Once upon a time the Hunter Valley produced enjoyable wines that only became top shelf once you got past the forest floor dirtiness that tended to dominate the nose and taint the front palate. But the new generation of Hunter Valley winemaker has purged the barrels of any yeasty residue and developed a clean, unadultered ultra attractive style of wine that remains true to the regional characters but irons out any crinkles of the past.
And there’s probably no better example than the Andrew Thomas Braemore Semillon 2014. While the Hunter Valley is probably the country’s best region for production of Semillon, the Sem we see today is a different proposition to what we experienced a decade ago.
The 2014 Braemore hasn’t yet been released, but it is bound to be a world beater (just like the 2008 vintage). There’s a stack of green gooseberry flavours up front and a fair lashing of unripened citrus and a touch of flinty minerality across the back end. You just know that with its abundant acidity, it will stand the test of time yet is such a drinkable proposition now, especially with a summer salad and seafood main.
It’s little wonder that Andrew Thomas has won so many awards and that his 2008 release of the Braemore was awarded 97 points by Halliday.
I suspect it has at least three decades ahead of it in the bottle and while the price tag is representative of its quality ($30), it’s most certainly worth every cent.