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Jun 9th 2016

A Legend In It's Own Right - Tyrrell's featured in Herald Sun

Tyrrell's semillon earns Legends title

A 22-YEAR-OLD Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley semillon has been declared an international Legend of Wine by the British “bible of wines”, Decanter magazine.

The listing places the Tyrrell’s flagship 1994 Vat 1 Semillon among such Decanter Legends as Krug champagne, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc, Egon Muller-Scharzhof, Chateau Palmer, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite and Chateau d’Yquem.

The only other Australian wines included are reds - Penfolds 1955 Grange, Penfolds 1962 Bin 60A, Wynns 1982 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, Henschke 1998 Hill of Grace and Lindeman’s Special Reserve Hunter River Burgundy.

Vat 1’s Decanter Legends triumph rivals that achieved by Tyrrell’s in 1979 when its 1976 Vat 6 Pinot Noir was judged the best pinot noir red in the Gault-Millau Wine Olympics in France. The Vat 6 was rated ahead of some of the best pinot noirs in the world, including those from France’s famed Burgundy Region.

WORLD BEST: Tyrrell's chief winemaker Andrew Spinaze and managing director Bruce Tyrrell with their 1994 Vat 1 semillon.

The 1994 Vat 1 has long since sold out. A total of 30,000 bottles was produced and when it was first released it cost $15 and it’s now estimated to fetch $250 a bottle at auction.

Decanter said Hunter Valley semillon was one of Australia’s “miraculous wines”.

“Tasted very young, it can seem anaemic and feeble, notable only for its strident citric character,” it commented. “After five years of bottle age, it is transformed into a honeyed, toasty, complex wine, full of flavour despite its low alcohol.”

“Tyrrell’s Vat 1 is one of the supreme expressions of this under-rated wine style. No wine has been awarded more medals on the Australian show circuit,” it said.

The 1994 has won 32 gold medals and 12 trophies in Australian regional and national shows and in the 2005 Sydney Wine Show it won the trophy for the champion wine.

Tyrrell’s managing director, Bruce Tyrrell, said Vat 1 semillon was only ever made from the best blocks on the Tyrrell’s Ashman’s property at Pokolbin, with the oldest plantings being from 1908.

“It is a great honour for Vat 1 to be included among the world’s great wines. We began the journey to drive recognition of Hunter semillon in the late 1980s, and it looks like we’ve arrived,” said Bruce.

The Decanter article said the first Vat 1 was made in 1962, “when European grape and regional names were used with abandon” and was labelled Hunter Valley Riesling. The present name was adopted in 1990. The wine was made by chief winemaker Andrew Spinaze.

Article originally sourced from the Herald Sun