Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas created his first Braemore Semillon on the Hunter Valley in 2000. Having spent 13 years at Tyrells and in nearby vineyards, he bought the Semillon grapes from Ken Bray’s Braemore Vineyard and as he puts it, ‘the rest is history.’
Now this year, Thommo and Thomas Wines celebrate huge Braemore milestones; 50 years since the vineyard was planted and 20 consecutive years of vintages in the single vineyard Braemore Semillon.
“I’ve been dealing with this vineyard now for 20 years and it was clear from the very early stages that it was a very special piece of dirt,” Thommo said. For him, the anniversary is made all the more special considering his purchase of the vineyard in 2017.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be the custodian of one of the Hunter Valley’s most iconic sites. To be perfectly honest with you, in the early days, I never imagined that one day I would own or be the custodian of that piece of dirt, but it’s something very special and close to my heart.”
Speaking to TheShout at a vertical tasting of all 20 Braemore Semillon vintages, Thommo reflected on the collection.
“There’s four brackets here and they’re all distinctively different and all represent a section in the life cycle of Hunter Valley Semillon,” he said.
“Braemore really hits its straps from 10 years onward, and this bracket from the ’09 to five, to my mind, really represents a beautiful section of what that vineyard can represent.”
The tasting event was described as a unique and retrospective look into the history of the Braemore Semillon. With the wine pulled from Thommo’s personal cellar, such an extensive vertical event physically can’t happen again, due to the random oxidation unfortunately impacting the remaining bottles from 2000 and 2003.
Reflecting on his creations over the years, Thommo said it’s clear how much has changed in the industry.
“If we go back 10, 15, 20 years ago, there was this old fashioned perception that Hunter Valley Semillon had to be aged before you could even consider drinking it. Slowly that perception is changing,” he said.
Thommo said the Hunter Valley as a whole is: “finessing our wine making to produce wines with a little bit more technical complexity. Let’s face it, white Semillon is one of the most pure and precise delicate wine styles in the world, but the little one percenters that we can apply in the winery give these wines just a little more approachability and drinkability and slurpability.”
Thomas Wine’s 2019 Braemore Semillon is available now from Vinous, as well as a special Cellar Reserve Vintage from 2014.