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Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon 2009

Semillon from Hunter Valley, Australia
  • JH97
  • WE92
  • W&S92
  • RP92
10.5% ABV
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10.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine has a beautiful straw-green color, and the high quality, ideally ripe grapes means nothing interferes with the wine’s gentle aging. Right now, and as the wine warms up, the citrus and some florals come in to focus. Bees wax and then 'toast' will come in a few years. A lively palate with plenty of citrus pith and seamless acidity. A perfect follow up to the near perfect 2007 ILR and a wine that has a long future in front of it.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JH 97
Australian Wine Companion
Little or no color change; the bouquet is distinctly aromatic, but still focused on primary fruit, not toast or honey; the palate is electrifying, drawing saliva from the mouth with its mix of unsweetened lemon juice/lemon zest and life-giving acidity, the DNA of great semillon, protected by the screwcap for decades.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
For a wine at seven years of age, this is remarkably undeveloped. Hints of celery leaf and apple accent tart citrus fruit, still mouthwateringly crisp. There's some richness on the palate, but hold through at least 2020 if you prefer mature notes of honey, marmalade and toast.
Cellar Selection
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
Reduced at first, this opens from flinty restriction toward lush, caramelized lemon flavors and hazelnut scents. It’s creamy and rich, developing deeper tones of orange and smoke with air. A textural pleasure, especially in the company of miso-glazed black cod.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Even at eight years of age, the 2009 Semillon ILR Reserve retains a hint of green to its pale straw hue. Youthful lime-inflected aromas have a grassy element as well, similar to fresh coconut husk. This is tight, acid-driven and concentrated on the palate, with great verve and length on the tart, nearly mouth-puckering finish. In short, this is all you expect in a great age-worthy Hunter Sémillon. Drink it now with oysters or clams on the half shell or put it away for at least a few more years. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.
Rating: 92+
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Brokenwood

Brokenwood

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Brokenwood, Hunter Valley, Australia
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Although based in Hunter Valley, Brokenwood’s practice of multi-district blending has been a major part of the company's philosophy since fruit from other regions was first sought in 1978. This unique approach and the resulting quality wines have cemented Brokenwood's place as one of Australia's most revered and consistent labels.

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia's most reputable wine labels. Brokenwood was established by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors who then paid a record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block, initially planned as a cricket round for the local community, was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and later Shiraz. The first vintage picked in 1973 yielded plenty of praise and a loyal following that eventually led to increased production and the creation of a new winery just two years later.

Growth was steady until 1978 when six new partners joined allowing for the purchase of the Graveyard Vineyard the vineyard that produces the winery's flagship wine. When in 1982 Brokenwood decided to diversify into white wines, they appointed Iain Riggs as winemaker and managing director. Just a year after diversifying into white wine production, Brokenwood's output was 70 percent white.

Hunter Valley

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Even as a hot subtropical growing region, the Hunter Valley region on the eastern side of Australia produces world-renowned and admired white wines from the Semillon grape.

Hunter Valley Semillons are known to achieve such fresh and bracing acidity levels that while they can be enjoyed in their youth, evolution typically brings their best qualities forward. Most will develop favorably for upwards of 10 to 20 years. These wines are fairly low in alcohol and when young, can be tart and citrus-driven whites with piquant herbal and mineral notes. The best examples, when aged, develop notes of caramel, honey, browned butter and roasted nuts. Some are fermented or matured in oak but it is often undetectable in this fresh style.

Soils in the Hunter Valley are volcanic basalt and white alluvial sands, favorable for aroma development in Semillon.

While winter and spring drought is common, summer and fall brings a good deal of precipitation. Warm summer nights allow the Semillon vines to ripen with haste but constant cloud cover in the fall reduces vine stress and the impact of their heat load. Ripening comes early end of January early February, equivalent to early August in the northern hemisphere.

Semillon

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An unassuming but noble variety capable of wines with considerable structure, depth and length, Sémillon is an uncompromising white variety with the power to create wines that improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to the aromatic and vivid Sauvignon Blanc; the two are most commonly found blended in their home region of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not the most fashionable grape in the rest of the wine world, it enjoys great success in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines with aging potential.

In the Glass

Sémillon is most notable for its smooth texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex characters of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla or toast.

Perfect Pairings

Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.

Sommelier Secret

Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”

YNG716227_2009 Item# 354880