Penfolds Rawson's Retreat Sémillon/Chardonnay 2004: mini review

Penfold's Rawsons Retreat Semillon Chardonnay Southeastern Australia 2004Penfolds Rawson's Retreat Sémillon/Chardonnay South Eastern Australia 2004 $12.95

There may not be a broader appellation than South Eastern Australia and to it I've vaguely tagged the grapes for this entry "White" -- but make no mistake about it, this blend of two big international varieties yields a very distinctive wine that's far from generic. Rawson's Retreat Sémillon/ Chardonnay is quite unique. It's a particularly striking contrast to Sémillon blends from Graves, for instance. Bordeaux expressions tend to be a wee bit racy and full of complexity with mineral notes and levels of spiciness so rich that it can recall nutmeg, but clearly Australia can produce a more attacking Sémillon. This is sweet and cocktail-like, with bright lemon-lime notes, which might be largely imparted from the Chardonnay. Interesting blend and one that is quite Aussie. I see that the 2005 vintage has already been released.

Ranking: 1

[I posted this review earlier today not realizing that Michel Phaneuf had indeed reviewed this bottle in his last edition (p. 358) which diminishes the urgency of my current little mini review exercise, however I'm glad I went through the paces anyway as it's interesting to compare how similar our remarks were: he commented that the affect of the Sémillon added to the Chardonnay was distinctive whereas I made basically the same comment but inversed it, separating out the affect of the Chardonnay added to the Sémillon; he gave it three stars as I did but then he promoted it to "bargain" status.]


Salil said...

I've not been that big a fan of the Rawson's Retreat label, after once trying a Riesling that I found far too acidic and overly assertive without much balance.

Aussie Sem-Chardonnays are great blends though, although some of the finest ones come from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. I doubt they'll be easy to track down in New York or Quebec, but do keep a look out for them.

g58 said...

Thanks for this Salil.

So were we in Times Square at the same time last month? Last time I spotted David Caruso there but since I have no idea what you look like...