Located in the foothills of the Hunter Valley’s Brokenback Ranges, Brokenwood was originally zoned as a cricket ground for the local community before being acquired by three self-professed weekend winemakers in 1970. Tony Albert, John Beeston and James Halliday were Sydney-based solicitors looking for somewhere to pursue a wine hobby when they established Brokenwood, the first vintage of which was picked in 1973. The famed ‘Graveyard Vineyard’ was the vacant lot next door, named so because council planners originally designated it (but never utilised it), as a cemetery. So it too was acquired by Brokenwood in 1978 and remains the sole source of grapes for the label’s flagship Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz. In 1982 Brokenwood expanded into white wine which coincided with the arrival of Chief Winemaker Iain Riggs. To this day, white wine continues to be a large part of Brokenwood's total production. From its humble beginnings, Brokenwood has grown to be an internationally recognised wine brand, with the flagship wines - Graveyard Shiraz and the ILR Semillon - being highly sought after each vintage. They have also expanded their vineyard holdings, with sites in Beechworth and McLaren Vale, as well as their traditional Hunter vineyards.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
The sandy loam soils of the vineyard are tailor-made for semillon. An immaculately balanced wine, just beginning its evolution from fresh-faced youth to adulthood. It's unusual to see a wine such as this released alongside 6-year-olds, but it does have all-important length and grip.
This white shows lots of sliced green apple and flint character. It's full-bodied with fresh acidity and a sherbet aftertaste. Lots going on here. Needs a year or two to come together in the bottle. Screw cap.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
I’ve always enjoyed the irony of Semillon coming from a place called Oakey Creek. Has an attractive juiciness about it, though it’s not exactly what you’d call fleshy. Lemon barley, lime and a light herbal spiciness at play. Tart and slightly sweet, then a firm and long finish. Feels a little bit coarse, but of course, there’s much more to come.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
It's still early days for the 2013 Oakey Creek Vineyard Semillon, which still shows a touch of green to its light straw color. It smells like the crushed stones you might have dumped to form a garden path merged with faint whiffs of sea spray and citrus. This light-bodied wine can be drunk now as a mouthwatering aperitif or with raw shellfish, but my preference would be to cellar it for another 5 years to let it develop additional richness and complexity.