One of the Barossa's better semillons, the Olive Hill, underwent a few changes with its 2010 release. The vintage offered such ideal conditions in the eyes of Rick Burge, that he was able to pick early (11th Feb) and bottle early (23rd Mar), completely bypassing the use of oak or commercial, cultured yeasts, instead opting for a fruit driven semillon fermented using only naturally occurring yeasts. Sounds like a winner, tastes like a winner too.
Although showing a somewhat developed, deeper yellow colour, the Olive Hill opens to a beautifully varietal, truly zippy fragrance that defines the unwooded Barossa style well. With candied lemons sitting on top, there's a genuine citric fruit bowl in there, as well as bright floral tones of fresh herbs and apple blossoms and that slightly toasty, woody, matchstick-like scent that occasionally adorns unoaked semillon. It's all expressed with great vibrancy and balance. The palate's moved through the middle lane by a lovely, buttery texture, but on the outside, there's a fast moving pulse of zippy, crystalline semillon acids, which control, harness and lengthen its toasty lemon zest and melon flavours with ease, forging out a refreshing climax that just urges you to go back for more, even in the dead of winter.
ü+ Although perhaps a touch forward or developed in character (by Hunter standards that is - its structure still remains beautifully intact and complete though), the 2010 Olive Hill is a near perfect example of what earlier drinking, unoaked Barossa semillon is capable of. Yummo. Drink to 2017.