The Australian

A defence of Semillon where? In the Clare

By Nick Ryan 

“…Toole is comfortably among the very finest producers of the variety anywhere in the world…”

…In Clare, semillon grows in the large shadow cast by riesling. I recently gathered a small group winemakers still producing semillon in the Clare Valley to taste a bunch of wines going back two decades. The tasting showed the best wines are those that present as a more refined extension of the barrel-fermented Barossa style, as opposed to the unoaked Hunter style. They’re finely textured wines with discrete fleshiness, fine acid lines and a gently drying clip to the finish.

And they’re delicious. It’s time they received the attention they deserve…


2019 Mount Horrocks Semillon, Clare Valley,

Clare Valley semillon could ask for no better ally and advocate than Stephanie Toole. Semillon sits front and centre in the exceptionally strong line-up of wines Toole makes under the Mount Horrocks label; its production, while small (only 150 cases), is equal to that of her much vaunted riesling.

Toole says careful site selection and a controlling hand on vineyard yield are key to getting the best results, as well as close attention through fermentation and maturation in topflight French oak. The result is a wine of wax and pith, and hints of flint, showing some fine fleshiness upfront before compressing beautifully through a tight, talcy finish. This current release suggests, and tasting an incredibly consistent and engaging line-up of her semillons back to 2000 proves, Toole is comfortably among the very finest producers of the variety anywhere in the world.

14th September 2020

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