Monday, 2 February 2009

WHY THIS SEMILLON’S A PATCH ABOVE OTHERS

Wc2Feb09


david ellis

MOUNT Pleasant Lovedale Hunter Valley Semillon is an extraordinary wine, not just for the quality of the wine itself, but for the fascinating tale behind it.

Situated in NSW's Lower Hunter Valley, the Lovedale Vineyard sits across a patch of sandy loam soils that when the legendary – and visionary, as it turned out – Maurice O'Shea planted it to Semillon grapes in 1946, local wags chortled that the block was so poor, even the rabbits had to bring along a tucker bag just to survive.

And that the rabbits had to watch their backs too: the only thing the block had ever proven useful for, was as an emergency airfield during the Second War.

But O'Shea knew what he was doing and proved the wags the bunnies: since its first vintage in 1950 Lovedale has produced wines that are benchmark Australian Semillons keenly sought-after by aficionados here and world-wide.

Made only in exceptional vintages, Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon is a style unique to Australia and the Hunter Valley, and according to current maker, Phil Ryan – only the third to be charged with producing this iconic drop – one of just a few Aussie whites with 30 years cellaring potential.

The just-released 2003 echoes the marque's classic history: it is refined and delicate, subtle yet mouth-filling with lemon and lime flavours and a hint of grapefruit about it, and has a rich toasty mid-palate. At $65 enjoy it on its own now with good friends, or put a bottle away for a VIP visit down the track.

ONE FOR LUNCH: DOWIE Doole's 2007 Shiraz is an explode-in-your-mouth wine that's big on full-bodied sweet cherry, plum, spice and liquorice flavours, and has a more-ish long savoury palate. This 10th vintage Shiraz from Dowie Doole is excellent value at $25, so grab a bottle and indulge winemaker Brian Light's magic with savoury Italian beef dishes heavy with tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms. And consider a few for the cellar: this one's got 6 or 8 years in it.

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK MATCH? Check out http://www.vintnews.com)

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PHOTO CAPTIONS:

[] CREATER had last laugh on irreverant wags with this iconic Aussie white

[] JUST right with Italian beef dishes heavy with tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms


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