and balance, the pristine fruit and taut limey acid drive the palate. A youthful wine with subtle power.

Celestial Bay – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – 2012 (17). A fresh and well made wine that is long and supple. There are no rough edges here and the citrus like acidity carries a finish that is very drying. Middle of the road in style and all the better for it.

Devils Lair – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – Fifth Leg – 2012 (16.9). Closed on the nose when first opened, but develops pear, guava and a hint of herbs. This is quite a rich wine on the palate with grassy fruit over minerals, with a textural finish that lingers. Not your usual SSB, but a smart wine all the same with an attractive creaminess to the palate. Will be better with a year in bottle.

Xanadu – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – Next of Kin – 2012 (16.9). Fresh and vibrant, the lemony acidity is the key feature of this wine right now. There is a touch of herbs, as well as crunchy pear and gentle floral notes. Tight and long, though the fruit is subdued. Great now cold on a warm afternoon, though I think this will be much better in a year or two.

Scuttlebutt – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – 2012 (16.8). Fresh and bright floral notes over nutty fruit characters. This is quite complex and suggestive of a touch of lees contact. In fact, there is a touch of phenolic richness to the wine. Long and savoury, this is a textural wine to savour rather than quaff.

Wrenoir – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – Pip’s Vineyard – 2011 (16.7). Solid support from the entire panel for this wine. The nose leads off with nutty fruit that is gentle and mild. This is quite a neutral style, with perhaps a little lees work to add texture. The density of flavours and the textural component makes this one to pair with food.

Wrenoir – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – Pip’s Vineyard – 2012 (16.7). A good effort here, with herbaceous, grassy fruit the dominant feature, but not showing any signs of greenness. There is good length and a salty/savoury tang on a finish that, while not bone dry, is fresh and alive. The acid is a touch dominant now, so a year or two in bottle will do this wine well.