McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Estate’s incredible Hunter Valley Semillons, beautifully made and aged before release, are among the most consistent and attractive wines one could come across.
The Mount Pleasant winery was established in 1880 by Charles King and then purchased by the legendary pioneer winemaker Maurice O’Shea, considered one of the fathers of the modern day wine industry. His legacy of great old Hunter wines and winemaking philosophy are still widely respected. The current owner McWilliam's purchased a half share in the winery in 1932 eventually securing full ownership.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon (once called Hunter River Riesling) named after the Queen of Australia is a perennial favourite amongst wine enthusiasts. These wines, always released with bottle age, represent some of the best value on the market. Honeyed, straw-like aromas, profound fruit and vitality are all hallmarks of the style. The Lovedale Vineyard, located on flat unremarkable landscape adjacent to an old wartime airstrip in the Lower Hunter Valley, was planted in 1946 by pioneer winemaker Maurice O’Shea. The locals used to say the sandy soils are so poor here that “rabbits needed to bring along a tucker box to survive”.
These lean acidic soils are elemental to the long-lived, fine boned Lovedale Semillons, first made in 1954. Most vintages were blended away until 1979 when McWilliam’s once again intermittently (and now every year) released a single vineyard Lovedale Semillon. The Semillon is picked relatively early resulting in wines with relatively low alcohols and naturally high acidities. The austere young wines are incredibly pale with floral/lemon curd/herb garden aromas and flavours, a core of fruit sweetness and fine mineral acid cut. An extraordinary metamorphosis takes as the wine develops in bottle. The colour deepens to gold and toasty/lanolin/oilskin characters, richness and flavour complexity emerge. McWilliam’s has at last ditched cork seals for its Semillons. This is a hugely important move and will ensure that consumers can enjoy these wines at their optimum freshness, regardless of age.
The Shirazes have an impressive heritage, based on 1880 vines and having once been made by Maurice O’Shea. The OP and OH (Old Paddock and Old Hill) Shiraz, Rosehill Shiraz and Maurice O’Shea Shiraz are all consistent and beautifully evocative Hunter reds.