Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – October 2014

Reviewed: October 23

There has been an evolution in the style of (Western) Australian blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon over the last few years. The overt fruit characters have become a little muted, whilst a proportion of barrel fermentation and lees stirring has become an increasingly common occurrence.

This is not to say that oak characters have become an obvious part of the style. In most cases, it is there only to add depth and complexity. In reality, the proportion of wine in a blend that sees oak is quite small. The inclusion of 5% to 20% of barrel fermented wine to the final blend is often enough to have a subtle, yet meaningful impact.

In this tasting, this was exemplified by the wine from Flametree.


Flametree – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – 2013 (17.7). A very impressive wine that balances high-quality ripe fruit with subtle, though complex winemaking. The palate is long and savoury, with the oak and lees characters adding texture rather than overt flavour. (RRP $25).

Sandalford – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – Estate Reserve – 2013 (17.5). I like this wine for the balance of fruit and structure. Grassy and herbaceous, with a degree of depth, this has excellent length and mouth-feel. Quite delicious really. Slightly richer, with a touch of barrel ferment adding complexity.

MadfishPremium White – 2013 (17). Richer, more viscous, with depth to the fruit. Not overt, but a complex, though neutral wine that is better suited to food. Perhaps a small component of barrel ferment/lees fruit to add texture. Sensible residual sugar adds flesh to the mid palate. (RRP $18).

Xanadu – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – Next Of Kin – 2014 (17). Grassy and herbaceous fruit on the nose. Refreshing and light palate, but with decent length and persistence. A lovely summer afternoon wine.

De Bortoli – Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc – Sacred Hill – 2013 (16). Light and fresh, with a degree of viscosity and reasonable length on the finish. Whilst not a great wine, the $7 price tag makes this an option for the budget conscious. (RRP $7).