Tyrrell’s Futures Semillon 1986
|Tyrrell’s Futures Semillon 1986
A sprinkle of magic
25 years old. 25 years young even. What makes this wine attractive is a matter of simplicity. Of purity and length and ‘I can’t believe it’s 25 years old’ youthfulness. In truth it’s probably a simple wine, one produced from good – but not top shelf – grapes, and crafted in a style that was probably not intended to still be kicking 25 years on.
It’s this combination however that makes this Semillon something of an enigma. An enigmatic wine, produced in an enigmatic wine region and crafted from an enigmatic variety, all of which makes me excited. Excited about it’s vinosity, about the fact that it’s simple but simply awesome (in it’s mode).
Stepping back a bit, this wine came to me from renowned Hunter winemaker Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas (he of Thomas Wines). Thommo brought it down as part of a 10 year vertical of his blingworthy, trophy loving Braemore Semillon, arguably the most famous white wine in the Hunter Valley and, again arguably, one of Australia’s longest living white wines.
But hold on, this comes from the Tyrrell’s stable, not Thomas Wines, how does that work? Well Thommo made it, watched it go down the bottling line and picked it out as something special. Hence why he’s still got some now and why he still shows it.
The value is just how good it looks now. Apparently a variable beast (fuck you cork) this particular bottle looked genuinely vibrant, glowing yellow in the glass and smelling of toast and nuts and buttercups and sweet things, all mixed with lemon honey juiciness for good measure. It’s open and generous and comforting, with both sweet open flattering softness as well as ‘I’ll do it my way’ citrus. Ultimately it’s an old wine – though not a tired one – with a vibrant yellow apple, custard and buttery opulence finished off with slightly tart acidity and no shortage of length.
Again what I like most about this wine is just how bloody fresh it is. It’s 25 years old yet is lighter, more tactile and more layered than many 5 year old showstoppers. As a result I was excited. Others may not have felt it but I loved this wine, loved swishing it around my mouth and reveling in the toasty Semillon goodness. Big yes. A big ‘fill that glass back up’, ‘do you have another’ simple loveliness. Mike Bennie put it best with one word – ‘life’. Wine alive…
|Thomas Bramore Semillon
As mentioned this wine followed at the tail end of a vertical of Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon, a vertical that really deserves a full post of it’s own. I didn’t take proper notes though so all I can offer up is this little tidbit.. buy some! Buy the cooler, wetter, quixotic vintages in particular like the 06 (which is currently available) or hunt down the 04 (my super favourite) and 02 (the good bottles). Drink them cold, with whiting or sardines or anchovies or calamari or even just by themselves, just to prove to yourself how awesome these older wines are.
It sounds a bit indulgent (and nepotistic given the fact that I’m friends with the winemaker) to describe this as one of the most drinkable white wines in the land but I just don’t care. Even the ‘off vintages’ – like the 2010 – mysteriously disappeared from my glass. Truth be told all that really counted against this group of wines was age (or a lack of it), with the 08 and 09 in particular looking angular and pre-pubescent.
The joy here though is the tension. Those aforementioned younger wines haven’t quite got it yet but, chameleon like, once the wines past 5 years of age they seem to metamorphose into glory. The joy, for me at least, is that juiciness – without sweetness – that makes the wine solemn as a youngster but more glorious the longer you can leave it post 5yrs of age (right up until 20 years of age for the top wines).
Ultimately, all I can do is quote Jancis when referring to wines like this:
‘Hunter Semillon is Australia’s gift to the world’
Nice work Jancis.