Tyrrell’s has long made a habit of highlighting single vineyards in its Semillon porfolio, and this label continues the tradition. Small batch (250 dozen), old vines (1908), sandy soils; it oozes cred simply for what it is. Tyrrell’s has gone a step further here and vinified the grapes in a deliberately old fashioned manner, sending things off the authenticity scale entirely. Indeed, it’s the kind of wine that is so tantalising on paper, one half suspects it will be a disappointment in the mouth.
In fact, it has quite exceeded my expectations. I’ve drunk this over two evenings and it has hardly moved, perhaps softening slightly on day two. The nose shows typically straightforward young Semillon citrus, in this case surrounded by a range of other flavours, from chalk to cheese, that add complexity. It’s still austere and quite etched, just with a wider range of aromas than usual. It’s also quite expressive, something one can’t take for granted with young Hunter Semillon.
The palate is a wonderfully textural experience. The entry is immediate and flavoursome, tight acidity helping pure citrus flavour to burst onto the tongue. Before long, a mouthfeel that is part chalk and part sandpaper begins to register, along with increasing complexity of flavour. The wine remains very focused and intense, as befits its status as a quality Semillon, but the textural influences create a feeling of generosity, if not downright drinkability, that makes the wine quite accessible as a youngster. The finish is extremely long and fine, with great delicacy to its gradual taper.
I’m quite excited about how this wine will age. I hope Tyrrell’s persists with the style.