Wine | McLeish semillon's triple win | John Lewis

HONOURED: Maryanne and Robert and McLeish with their Sydney International Wine Competition trophies
HONOURED: Maryanne and Robert and McLeish with their Sydney International Wine Competition trophies

A 2007 HUNTER semillon from the boutique 17.3-hectare vineyard of Robert and Maryanne McLeish and their daughter Jessica triumphed last week against 1757 wines from 13 countries to be championship runner-up, best white wine and best lighter-bodied dry white of the 2017 Sydney International Wine Competition.

The triple-trophy wine was the McLeish Estate 2007 Cellar Reserve Semillon and the 2009 Cellar Reserve Semillon also won the trophy for the best medium-bodied dry white.

The 2007 Cellar Reserve in 2012 won the title of the world’s best semillon at the International Wine Challenge in London, the largest wine show in the world with 14,000 enteries. 

The wine now sells for $220 a bottle and the 2009 for $125 at the De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin, cellar door or on

The annual Sydney International is unique in having wines judged with complementary food.

The McLeish wines are made under contract by ace Hunter winemaker Andrew Thomas and the venture began in 1985 when mechanical engineer Bob McLeish and his New Lambton-born and raised wife Maryanne bought land in De Beyers Road, Pokolbin.

The then-Sydney-resident pair spent weekends and holiday times living at Pokolbin in an on-site caravan while planting what has now become the site of premium semillon, chardonnay, verdelho, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon vines.

They made their first McLeish Estate wine in the laundry of their then-home in Sydney.

The Sydney International champion wine, best red and best pinot noir was the New Zealand Bald Hills 2015 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir from Bannockburn, Central Otago.

Tastings of show wines will be held on Saturday, February 10, at the Novotel Sydney Central Hotel, 169-179 Thomas St, Sydney.

A $44 per person first session is from 10am to 12.30pm. The $55 per person second session is from 2 pm to 4.30 pm is and people can attend both sessions for $77 with bookings on

At other recent major wine competitions, semillon was a winner for the Tyrrell’s family wine company, with its 2005 Vat 1 Semillon taking the trophy for best semillon at the National Wine Show in Canberra and its 2017, 2009 and 2006 Vat 1s claiming the wine of provenance award.

In the 2017 Hobart Wine Show, Tyrrell’s 2017 Vat 1 Semillon received the trophy for best other varietal white and the company emerged as the show’s most successful exhibitor. 

Wine reviews


WITH 55 per cent semillon and 45 per cent chardonnay, this McLeish Estate 2017 Semillon Chardonnay is green-tinged light gold in the glass and has orange blossom aromas. The front palate has crisp lemony flavour and peach, lime zest, brioche and mineral characters display on the middle palate. Flinty acid refreshes at the finish. PRICE: $25. DRINK WITH: chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent. AGEING: four years.

RATING: 4 stars


THIS McLeish Estate 2016 Shiraz confirms that rain-affected Hunter vintage turned out pretty well. The wine is deep purple and has 14.3 per cent alcohol and mulberry and lavender scents. The front palate features plush ripe plum flavour, the middle palate Morello cherry, dark chocolate, licorice and cedary oak and the finish peppery tannins. PRICE: $30. DRINK WITH: Mongolian lamb. AGEING: 12 years.

RATING: 4.5 stars


THE McLeish Estate 2016 Chardonnay is brassy-tinted straw and has tropical fruit salad scents. The front palate has ripe nectarine flavour, the middle palate melon, citrus, flint and cashew oak and slatey acid plays at the finish. 

PRICE: $30. DRINK WITH: prawn bisque. AGEING: six years.

RATING: 4.5 stars

The three wines reviewed here are at the De Beyers Rd, Pokolbin, cellar door and