The Clare Valley has rightly built its stellar reputation on its beatific rolling landscapes, pristine Rieslings and robust red wines. While it is the Hunter Valley that lays claim to being Australia’s premier region for Semillon, here is a wine that may not boast the cellaring potential of its eastern brethren, but certainly trumps them for pure drinkability.
Should your travels take you to the Clare Valley, and it should be on every wine lover’s bucket list, a visit to Pauletts’ cellar door is a must with its sweeping views to the west and a great range of some of the region’s best wines. This is the inaugural release from the Pauletts Watervale vineyard and, on the strength of this wine; it is bound to raise a few eyebrows for both its quality and value for money. It is a wine that shatters the myth of Semillon being a bit of an ugly duckling in its youth. Pale straw in the glass with inviting aromas of lemon, grapefruit and citrus fruits, hints of lemon curd, crushed stone, citrus blossom, clotted cream, apple pie and light wafts of jasmine, dried mandarin rind, hay and proving dough. In the mouth it is lip–smackingly pure with pitch– perfect balance between ripe fruit and acid drive. Flavours of ripe lemon and grapefruit glide across the palate with a silky, suave gait underscored by hints of soft spice, creme fraiche, key lime pie, citrus blossom, straw, crushed quartz, almond butter and green apples. Sure, the Hunter Valley may be the benchmark for the variety in Australia, but when a wine is as delicious and regionally distinct as this, who cares. Drink up… preferably with a platter of South Australian seafood. 2015 Watervale Helmsford Semillon RRP $23 paulettwines.com.au Photo: James Knowler