• Quentin von Essen | intouch magazine july 2015

A Family Affair at McLeish Estate

There is seemingly no end to the number of producers who have a long and proud tradition of producing exceptionally high quality Hunter Valley Semillon, those deserving of mention are Tyrrell's with their Vat 1 Semillon - a benchmark for the variety in Australia, McWilliams Mount Pleasant, Mistletoe Winery, Brokenwood, Meerea Park, Gartelmann and of course McLeish Estate, who with over 30 Trophies, 50 Gold and a total of 124 Awards, can comfortably claim to be the most awarded boutique Semillon producer in Australia.

This boutique Hunter Valley winery has been successfully producing premium wines from their 44 acre vineyard in Pokolbin where for the past 29 years owners Robert (Bob) and Maryanne McLeish have overseen all aspects of the family business with the help of their daughter Jessica.

The business dates back to 1985 when Maryanne and Bob – a proud Scottish mechanical engineer and avid rugby union supporter from Sydney bought a block of land adjacent to what is now the Poole’s Rock winery and began planting a vineyard with Semillon and Chardonnay and selling the fruit to another producer.

They soon discovered that they were onto a really good thing and decided to trade in the city life and move permanently to the Hunter where they started producing their own wines under the McLeish Estate Wines label and expanded their plantings of Semillon and Chardonnay to also include Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

With Andrew Thomas, who earned his stripes at Tyrell's, as their winemaker McLeish Estate are widely recognised for producing an amazing range of single vineyard Semillon's that are regularly winning both national and international awards and are celebrated throughout the world. With a wine that has become a true champion wine of the world, he much decorated McLeish 2007 Semillon was awarded the World’s Best Semillon at the 2012 and 2013 London International Wine Challenge and took home three trophies at the 2013 Sydney International Wine Competition.

In 2014, the McLeish Estate Semillon went on to achieve unprecedented success, receiving four trophies at the Sydney Royal Wine Show for Best NSW Wine, Best White Wine, Best Single Vineyard Wine and Best Small Producer Wine, as well as trophies at the Sydney International Wine Competition and the 2014 Australian Boutique Wine Awards where it was awarded trophies for Best Semillon and Best White Wine of the show.

The 2007 Semillon then also picked up trophies at the 2014 Australian Boutique Wine Awards and NSW Small Winemaker Show as well. With passion at the helm and a continual pursuit for excellence - which is largely behind all successful endeavours, McLeish Estate have time and again proved that the 2007 Semillon is no "one off" success story.

Those in the know claim that the McLeish Estate 2009 Semillon, bears a strong resemblance to its 2007 counterpart which also won gold at the 2014 Sydney Royal Wine Show and Gold at the Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show 2014. This wine has also established its position among the top Semillon’s of the region with a 96 point rating in the 2013 James Halliday Wine Companion and twice rated "Top 40 of the State" at the NSW Wine Awards.

So, for those with a fondness for Semillon and are looking to stock up the cellar - perhaps now is the time to capitalise on the early successes of the 2009 Semillon which is priced at $45 a bottle and which by all accounts seems to be following the same path as the 2007 Semillon which is now priced at $120 a bottle. More recent Semillons such as the 2011 and 2013 vintages are also starting to show promise. For more information about McLeish wines visit www.mcleishwines.com.au

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