2021 'Coeur d'Or' Botrytis Semillon
2017 GOLD MEDAL & SECOND PLACE – 6 NATIONS WINE CHALLENGE – 2013 VINTAGE
2018 AUSTRALIAN WINE OF THE YEAR – 2016 VINTAGE (WINESTATE MAGAZINE)
2018 AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND SWEET WINE OF THE YEAR – 2016 VINTAGE
2019 AUSTRALIAN WINE OF THE YEAR FINALIST – 2018 VINTAGE
The ability to produce quality sweet wines from our property was a complete surprise. In Australia, sweet wine production historically has been focused on warmer, inland areas but through a continued battle with botrytis in our vineyard closest to the Cudgegong River for many years in 2013, we decided to surrender and attempt to produce a sweet wine from the heavily botrytised fruit. The results achieved and more so in the ensuing vintages were a very pleasant surprise – a high acid, high residual sugar sweet wine more similar in style to a Sauternes than a classic Australian sweet ‘sticky’ wine from the Riverland.
The cause for the persistent, yet slow developing botrytis is a thick morning fog that rises from the river in March and April covering the near river vines before burning off in the late morning producing a relatively steady rate of noble rot similar to that achieved by those along the Gironde River at Sauternes. The grapes most impacted are the Semillon and Viognier grapes along the river.
The de Beaurepaire family’s estate is in the valley above Rylstone in the Central Ranges (GI) of NSW. The vineyard is located on an ancient coral reef located just off the shore of Gondwana (450MYO) which formed a band of limestone (Coomber Formation) running north/south that appears in valleys where the younger Rylstone volcanic rock has been eroded away. 55 hectares of vines were planted in 1998. The vineyard is 150km inland and 580-650m altitude with a North-East aspect. Soil structure is shallow (<1m) sandy-loam mixed with limestone; the temperature range is as cool as Tasmania and Central Otago through the growing season; and the climate is inland/continental (large day/night variation) creating a terroir similar to Burgundy (the ancestral home of the de Beaurepaire family for nearly 1,000 years). The temperature range is very similar to Burgundy – during the growing season (October-April), our low/high/average of 11.9 / 21.7 / 16.9 degrees Celsius vs Beaune (Burgundy) low/high/average of 11.9 / 23.3 /17.6 degrees Celsius.
Sourced from C Block (clone: I11V14) with an average vine age of 20 years at the time of harvest.
Harvest (yield): Individually selected parcels of Semillon were handpicked on 1 April 2021 with a baumé of 21. Yield was 1.7t/ha ~(505 litres or 5hectolitres per ha, or ~ 100 cases per hectare!).
Vintage Conditions: 2021 was the relatively wet vintage following the drought. Yields were reduced due to drought induced yield loss (bud necrosis). A cool start to the vintage with some late frosts in September at budburst further reduced yields. Heavy rains in February created significant botrytis risk that for much of the vineyard was actively controlled through canopy and undervine management together with biological sprays. This produced a relatively earlier than usual sweet wine crop with great acidity combined with good residual sugar at lower alcohol levels.
The grapes were cold soaked for 5 hours than pressed for one long 48-hour cycle. Fermented using Sauterne yeast with 3 weeks of maceration in steel tanks and barrels. Extraction was 300L/T (exceptionally low).
Final maturation for 7 months - 50% in Stainless Steel and 50% in 1 to 3-year-old hogsheads sourced from Bordeaux. All barrels were extra fine grained and medium toasted.
Delicately golden in colour with apricot, lime and cumquat characters. The palate is clean and rich, with a lovely fresh fruit drive, and layers of citrus and marmalade characters. The length is full with a nice acid lift, and a lovely mouth feel.
VIN ET GASTRONOMIE
It is a perfect combination with cheese plates and any salty dessert. Interestingly, in France they also use Sauternes as aperitifs, and this would perfectly match a beautiful foie gras or pâté dish.
Cellaring Potential: 15 to 20 years (2036 to 2041)
Serving Temperature: 10 to 12 degrees C / 50 to 54 degrees F
100% Semillon (Botrytis)
GI: Central Ranges (Rylstone), NSW