Brokenwood Oakey Creek Semillon
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Region Hunter Valley
Vineyard/Proprietary Oakey Creek
Type SemillonRead About the Wine
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I just can’t say enough about this winery and its magical wines. But I’ll try and shorten up this epistle by offering an example by comparison to another winery that many Americans (and certainly all our terroir-ists [you]) know and love – Ridge Vineyards. Here are the main comparison points:
First, Ridge was founded by a group of wine enthusiasts as a labor of love hobby winery. They found a very special site after doing significant research and tastings but had never made wine before in their lives.
Brokenwood was also founded by a group of wine enthusiasts, among them the famous Australian wine commentator James Halliday, in a special valley where the cool winds of the Pacific create a truly cold-climate growing area just north of Sydney, Australia. That’s Hunter Valley.
Second, soon after founding, the partners at Ridge found a winemaker, Paul Draper. At the time Paul knew nothing of winemaking but had a passion for wine and site-specific wines. He would go to (and still does) make at least three of America’s greatest wines – Ridge Montebello, Ridge Geyserville, and Ridge Lytton Springs. While he might not have known much when he started, his 50+ vintages at Ridge have proven him to be one of the most talented winemakers in the United States, if not the entire world.
Brokenwood’s story is much the same. Very early on, the founding partners hired on Iain Riggs. Much like Paul, while not a master craftsman when he arrived, Ian would spend the next 35 vintages building up a reputation for crafting some of Australia’s most dramatic, single-site wines, including reviving the jewel grape of the Hunter Valley – Semillon. His contributions to Australia’s wine industry as a whole were so significant that the harvest intern position under his guidance at Brokenwood was considered one of the greatest positions to hold.
Indeed, these two wineries are so exemplary that it’s a bit unfair to compare them. I do so only because Ridge is indubitably famous to this audience, while Brookenwood (at least based on our sales so far) remains undiscovered. But it shouldn’t be!
Brookenwood is one of Australia’s finest wineries hand-crafting some of the world’s most complex, ageworthy whites. Today, we have on the Oakey Creek 2016 Semillon:
This wine is the thrilling combination of wonderful full flavors but extremely light, dancing on the palate – it’s only 11% alcohol and totally dry. Lifted aromas of Meyer lemon, kaffir lime leaf, crisp green apple and honeycomb. On the palate all of these aromas coalesce into a supple, smooth and deep but very crisp body. Being six years old, the wine has developed the round beeswax character that Aussies find so charming – a textural richness woven right in. The finish is long, clear and brilliant. It’s beautiful to drink now, but there is no need to rush. I am still working on my 2005 Brokenwood Semillons, and they are stunning to this day.
We got a tiny allocation of this wine, but my hope is to sell all that I can in order to increase next year’s allocation. It’s amazing wine, so don’t miss it.