Winemakers Peter and Michael Scholz produce their single vineyard semillon from vines planted in 1936 at Light Pass in the northern Barossa Valley. To encourage complexity of style, French oak fermentation is employed in the making process, while a period of bottle ageing (around 4 years at release) helps bring out semillon's much desired secondary characteristics.
Unsurprisingly, this 5 year old Barossa semillon is no shy schoolgirl on the nose, as its well developed and defined aromas of toast and wood are joined by what seems to be a nutty barrel ferment note. All-up its fragrance is quite dry and savoury, with only fleeting undertones of lemon citrus/lime marmalade evident. To begin, the palate is a bit sharp, flat and viscous, with the same woody/savoury features (development, not oak) as the nose making a statement, but its initial stagnancy is transformed; brought into life if you will, by a zippy, limey, commanding acidity which asserts itself in electrifying fashion, leaving a lingering note of tobacco behind. However, its authoritative balance of components does seem a tad disjointed. Whether time will improve this situation is something I can't foresee.
ü Due to my recently increased expectations of Barossa semillon (thanks to Peter Lehmann, St Hallett, Rockford, Burge Family et al.), I've possibly been a bit picky with this note, because for a $15 snap of bottle-aged Barossa semillon the 2005 Willows Vineyard hits its mission statement perfectly. It's mature and complex in a truly varietal sense, yet still agreeably fresh and zesty. Drink to 2012.