IN 1983 Tyrrell's winery made its first single vineyard wine after previously basing its portfolio on blended parcels of grapes from different vineyards. That inaugural single vineyard, a HVD vineyard semillon, has grown into a range of distinctive bottlings that reflect the histories of great old vines.
Under the oversight of Tyrrell's wine brains trust - managing director Bruce Tyrrell, chief winemaker Andrew Spinaze, red winemaker Mark Richardson and production director Chris Tyrrell - the single vineyards stand a rung below the flagship Winemaker's Selection vat number range.
I've been savouring the new single vineyard release of eight wines, beginning with the $40 Tyrrell's 2015 Single Vineyard HVD Semillon from the vineyard at the corner of Broke and Hermitage roads, Pokolbin. HVD was first planted in 1908 by Alex Combet, a French-born vigneron who was manager of Hunter Valley Distillery and the great grandfather of former ACTU chief and federal minister Greg Combet. When the distillery shut in 1932, the vineyard was leased and then bought in 1941 by Penfolds, which in 1983 sold it to Tyrrell's.
The Tyrrell's 2015 Single Vineyard Belford Semillon($40) and 2018 Single Vineyard Belford Chardonnay($50) come from a vineyard on the southern side of the northern rail line. Planted in 1933 and still owned by the pioneering Elliott family, it's leased and managed by Tyrrell's.
Tyrrell's 2016 Single Vineyard Stevens Shiraz ($40) and Tyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard Stevens Shiraz ($50) are fromgrapes grown by the Stevens family on their Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin, Glenoak vineyard. Tyrrell's has taken Stevens grapes since 1993 on the strength of a handshake deal and since 2015 has leased shiraz blocks on Glen Oak.
Tyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard Mother's Shiraz ($50) is so named because the vineyard is next to the home of Murray Tyrrell's mother Dorothy. It's now home to Chris and Tegan Tyrrell and their sons Henry and Edward.
Tyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard Old Hut Shiraz ($50) isnamed for the slab hut that still stands next to the Tyrrell winery. Tyrrell's founder Edward built the hut in 1858 and lived there as he planted vines on his 150ha grant of Pokolbin land.
Tyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard NVC Shiraz ($50) the NVC stands for New Vineyard Cuttings and it is behind the winery and by no means new, being established in 1921. Up to the early 2000s its grapes made Vat 5 reds. This marque was dropped and the vineyard greatly upgraded to now produce this premium single vineyard shiraz.
THE Tyrrell's 2015 Single Vineyard HVD Semillon is green-tinted straw, lanolin-scented and crisp grapefruit front-palate flavoured. The middle has green apple, lemon curd, flint and nascent honey and a finish of mineral acid. It and other single vineyard wines are at Tyrrell's Broke Road, Pokolbin, winery, tyrrells.com.au and fine wine stores.
DRINK WITH: oysters.
AGEING: 10 years.
RATING: 5 stars
CLASSIC HUNTER STYLE
WITH 13.7% alcohol, thisTyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard Mother's Shiraz is a classic Hunter-style red,glowing deep garnet and displaying berry pastille aromas. The front palate features vibrant cassis flavour, the middle palate Satsuma plum, spice, spearmint and savoury oak and chalky tannins play at the finish.
DRINK WITH: roast pork loin with prune stuffing.
AGEING: 12 years.
RATING: 5 stars
BRING ON THE SNAPPER
THIS delightful, multi-faceted Tyrrell's 2018 Single Vineyard Belford Chardonnay shines lemon in the glass and shows pear and almond aromas and elegant white peach flavour on the front palate. The middle palate has fig, lime zest, gunmetal and coconutty oak and it refreshes with slatey acid at the finish.
DRINK WITH: crisped-skin snapper with lime beurre blanc.
AGEING: 12 years.
RATING: 5.5 stars
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