The Semillon grape is a grape of summer. Often blended with Sauvignon Blanc especially in Bordeaux where it makes some of the greatest white wines in the world and some of the priciest ($200 to $300 a bottle) like the great Graves whites Laville-Haut-Brion Blanc or Pape Clement Blanc. Semillon can also stand on its own and on Thursday night I tasted a pure Semillon that was the finest pure expression of the grape I can remember tasting.
The wine is from Argentina of all places and was quite a revelation. The wine comes from High elevation vineyards over 3600 feet, is sourced from two different places in the Cuyo Valley, Altamira and La Consulta. The wine is sourced from some serious old vines over 73 years of age which definitely has added depth and complexity. Only 10% of the wine is aged for 6 months in New French so literally kissed by oak but definitely has a tiny smokiness coming through in the bouquet.
The wine is made by the great Roberto de la Mota who is arguably the greatest wine maker in Argentina. He worked hand in hand with his father Raul also a winemaking legend and later studied at the great Montpellier in France getting his masters in wine. He was hired by Terrazes de los Andes, project started by Chandon in Argentina and was selected to make the pinnacle red Cheval de los Andes, the joint venture of Cheval Blanc and Chandon. He then stared his own label Mendel which if you know Argentine wine are some of the finest.
Some 8 years ago in a tragic accident Roberto lost the use of his legs. He continues to make his wine and I believe his grit and determination can be tasted in his wines. The wine that I have fallen in love with is his 2015 Mendel Semillon, soaring on the nose with melon and citrus, the palate is alive and fresh with a long, long finish, great minerals, ripe citrus fruit, melon fruits and easy to drink, hot summers day just to sip or fish, shell fish, salads and lighter foods. A definite crowd please, has great drinkability.
2013 94pts Suckling 2014 93pts Suckling. 90pts plus by Parker every vintage and 90pts plus Tanzer in every vintage
One of the best whites from Argentina. A phenomenal nose of sliced peaches, lemons and flowers. Cream too. Full body, with lively acidity and wonderful finish. About 15% new oak fermentation giving the wine a little more complexity and richness. Bright finish. About 8,000 bottles made. Suckling.
Has a tiny hint of smokiness