The Courier-Mail - QWeekend
Passion for chardonnay
The late Murray Tyrrell had a love affair with white Burgundy in 1971 so he decided to step up his own chardonnay production in the Hunter Valley.
Tyrrell made the first Tyrrell’s Vat 47 chardonnay with a label declaring it to be a “pinot chardonnay” even though it had no pinot at all. Why he did so is a mystery to the Tyrrell family.
Nevertheless, the Vat 47 has become a collectors’ item for chardonnay fans.
Here I should point out that Tyrrell’s bottles chardonnay from several vineyards, one dating back to 1897.
In the early days chardonnay was used solely to be distilled into spirits to produce brandy and port.
Visitors to the Hunter Valley drive past the historic vines on Hermitage Rd.
Tyrrell’s purchased the block from Penfolds in 1983 to make its HVD (Hunter Valley Distillery chardonnay.
Tyrrell’s Wines HVD Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2019 ($50) has intense white peach flavours and gentle oak.
Or you could try my favourite – Tyrrell’s Wines Belford Estate Chardonnay ($50), a fresh, yet complex wine with stone fruit, apple and judicious oak. I’m guessing this is the French Burgundy style the late Murray Tyrrell was searching for. There are appealing nectarine fruit flavours in Tyrrell’s Wines Estate Chardonnay 2019 ($35) from vines planted in 1980 and 1984.
Of course, any pilgrimage to Tyrrell’s cellar door is incomplete without a run through of the various styles of semillon for which it is acclaimed the world over. Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Semillon ($98) was first made in 1962. The 2005 vintage was a stand-out and has won 34 trophies and 57 gold medals since its release. Tyrrell’s currently has seven different semillon styles ranging from $25 to $98. Many are not released until five or six years old.