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Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon 2011

Semillon from Hunter Valley, Australia
  • D98
  • JH96
  • JS93
  • RP93
  • WE92
  • WS91
11.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • WS90
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11.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Approachable as a young wine yet is still built for a long life in the cellar. The palate is impeccably balanced with its fresh citrus characters and a crisp acid structure which leaves the wine with a clean finish.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
D 98
This vintage of Vat 1 has stupendous acidity and rigid structure, but still with an awesome depth. It's so measured you want to applaud in appreciation.
JH 96
Australian Wine Companion
Vat 1 can always be relied upon to deliver a pure, focused and linear wine, year-in, year-out; as a young wine, there is just enough flesh for a little pleasure, with lemon sherbet, lime leaf and straw; the structure indicates a long future ahead, and real pleasure will come at least five years down the track. Certainly worth investing both time and money to watch it truly come together.
JS 93
James Suckling
Tighter and less phenolic than the basket pressed Johnno's. Finer detail here which suits the transparency of the style more, perhaps. Long-plus and will age gracefully over the next 15 years.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Vat 1 Semillon presents a citrus nose garlanded with lemon grass and lime leaves that is quite chalky and a little closed. In the mouth it is a classic Vat 1 – bone dry and light-bodied with rasping acidity, great citrus intensity and mineral character. It has a very long, elegant finish though needs time to evolve.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
At six years of age, this is just coming into its own. Hints of green fruit remain, tempered by notes of wet stone and toasted marshmallow, harbingers of the full maturity that will arrive in a few years. It's not as lean or edgy as it must've been as a young wine, but is rounding beautifully into form.
Cellar Selection
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Distinctive, with an appealing whiff of lanolin to the lemon curd and orange zest core, set on a medium body. A touch of toasted green tea shows on the crisp finish. Drink now through 2026. 3,000 cases made.
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Tyrrell's Wines

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Tyrrell's Wines, Australia
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In 1858, Edward Tyrrell planted his first vines in the Hunter Valley. In 1959, Murray Tyrrell took control of the winery and started producing Tyrrell’s wines under their own labels. Tyrrell’s pioneered Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Australia and quickly received international recognition. While remaining a family company, Tyrrell’s has reached out to larger wine markets: in recent years, it has expanded its traditional Hunter Valley vineyard base to other famous vineyard areas in Australia.

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Hunter Valley

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Even as a hot subtropical growing region, the Hunter Valley region on the eastern side of Australia produces world-renowned and admired white wines from the Semillon grape.

Hunter Valley Semillons are known to achieve such fresh and bracing acidity levels that while they can be enjoyed in their youth, evolution typically brings their best qualities forward. Most will develop favorably for upwards of 10 to 20 years. These wines are fairly low in alcohol and when young, can be tart and citrus-driven whites with piquant herbal and mineral notes. The best examples, when aged, develop notes of caramel, honey, browned butter and roasted nuts. Some are fermented or matured in oak but it is often undetectable in this fresh style.

Soils in the Hunter Valley are volcanic basalt and white alluvial sands, favorable for aroma development in Semillon.

While winter and spring drought is common, summer and fall brings a good deal of precipitation. Warm summer nights allow the Semillon vines to ripen with haste but constant cloud cover in the fall reduces vine stress and the impact of their heat load. Ripening comes early at the end of January or early February, equivalent to early August in the northern hemisphere.

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An unassuming but noble variety capable of wines with considerable structure, depth and length, Sémillon is an uncompromising white variety with the power to create wines that improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to the aromatic and vivid Sauvignon Blanc; the two are most commonly found blended in their home region of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not the most fashionable grape in the rest of the wine world, it enjoys great success in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines with aging potential.

In the Glass

Sémillon is most notable for its smooth texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex characters of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla or toast.

Perfect Pairings

Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.

Sommelier Secret

Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”

HOR407494_2011 Item# 160906