Andrew Wardlaw was making lo-fi wines well before the term entered the winemaking lexicon, and his subtle mastery is evident in what is becoming his flag-bearing wine. With semillon taking the lead, the 2021 ‘Lemon Krush’ is predictably an essay in citrus, from a lemon-scented fragrance to the refreshingly drying pucker of lemon barley water gifted by Wardlaw’s masterly hand with skin contact.
Semillon with a splash of chardonnay and viognier, this is a hazy pale gold, with aromas of lemon barley water, lemongrass, wild grasses, quinine and orchard blossom scents. There’s a pucker of lemon barley water, or lemon juice in water, on the palate, a subtle saline note and a gentle web of skinsy tannins, giving this plenty of quenching and thirst-making appeal all at once, yellow and orange citrus flavours fanning out on the finish.
Themes of this wine
In league with sauvignon blanc and muscadelle, semillon is responsible for the dry whites of Bordeaux, as well as the great sweet wines of Sauternes, Barsac et al. In Australia, semillon found its own unique niche in the Hunter Valley, making low alcohol, super-bright and zippy wines that age for decades, while in Margaret River it is more often than not blended with sauvignon blanc to make the region’s signature aromatic white.
With an explosion of interest over the last few decades, chardonnay is now the world’s most planted white grape. With its ability to grow in varied conditions and make everything from sparkling wine, to lean and mineral whites, to full-bodied textural expressions, it is perhaps no surprise to see Burgundy’s key white grape become so dominant.
A highly aromatic grape, viognier is very distinctly scented with apricot, which can vary from the flesh, to the kernel, to apricot blossom, and those characters can be extremely exotic when quite ripe. It is also a grape that is quite phenolic but with low acidity. So, ripe examples will tend to be luscious and rich with high alcohol. Picked earlier and the apricot notes are more delicate, with acidity more of a feature.
The skins hold the colouring matter and lots of tannin. Leave them in contact with the juice/wine and you’ll extract those elements. Most conventional white wine sees no skin contact, rosé a little bit to get a blush, and red wine plenty to get the colour and structure. Skin-contact whites… well, they have some skin contact. Yep. More colour, more tannin and a different flavour profile.
Eden Valley is the higher altitude section of the Barossa zone, nestling up against the Adelaide Hills and being meaningful cooler than its neighbour, the Barossa Valley. Riesling and shiraz are the key varieties, both typically being cast in an elegant light, with shiraz fragrant and lifted, though still with plenty of power, while riesling is characterised by race and verve.