Region: Hunter Valley
Background: The name Pokolbin as legend has it, is derived from the early Hungarian migrant settlers to the area and means ’hot as hell’ or ’hell hole’, referring to the hot, dry and sometimes inhospitable summers that regularly reach 45º C.
Fruit source: The wine is made from fruit harvested off a mature Semillon block on the ’Braemore’ vineyard on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin. The ‘Braemore’ vineyard is owned and operated by Ken Bray.
Fermentation: The handpicked fruit was fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled under screwcap in April 2009.
Maturation: No oak or cellar maturation was undertaken.
Winemaker’s comments: Warm dry conditions in January 2009 ripened the white varieties perfectly before any significant vintage rain. Chardonnay, and again Semillon will be the stand-out varieties producing well flavoured, highly drinkable wines from release, much like 2005.
Tasting note: Pale straw in colour with an intense citrus nose. The long palate has great flavours of ripe lemon and mandarin complimented by a bright acid backbone. Fruit weight and acid are in harmony and this can be consumed now and for many years to come.
Cellaring estimate: Medium—Long term. 10 years.
Suggested food match: Fresh seafood.
What the experts say
“Hell Hole semillon has fast become an ‘ever reliable’. It’s grown on the Braemore vineyard. Love the low alcohol style of it – it adds to the enjoyment of what it has to offer.
Fine and long but an enjoyable drink already. Citrussy and pure, acidic and pear-like. Lovely even flow to it – finishes a touch spicy too, in a good way. Can’t go wrong here.”
Rated : 92 Points.
Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front – 5th June 2009
“The name derives from a verbal corruption of “hot as hell” by early settlers, a fair description of 45C days. For once vintage rain did not force early picking, and the ’09 semillons have an unusually intense citrus framework which offers great drinking now without threatening a sure-fire, 10 year future, thanks to the acidity and the screwcap.”
James Halliday – The Weekend Australian Magazine – 29th August 2009
“Intense, aromatic and lingering, it finishes a little softer than others. A terrific future”.
Ken Gargett – Courier Mail Qweekend – 31st October 2009
“The Hell Hole name refers to the hot, dry country that is the Hunter Valley. Rhys Eather has packed a lot of fruit into this ’09: plenty of lime and lemon citrus, even grapefruit on the palate. Great texture and a sparkling crisp acid finish.”
Nick Stock – Wine 100 – February 2010
“The 2009 Hell Hole Semillon is a single vineyard wine, coming off Braemore Vineyard. It has an intense lemon / lime, lemongrass and slightly toasty nose. Very crisp and dry with a light body and great intensity of pure citrus fruit. Long finish. Drink 2012 to 2019. “
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW – The Wine Advocate #188 – April 2010
“For once vintage rain did not force early picking, and the ’09 semillons (this wine included) have an unusually intense citrus (lime and lemon) framework which offers great drinking now without threatening a sure-fire, 10-year future, thanks to the acidity and the screwcap.”
James Halliday – 2011 Australian Wine Companion