September Wines of the Month: Mount Horrocks Watervale Semillon 2011 & John’s Blend No 35 Cabernet Sauvignon Individual Selection 2008
August is a quiet month in the wine trade tasting calendar. Praise be it’s less about tasting, more about drinking. September’s Wines of the Month are two particularly memorable South Australian wines I enjoyed last month. Sheer delight not to spit them (and I don’t think it would have gone down very well at The Zetter Townhouse!)
Mount Horrocks Watervale Semillon 2011 (Clare Valley)
Semillon flies below the radar for most so I pounced on the opportunity to show it off when I caught up with a couple of my Masters of Law alumni at The Zetter Townhouse (a most convivial spot to do “small eats” in Clerkenwell). Consensus among lawyers, let alone litigators is a rare thing, but we had it! With its rush of citrus (terrific lemony drive) and subtly smoky oak, it was pitch perfect with smoked trout fishcakes, a repeat order confirming its success. Where South Australia tends to oak its Semillons, I reckon Mount Horrocks produces its most finely honed example, especially in this cool year. It carried not an ounce of fat and has a sublime quality to its freshly squeezed lemon core – perhaps it’s that it’s less fruity and more fruit scented. At any rate, very fine, with its customary deftly judged veneer of pungent, flinty, smoky oak. Terrific. £15.89 at Invinity Wines £16.50 at Wine Direct £17.95 at Slurp £19.50 at Swig. (By the way, the team behind the Zetter and chef Bruno Loubet are behind The Grain Store which I also checked out last month. The menu “gives vegetables equal billing, if not the starring role,” so it’s a great find for vegetarians; a good wine list too)
John’s Blend No 35 Cabernet Sauvignon Individual Selection 2008 (Langhorne Creek)
I’ll be presenting a trade masterclass on Langhorne Creek in October which prompted me to dig out this back up tasting sample (it’s bottled under cork), which I first tasted last year. Once again, it made a terrific impression. First made in 1974 it’s very old school in its richness of fruit (lashings of blueberry and cassis) and oak, with savoury kalamata olives, tar, warm earth and mint. Damn delicious, with great depth of flavour! Though it’s more forward, this flavoursome, characterful Cabernet which has everything to do with Australia and little to do with Bordeaux will appeal to lovers of Wolf Blass Black Label (of which you can read Friday’s review here), which is partly sourced from Langhorne Creek and has similarly been made since the mid-70s. 14.5% Not available in the UK.