Semillon in the Barossa Valley has been a bit of a dog’s body – a curio on the side to enjoy on a hot Summer’s day. Few winemakers have given it much attention but Marco Cirillo does not just have any vineyard – it may be the oldest parcel of Semillon vines in the country, if not the world.
The wine is similar in style to a Hunter Valley classic. It is very pale in colour and has concentrated lanolin, dried grass, citrus and green apple fruits. It is then dry and light as a feather in a low alcohol style but also with some textural richness – almost like a dry Mosel Riesling with its combination of acid and sheer power.
The fruit is concentrated and shows seamless balanced with a core of tight acidity that drives a very long finish – the balance in particular and youthful vitality suggesting this wine has a very long way to run.
95 points, Angus Hughson, The Wine Pilot.
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
Vincent Cirillo became custodian of the Barossa vineyards his son Marco now tends to in 1970, and their Grenache and Semillon vines are some of the world’s oldest, dating back to 1848. From a long line of winemakers stretching back nine generations, the Cirillo focus is on careful and fastidious viticulture, producing fruit that shines with purity and terroir.