Wednesday, January 5, 2011


- Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
- $40-$59
- Cork (crumbled)
- 10.3%alc

Nearly 4 years ago I reviewed the 1999 Vat 1, awarding it 95 points and finding it one of the finest, most texturally inspiring Hunter sems I've ever had. However, even in 2007 I felt it was near peak, but there was a devilishly curious voice inside my head that told me to sit a bottle aside for another 4 years to see what happens then. Well, 2011 is here now and I just can't wait anymore!

For the third time in 4 years Tyrrell's 1999 Vat 1 has presented me with a busted cork, but once over that minor disappointment it's all uphill from there. Its secondary characters have well and truly nestled in now, with aromas of toast, creamed nuts and honeyed wheat puffs being expressed in a far more exaggerated fashion than in 2007, while its citrus profile makes a statement through a fleeting scent of citric marmalade spread across buttered toast. Despite being rather savoury initially and definitively fluffy, the palate shows a fair amount of tang to progress. Its upfront tones of multi-grain toast, butter and vanilla pod go through a complex transitional stage touching on green capsicum, before emerging with a honey-dipped lemony lift to fly through the back palate. There's a surprisingly tight grip of dry, tangy acids coating the wine as well, but it doesn't quite carry through to a marathon finish.

ü+ Although I hold a miniscule quibble with the length here; the extra degree of complex character gained through bottle age, whilst still retaining freshness and acid structure, has resulted in a wine which is no less brilliant now than it was several years ago. This is why Australians hide Hunter semillon under their beds. Drink now.
95 points


  1. Great wine. The '98 is even better (If you get a good cork).

  2. Oh no it isn't.

  3. Ah yes, the late 90's. Good times for Vat 1 and good times for Australian cricket. At least the Tyrrell's is still performing well...