Despite the almost total lack of reports on Hunter Semillon in the long and illustrious history of Elitistreview I absolutely adore them! Only 10-ish% alcohol, never see any new oak, and frequently, as in the case of this one, locked away from oxygen (under a screwcap, pleasingly, in this example) for years and years. This one has spent ten years locked up, I bet it will need another ten at an absolute minimum! To the note!
When first opening this bottle and having a sniff it is, as they so often are, a bit whiffy and reductive. It has been under a screwcap for a decade! What do you expect? So I shall pour myself a slug and give it a swirl.
Ah! Joy! The waxy, lanolin-scent that shows one has the real thing. No alcohol-burn here, just wool fat!
Fruity tones develop with more swirling and they are subtle whilst packing enormous complexity and deliciousness. Melon and lime swirl from the glass and up your hooter with a character that makes you understand why this style of wine used to be called Hunter Riesling.
There is a somewhat-vanilla-ish character hanging around the nose that might make one think it had some oak influence. NEVER!
It is not quite clean, but those fruit characteristics are beguilingly complex and dizzyingly deep, whilst the lanolin, wax, wet dog, and moist sheep aromas transcend the analysis one makes of boring, ordinary wines (like the Moss Wood Chardonnay I referred to in a recent-ish post as being perfect for people who wanted to be unchallenged in a premium-sense). Fuck all that shit, this is just brilliant! Some particularly marvellous cat’s furnishings.
The palate opens with a bit of fat then wallops you with a scrumptiously teasing acidity. It is pretty strong acidity, but the fizz on your tongue and around your palate is really thrilling and titillating. The acidity seems more associated with the lime flavours that dominate on the entry, as the richer, softer melon flavours come through the acidity does not seem such a scorcher.
Again there are waxy, fatty and vanilla flavours, all derived from the ageing of the varietal. I much prefer these low alcohol, zero oak, extra-aged wines to the lighter fluid that some people make from Semillon, but they are not without their merits.
The finish is a kaleidoscopic, dizzyingly complex array of waxy, sheep-y, lime-y, searingly acidic, (The Editor suggests the bus from North Greenwich to Horrible, Horrible Woolwich and there is something of the slightly rancid chip-fat soaked seats left by people heading to Oxleas House, I went to Oxleas House, but the chips were too horrible for me to eat or throw) flavours that excite your senses and leave you gasping, “Mmmm…. Moooooorrrre!”