Thursday, June 4, 2009

2005 Ahlgren Semillon, Livermore Valley

On my recent visit to Ahlgren Vineyards, Val Ahlgren gave me a bottle of the 2005 Semillon to review at my leisure. I finally got around to opening it last night.

Now most of the Semillon based wines that I've drunk have been sweet; I'm a big fan of Sauternes, but don't recall any dry Semillon that I liked enough to buy twice, so I was curious to see what this would be like.

Nice pale golden colour (the photo doesn't really show it very well). The nose is quite floral - white flowers, with pear and pineapple, and a little honey. It has a rich mouthfeel from barrel fermentation coupled with almost 3 years in the bottle. As to the flavour, well it's rather like a dry Sauternes. Now I've had dry wines made by Sauternes producers such as Rieussec; they tend to show structure, acidity, minerality and not a great deal of fruit. This isn't like that; it really does taste like a dry Sauternes. Certainly there's acidity, but there's tropical fruit and honey, yet it's bone dry. Instead of the botrytis spiciness there's some white pepper. Initially the wine was cold (since that's the way my wife likes her whites); as it warmed up to room temperature it showed much more character. At $17 a bottle I would call it a Value. 89


Wes Barton said...

I've heard that the Ahlgren Semillon is a great long-term ager.

Christopher said...

I am a tremendous fan of Semillon in solo-varietal capacity, but I'll confess to not having found that many truly fantastic ones out there. I look forward to giving this a try!

And on another note, I'd like to invite you up to re-taste the '99 Monte Bello. Could you e-mail me at Let's set a time!


Christopher Watkins
Tasting Room Manager
RIDGE Vineyards/Monte Bello