Henschke's Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bimbadgen Estate, Semillon (2011)

Hunter Valley, New South Wales
sample, 10%, screwcap, $20

The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Howard 'Somerset' and Benwarin vineyards located in Pokolbin (Hunter Valley). Light straw in colour. Some grassy notes with elements of lime blossom on the bouquet. I found the palate to be quite restrained, with a central spine of lime and soft acidity. With a little time some white flowers emerged on the bouquet. A somewhat sappy finish - a case of bottle shock?  - 91. 

Try it yourself

The folks at Bimbadgen have provided me with a bottle of this Semillon to give away. To enter the competition for this bottle, simply start 'following' this blog using the 'Followers' widget in the right hand column - just click 'join this site' and enter your details. I will randomly select a 'follower' in one week's time. To enter this competition you must be of legal drinking age and must have a postal address within Australia. Good luck!


  1. I like the look of the 10% alcohol. But does the low % mean it won't age like many Hunter semillons do?


  2. Hi Josh

    Great question. It is actually the acidity of a wine, rather than the alcohol content, that has the greatest influence on a wine's capacity to drink well in years to come. That said, low alcohol would usually suggest that the grapes were picked when when sugar levels were low and natural acidity was high (in fact the tasting notes indicate a pH of 2.95, which is high acidity). Thus, I would have expected this Semillon to age quite well. However, the tasting notes state that this wine will drink well young and fresh or within 3-5 years of careful cellaring. It has been made to be consumed young.

    Enter the competition for a chance to try it yourself.


  3. Pandora's Box... Acid level is the new alcohol level if you know what I mean. I used to be concerned about the latter, but now the former. Is a wine's acid level the same as its ph level?

  4. Another great question - I love it. Essentially... yes. As I understand it, pH measurement is the most reliable way to measure a wine's acidity. It is a measurement of the number of hydrogen ions in a solution. Most wines have a pH of between 3-4. The lower the pH, the more acid the wine. Keep in mind that it is logarithmic, thus a wine with a pH of 3 is 10 times as acid as a wine with a pH of 4. Whilst it is not unusual for a Semillon to have a pH of around 3, this Semillon, with a pH of 2.95, has higher than average acidity (though I am aware of Semillons with a lower pH).

    Sometimes tasting notes will include a measurement of 'acidity' expressed in grams per litre. This is a measurement of titratable acidity (sometimes called total acidity). The normal range is between 4 and 9 grams per litre. This is a less accurate measurement of a wine's acidity than pH.

  5. There's a British wine writer who recently toured Australia who said that Australian wines are often too acidic because the grape isn't suited to the terroir. I think his name was Andrew Jefford. It's the second time I've heard a European wine writer/expert comment on this issue. Any thoughts? Are European wines less acidic as a general rule? Thanks for taking the time to answer my queries.

  6. The suggestion that Australian wines are often too acidic because the grape isn't suited to the terroir is an interesting one. I think the success of Shiraz from a variety of locations within Australia sugggests that it is a variety that is suited to our terrior. That said, it is refreshing to see that many vignerons are now experimenting with varieties from Italy and Spain etc. I suspect that some of these varieties will also thrive. French varieties have dominated the Australian wine industry for too long.

    I'm not in a position to comment about European wines due to minimal exposure to them - I have really focussed on Australian wine. I would be interested to hear other opinions on this though.

    I am a little surprised that those European wine commentators didn't attribute the high acidity to our winemakers increasing acidity (which is allowed in Australia).

  7. Congratulations Joshua Mulligan - you are the winner of this bottle of Bimbadgen Semillon. Please send your postal address details to me at: Hemmings_David@yahoo.com