James Halliday - Wine - The Weekend Australian - October 28-29, 2017
Michael Kerrigan, winemaker and co-proprietor of Margaret River's Hay Shed Hill, lays it on the line when he says: "Block 1 Semillon Sauivgnon Blanc is my sentimental favourite of the wines from the Hay Shed Hill vineyards. This is not to say that I think it is the best, but that it is the wine for which i have the most affection." A pretty good turn of phrase from a laconic country boy, and it certainly added to my interest in the vertical tasting of each wine he had made since the first vintage in 2007.
He recounts standing in Block 1 in February of that year, only weeks after taking ownership. he had been a winemaker at Howard Park for quite a few years, so the blend was nothing new, but these vines, dry-grow, had done it the hard way on the west/north facing block. The berries and bunches were much smaller than he was used to, and while less overtly aromatic, had greater depth and length. He decided on an uncommon approach. The grapes were all picked, crushed, pressed together (only free-run juice used) and co-fermented in used French barriques, the time in oak varying from vintage to vintage, likewise the percentage of the two varieties.
He had sent each wine to me in the usual way for tasting for the Wine Companion but, having reached the 10-year mark, asked whether I would be interested in retasting the wines if he sent them to me. I was, and he did.
Their consistency of style, quality and durability was testimonial to the "keep it simple" approach and the wisdom of his original plan. The take-home message for me was the consistency of the quality and style of the wines and, above all else, their longevity. They are all 15-year propositions, progressively gaining complexity and mouthfeel. But if you want to enjoy the wine tonight, go for it.
2009 HAY SHED HILL BLOCK 1 MARGARET RIVER SEMILLON SAUVIGNON BLANC
Bright, light straw-green; in tip-top racing form, with great drive to the lemongrass and Meyer lemon flavours, minerally acidity guaranteeing the continuing long-term future of this wine.
96 Points, drink to 2024
2013 HAY SHED HILL BLOCK 1 MARGARET RIVER SEMILLON SAUVIGNON BLANC
Bright, light straw-green; an outstanding vintage for this wine, with complexity and intensity in a whirling ball of flavours. Time has stood still since I first tasted in March '14.
97 Points, drink to 2028
2016 HAY SHED HILL BLOCK 1 MARGARET RIVER SEMILLON SAUVIGNON BLANC
Pale straw-green; has more intensity and citrussy acidity than the '15 at this stage, the latter busy morphing from a newborn to adolescent. The '16 is a superb young Block 1 with greatness now, or in five or 15 years' time.
97 Points, drink to 2028
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