Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Is there a better Semillon than the 1999 Tyrrell's Vat 1? Possibly

There may be and I will get to that in a minute.  The 1999 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon is considered by some to be the best Semillon ever made.  It is featured in the book 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die.  And 1999 was an iconic vintage for Hunter Valley Semillon.

I love the 1999 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon and am fortunate to have a little under a dozen left.  I also love some of the older (especially the 1992) Waverley Estate Semillon.  But let's stick with the 1999 vintage for a while.  This was a great vintage.  Meerea Park makes great wines and along with Tyrrell's and De Iuliis, are my three most favorite wineries in the Hunter Valley.  Meerea Park has the 1999 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon which is comparable to the 1999 Tyrrell's Vat 1 in quality.  It is slightly different in style, but both are classic Hunter Valley Semillons and I have faced these two off against each other previously with split results as to which one is better.

Yesterday, I opened a bottle of the 1999 Meerea Park Terracotta Semillon and what a treat that was!  While cheaper than the Alexander Munro, this is a magnificent wine with quite a different style to the Alexander Munro or the Vat 1.  It is slightly less acidic, tastes of honeyed flavored roasted nuts, caramelized pear with a touch of citrus, and could almost pass as a dessert wine (if it was sweeter still).  This would make a great wine to pair up with quiche, fritatta, or anything else with eggs.  (As if I really need a 'breakfast' wine!)

I had this wine last night with a mushroom risotto and it matched better with the risotto than the Nuits St George Burgundy which I also tried.  (I wanted to try both to compare.)  Most wine critics would recommend a Pinot Noir with a mushroom risotto, but the 1999 Meerea Park Terracotta Semillon was excellent (of course, I also used 100 ml of the Terracotta Semillon in the risotto!) and matched better than the Nuits St George Burgundy at three times the price!

I tend to like my white wines dryer - as in Riesling, and more acidic and on edge - as with aged Chardonnays, but when it comes to Semillons, I find the slightly sweeter and honeyed toasted flavor to be more to my liking.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the 1999 Tyrrell's Vat 1 and the 1999 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillons, but the 1999 Meerea Park Terracotta Semillon has won my heart as the one to match up with a lot of different food dishes!

This is a great wine for the money and worth trying.  Check with Meerea Park or on auction sites to see if you can find some - it is well worth the money.

Steve Shipley
Twitter: @shipleyaust
My other blog (on business, tech, world issues):  Steve Shouts Out!

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