This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show White Single-Varietal under £15 went to McGuigan, The Shortlist Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia 2007 (11%)
- Gérard Bertrand, Réserve Spéciale Viognier, IGP d’Oc, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2013
- Gerovassiliou, Single Vineyard Malagousia, Epanomi, Macedonia, Greece 2013
- Kutjevo, Graševina Turkovi´c, Slavonia, Croatia 2012
- Les Vignerons du Pallet, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Pallet, Loire, France 2009
Showcasing the diverse nature of the DWWA, it was a lovely array of varieties left to fight it out over this Trophy. Ultimately it was one of the wine world’s most renowned marriages – Hunter Valley and Semillon – that seized the prize, the wine acclaimed for its tremendous precision, weight and pure varietal expression.
When it comes to Australia and wine, names do not come much bigger than McGuigan but, as with many of Australia’s historic wineries, its beginnings are distinctly unpretentious. Its roots stretch back to the 19th century when Owen McGuigan, a dairy farmer, began working vineyards to bolster his finances.
Peter Hall is senior winemaker at McGuigan and can point to more than 35 years’ worth of experience in winemaking, including three vintages in California, two in New Zealand and a staggering 34 in Hunter Valley; his tenure at McGuigan began in 1996.
‘When I joined the company,’ he recalls, ‘the passion for winemaking was clearly evident. As a company, our roots are well and truly in the Hunter Valley and we’re committed to producing iconic wine styles that are inherent to this region. Young Semillon is fantastic, fresh and light, but it’s aged Semillon that is without a doubt unique to the Hunter, and we’re able to release mature Semillon into the market as a result of our maturation programme.’
In producing this Trophy-winner, Hall admits that he is heavily reliant on the Hunter’s climate and terroir to deliver a wine that will display the classic hallmarks of the region’s Semillon. ‘For us, this wine is all about showing the benefits of Semillon maturation,’ he says. ‘It develops rich honey and toast characters with extended cellaring, and the 2007 vintage is a classic example of how this style evolves over time.’
Written by Decanter