Semillon Blanc – heard of it? Well probably not but I hope you do quite soon.
To be quite direct this white wine from semillon has been with us for centuries – first in Bordeaux and more recently the hero white of the Hunter Valley.
What has changed though is a cleverer approach to marketing Australian semillon (always difficult) by the large listed wine company Australian Vintage (McGuigan and Tempus Two brands).
The brand new 2010 wine was recently unveiled at a London trade fair by its creator acting company CEO and chief winemaker Neil McGuigan.
It’s destined for the UK market at a price of around USD 10. McGuigan calls this wine his “Sauvignon Blanc killer” and I hope it does.
You see the prolific sauvignon blanc wines of New Zealand and elsewhere in cooler parts of Europe tend to be abbreviated and referred to as “sauvignon”.
It is axiomatic in a mature wine market that “blanc” is white anyway, so why mouth it if everyone understands.
This habit appears to be cleverly exploited by these Aussie marketers in amending the name of an old variety to gain better recognition. Best wishes from this writer.
What has McGuigan made? A modern semillon, pumped with all the aromatic nose characters to smell lovely.
Then he will have gone for texture and mouthfeel by using modern techniques; particularly ageing on the dead yeast after the ferments stop.
Lees ageing of course was first practised in making Champagne from the days of monk Dom Perignon.
The grapes come from the Murray Valley and the Riverina-engine room stuff where McGuigan located some relatively old vines (25 yo) at cost-effective prices.
The wine style is 11 per cent alcohol and easy drinking, unwooded. Though it has started in the UK market expect around by Christmas I say.
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