Another dessert wine. A few weeks ago we went on a day trip down to Berrima, a historic town on the old highway south from Sydney to Canberra and Melbourne. I remember having to drive through it on the way to Canberra many years ago and it was a nice place to stop for a morning tea of scones and cream. It’s since been bypassed and has reverted to a sleepy little village, but retains many charming features and has the usual sort of mix of antiques, crafts, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes to attract travellers and day-trippers.
As we discovered on this recent trip, it also has a wine shop, specialising in wines local to the southern highlands region of New South Wales. I hadn’t even realised that this was a wine growing region! They cover a scattered area ranging from about Bowral through to Canberra. Being highlands, they are high altitude, cool climate wineries, very different from the classic Australian hot and dry climate wine regions. I don’t know much about them, but presumably they grow stuff like sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. I’ll have to look into them a bit more closely over time.
Anyway, being a sucker for dessert wines, I picked up this bottle of Southern Highland Wines 2008 Botrytis Semillon. It’s very interesting to compare it to the other botrytised wines we’ve had recently. My wife really didn’t like this one as much, whereas I didn’t see much difference at first. It has an orangey aroma and taste, leading into the slight bitterness of marmalade. I quite liked it.
But a second glass brought out the differences. The previous couple of sweet wines we’ve drunk had a tingly prickle of fermentation on the tongue, whereas this one has none whatsoever. It’s a beautiful golden yellow colour, and thick and syrupy and sweet. Really not as much of that balancing marmaladey bitterness. And… simple for that. Not as complex and full of interesting flavours as the Tamburlaine Botrytis Chardonnay, nor particularly the McLeish Estate Jessica’s Botrytis Semillon.
I still like it – I have a real thing for these sweet dessert wines. But I like those other two more.