Henschke's Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills

Monday, 2 April 2012

McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon (2005)

Hunter Valley, New South Wales
11.5%, screwcap, around $24

Years ago, I searched a ridiculous number of wine outlets in Sydney looking for this wine. Knowing that 2005 was a grand year for Semillon in the Hunter Valley, I had been waiting for the 2004 vintage to run dry and for 2005 to finally be released. It remains unclear to me just how much was sent to the market place at the time, but I was unable to find one bottle of 2005. Every store had the 2007 vintage instead! Thus it was a case of serendipity, when during a recent holiday on the mid north coast of NSW, I stumbled upon a bottle of Cellar Aged 2005 Elizabeth in the local bottle shop. 

This wine was spectacular. With a lighter colour than would be expected for a seven year old wine, the wine was shrouded in a bouquet of lemony goodness. The bottle age shone through on the palate which showed intense citrus characters and a delightfully creamy texture. Fantastic value - 95. 

P.s. The 2005 vintage is still available from the cellar door for $118 per dozen. I'm told there isn't much left. What a surprise.   


  1. Hello David,

    Likewise in Brisbane. they seemed to skip a release with this...or so I thought. that was until I chanced upon a bottle back in 2010, when everyone else had 2006 I managed to chance upon this 205 in a good independent. Seems time has been kind, I enjoyed, but wasn't particularly enamoured.

    One of my earliest notes: http://www.thevinsomniac.com/2010/11/mcwilliams-mount-pleasant-elizabeth.html

  2. Hi Stu

    On the one hand, it was somewhat frustrating, but I can understand that there probably was a strong strategic business case for the decision. In fact, it may have been a very good decision. I suspect that the delayed debut of the 2005 'Lizzy' has been at a more optimal time for that vintage. At the same time, it allowed other vintages that weren't as suited to longer term cellaring to go to the market place earlier.

    Gotta love those independent wine retailers ;-)


  3. Hi David,
    I'm a massive fan of the Aged Elizabeths. Recently enjoyed a vertical of 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 with other avid Semillion diehards. I still haven't been able to get hold of the 2005 but have tried 2006, 2010 and now a current release 2011. Even the winery couldn't give me an answer as to the non release of 2005. Favourite vintages to date 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2001 which I had in a rare magnum, glorious stuff !!
    Still amazing value and sooo underrated. Ah yes the 2004 was sublime if I remember rightly.....cheers Dale (Noosa, QLD)

  4. Hi Dale

    I'm a little envious of your vertical tasting. I completely agree - amazing value and sooo underrated.

    You never know - you might just stumble across a bottle of the 2005 when you're least expecting to, just as I did.