Sémillon has a very long history in Australia but is best known for its roots in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. When dreaming up names for their skin fermented Séms, the Konpira Maru boys literally thought the wines were out of this world, hence the names of fleet commanders Admiral Ackbar (Star Wars) and Admiral Adama (Battlestar Galactica). Admiral Ackbar is from the planet Mon Cala and commands the Mon Calamari fleet…get the tie in to high acid, drinkable, but textural Sémillon? ???? The vineyard source is the Quarry Ridge Vineyard in Kilmore, Victoria, located east the Macedon Ranges of west of Upper Goulburn. This was the last year with Rusty at the helm of Quarry Ridge, so the pressure was on to send him out with a bang. Rusty shocks Sam and Al every year, learning from each passing season, adapting and working with the fruit rather than telling it what he wants it to do. This year’s quality is a true testament to Rusty’s skills and knowledge of the site. To top it off, Sam and Al think the 2021 is the best release since 2016. Pressure relieved, goal kicked, cheers Rusty.
They made the call to pick with lower than normal sugars under Rusty’s tutelage, relying on the fruits purity and lower than average yields to provide depth and concentration. It was one of those late calls which sounds great at the time and then you sh*t yourself on reflection. Probably not the ideal start under the circumstances but once the fruit was in the sheds, their frowns turned upside down. Bins of shiny, clean, beautifully intact, plump citrus bombs staring back at them with acid for days. The berries were destemmed only to ensure that whole berries remain, and then they were soaked for 7 days at 6C in stainless-steel with daily pumpovers. With cooling turned off, a slow natural ferment (never exceeding 20C) occurred over two weeks with a mix of hand plunging and gentle pumpovers daily. The wine was pressed, settled, and racked before going through partial MLF at which point a touch of sulfur and freezing winery temperatures halted operations. The wine was racked again and left to come together in 100% stainless steel for 5 months. It was bottled without fining or filtration and had only a light dose of sulfur at bottling. This is metaphorically the gateway drug for those exploring skin-contact and raw wines, but still friendly enough for the weary.