Established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines is one of Australia’s pre-eminent family owned wine companies with vineyards extending from their historic home in the Hunter Valley to the Limestone Coast (SA) and Heathcote (VIC). Headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s is home to some of Australia’s most awarded wines including the iconic Vat 1 Semillon. Since 1971, Tyrrell’s has been awarded over 5,000 trophies and medals and in 2010 was named “Winery of the Year” in James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion. With the fifth generation, Chris, Jane and John, involved in the business, Tyrrell’s will continue to remain family owned with the simple philosophy of producing high quality wine that people love to drink.
Tyrrell's led Australia's charge into chardonnay decades ago, albeit misnamed "pinot chardonnay" for many years on its Vat 47 label. In theory the Hunter ought to be too warm to make cutting-edge chardonnay. But Tyrrell's top version, Belford and Vat 47, easily stand alongside more expensive wines from cooler southern regions. Belford 2012 lifts even higher in quality than usual, offering quite powerful chardonnay fruit flavour on a fine, richly-textured palate, subtly seasoned by partial fermentation and maturation in French oak barrels. The wine bears two trophies, four gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Rating: 97 Points; Chris Shanahan; Fairfax Wine Media
There is a world of difference between Tyrrell's commercial chardonnays and its Single Vineyard or icon chardonnays. This has awesome drive and intensity to its mix of grapefruit and white stone fruit flavours, barrel ferment oak not at all bolshie. The only caveat is to drink it over the next 3-5 years. Drink by: 2019; Price: $38.00; Alcohol: 13%; Rating: 95 Points; James Halliday Wine Companion
Chardonnay has been through some tough times in the last few decades, once the darling of the social set, now it's all sauvignon blanc darling. Oh, unless they are ahead of the curve and already onto the pinot grigio. Now there's the ABC crowd, (anything but chardonnay) but there's the also IALC crowd (I've always loved chardonnay) crowd, I have to say I'm in the second crowd. In any case, chardonnay is a noble grape, capable of incredible diversity of style, complexity and better still it's an excellent medium for expressing the soil and climate from whence it came. Cool climates seem to work best but there are some anomalies in the equation. The best makers in the Hunter Valley make the point well. This week's single vineyard chardonnay from the Belford vineyard, made by Tyrrells is a great example. It's from a warm climate but it looks cool, lovely crunchy acidity, fresh lemon and melon fruit and some fairly inconspicuous oak make for a bright fresh style that will rival the finest cool climate chardonnays in the country. Like the best Hunter chardonnays, it should age gracefully as well. Fergus McGhie; Fairfax Wine Media
For two years I have observed the swag of wine show gold trophies and gold medals collected by this Hunter Valley white. Now it has been released and come to my tasting bench -and my taste tests prove it’s been worth waiting for. It’s brassy gold in the glass and has pear and vanilla bean aromas. Profound yellow nectarine flavour comes through on the front palate and melon, preserved lemon and mineral fruit characters integrate with cashew oak on the mid palate. Slaty acid unfolds at the finish. It’s made family and leased and managed by Tyrrell’s. 5 Glasses out of 5; John Lewis, Newcastle Herald
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