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¡ New World Icons ! pt.1
One of Australia’s founding wine families established in 1858, hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Now headed up by 4th generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, they produce some of Australia’s most iconic and awarded wines.
Tyrrells’s Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon is one such wine. This is the pinnacle of one of the world’s truly distinct wine styles. Hunter Semillon produced in this style has a seemingly endless lifespan of development, gaining complexity over decades in bottle. It’s little wonder Vat 1 is considered a global icon.
In recent times Tyrrell’s Sacred Sites have come to the fore. Some of the oldest vineyards in the world, and all planted on own-roots, likely originating from the Busby Collection. These are truly remarkable wines, largely produced from Shiraz. Taste wise they are closer to Chambolle-Musigny than Hunter Shiraz – the perfect wine for a blind tasting.
The original Henschke family immigrated to Australia in 1841, settling in South Australia over the next decade. In the early 1860’s they planted a vineyard on Parrot Hill, in the Eden Valley. This would later become known as the Hill of Grace – now one of the world’s iconic vineyards.
The Henschke name has gone from strength to strength since these early days, with 5th generation Stephen the winemaker and wife Prue heading up the viticulture. “Prue and I are the current ‘keepers of the flame’. Just as earlier generations have done, we want to manage the vineyards and winery so they can be passed on to the next generation in better condition than we inherited them” (Stephen Henschke).
True to their Germanic roots the Henschke’s still have a focus on the aromatic whites which are very much at home in the Eden Valley. Riesling forms an important part of their stable. However it is with reds that the global reputation has been built. Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone are two of the oldest single vineyard wines produced anywhere in the world, as well as two of the most sought after. Their farming is biodynamic, and organic where possible – with sustainability at the heart of everything the family does.
“Ask any international critic to mention their top 5 prestige fine wine producers in South Africa and without doubt Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines will feature in the lineup regardless of whether that person is a Syrah or Chenin Blanc obsessive” (Greg Sherwood MW). We’re on board… It’s pretty rare to find such uniform quality throughout a producers whole range, but that’s exactly what we’re found here.
The Single Terroir releases have really cemented the global reputation of Mullineux in recent years. Supreme expressions of Syrah and Chenin Blanc which represent the pinnacle of modern South African wine.
Based in the Swartland region they focus on old vine material, aiming to “bottle wines that are a true reflection of the Swartland” – this is a philosophy eerily consistent with the top producers of the Old World. Winemaking is strictly minimal intervention, further allowing the wines to show typicity and speak of place.
In a relatively short space of time, this North Canterbury producer has quickly established themselves at the pinnacle of New Zealand wine making. I’ve been fortunate to taste many a bottle, both Chardonnay and Pinot, young and mature, during my formative years in the trade – they truly are world class.
“A special corner of my cellar is devoted to the wines of Bell Hill. I’m a bit miserly with my precious Bell Hill bottles” (Bob Campbell MW).
A special site, planted at extremely high density on limestone rich soils of an old lime quarry. It has all the ingredients for outstanding potential, and guided by Marcel and Shewyn Giesen this is exactly what has resulted. All farming is by organic and biodynamic principles, and yields are naturally restricted by the cool climate. These are modern day icons of the wine world, competing against the best of the best