Saturday, October 26, 2019

Tyrrell's Masterclass (Part 2)

Before I continue this review, let us briefly reflect on how many icon wines leading wineries produce: Cullen - 2; Leeuwin - 1-2; Mount Mary and Yarra Yering - maybe 3; Henschke - maybe 4-5; Wendouree - 4-5; Penfolds - 6-8; you get the picture: not too many.

Then there is Tyrrell's. We had 4 icon Semillons in the last post; there is perhaps 1 in this post, and there will be at least 5 in part 3. This is astonishing. You may say, many of these are very small volume wines, but this has not been an argument against Burgundy quality.

On to the second part of this Masterclass, which followed a similar format to the Semillon tasting for Hunter Valley Shiraz. First, a mini vertical of the Vat 9. The Vat 9 Shiraz is a blend of old blocks (at least 50 years) from the Weinkeller, 8 Acres and Short Flat vineyards. They all share red volcanic clay over limestone soils.

I tasted the 2017 Vat 9 Shiraz twice on this weekend, with similar results. It is a bright and elegant wine. The purity of cherry and forest berry fruit stands out. This is a medium-bodied wine with some fruit intensity. However, the hot vintage did not translate into any heat in the wine - a result of old vines knowing how to behave, I think. This wine is very smooth, with velvety tannins and a silky finish - a beauty (96 points)!

The 2014 Vat 9 Shiraz is even better. It is similarly built, but a bit more savoury now, with a fantastic silky and intense finish (97 points). 

The 2009 Vat 9 Shiraz could not match the former two. It was a bit firmer in fruit, and not as elegant. There was clearly more focus on extraction and the tannins were a bit coarser (93 points).

The single vineyard horizontal tasting consisted of the 2017 vintages of Mother's Shiraz, Old Hut Shiraz, and Stevens Shiraz. The fruit from these vineyards is quite young. The wines show good promise, but at this stage are not at the same level as the Semillon wines (91-93 points).

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