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Hunter Valley Gem: ILR Reserve Semillon, Brokenwood 2013

As break from the various Bordeaux releases, here’s something delicious to drink now, Brokenwood’s iconic ILR Reserve Semillon from the stellar 2013 vintage. ILR is named after Chief Winemaker and Managing Director Iain Leslie Riggs who joined in 1982. Established as a small ‘hobby’ winery, Ian was the driving force in extending the range to include white wines and is credited with giving Brokenwood the international reputation it enjoys today.

This 2013 ILR Reserve Semillon is released at 6 years of age – the colour is just starting to show some development with yellow tints complementing the green edges. Lifted almond, bread and floral scents notes lean towards beeswax and toast. On the palate, lively lime juice and lime cordial flavours are backed by superb, zesty acidity. The full magic of Hunter Valley Semillon is on display here with texture, fruit weight and great length from a wine that sees no oak.

Vinification: Harvesting all by hand. The fruit was crushed, chilled and pressed immediately. Neutral yeasts were used for the fermentation, bottled in July. No oak and no malolactic ferment, only stainless steel.

Winemaker Comments: The 41st vintage got underway a lot earlier than anticipated. The continued dry weather across the eastern half of Australia intensified in early January with a run of above average temperatures including a new January record high of 45.7C in Sydney. Tasmania suffered through bush fires, Victoria and NSW were also on high alert. The heavy rain that disrupted the 2012 red harvest gave way to a typical dry winter and even drier spring when only 92mm of rain fell in the 4 months July to October. La Nina seemed to be on the way out. November, December and the early part of January were also dry, leading to lighter canopies to go with the lighter crop load. Semillon started rolling into the winery on January 16th and well over half was picked before a tropical deluge of 150mm after Australia Day – La Nina wasn’t quite gone!

Food Pairing: Asian food, any seafood especially freshly shucked oysters.

As you can see from the glowing reviews and scores below, this Hunter Valley Semillon is held in high regard by many of the world’s top wine critics. ILR Reserve Semillon is released only in the best years and this 2013 is a beauty!