The Martin Peters of wines – ten years before its time


The McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth 2005 Semillon from the Lower Hunter Valley in New South Wales is a noted wine; mentioned in many books as being a fine example of a Semillon. At only 12% ABV it is not a wine of great power but we were both surprised by how little it had. The colour was a fluorescent green and it appeared to have little weight. Its nose was strongly lime with a touch of smokiness and white stone fruits in the background. This suggested a big, flavourful wine and we looked forward to the taste. And yet … it seemed lacking. There was minerality and quite a pronounced acidity, almost mouth-puckering but the mid-palate was short on flavour. Wanting to understand this wine, I then started researching the vintage  – 05,  excellent to superb – and its drinking windows. It appears that it needs 10 – 20 years before the ‘battery acid’ flavours (Michael Hill Smith) develop a toastiness and depth, rather like a Riesling’s drinking cycle. We seem to have taken this too early but, fortunately, I still have two more which will now be consigned to some corner for another five years. Watch this space!

[Richard: I tasted this blind and had no idea – my feeble excuse is that it is a grape I rarely taste on it’s own. Nice wine but, as Geoff says, lacking some power. but not expensive (£9 Tesco, more in MWW) so decent value for money.]


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