A New South Wales vineyard has taken out top honours at the prestigious Sydney Royal Wine Show, in what has been another tough year for winemakers.

Key points:

  • A Hunter Valley vineyard has won four top prizes at the Sydney Royal Wine Show
  • Judges said the best wine, a semillon, had “distinction, purity and expression”
  • Winemakers are hoping for a strong vintage next year

Tyrrell’s 2013 Vat Semillon became the first semillon to take the Best Wine of Show trophy in eight years, picking up another three gongs at the national awards for the Hunter Valley family.

Judges for the Sydney Royal Wine Show sampled more than 1,700 wines over four days of competition, finding the Tyrell semillon to be the top drop.  

“As with any great wine, there must be distinction, purity, and true expression, all bundled up with absolute balance and harmony,” chair of judges P-J Charteris said.

“Tyrrell’s 2013 Vat 1 Semillon, while mature at nearly nine years old, is just hitting its straps.”

The managing director of Tyrell’s Wines, Bruce Tyrell, said the winning entry had proved itself with eight trophies in eight years.

“It’s got a pretty fair track record,” he said.

Mr Tyrell remembers 2013 as a good year, particularly for white wines.

“The climate and the weather during that vintage didn’t force us to make decisions we didn’t want to make so we could take our time, pick when we wanted, and get the fruit in perfect condition,” he said.

Hunter Valley vineyard, wine, grapes generic

More than 1,700 wines were sampled to determine the best wines across Australia.(ABC News: Dan Cox)

Stand-out chardonnays and strong sparklings

The judges said chardonnays were also a “stand-out” this year.

Orlando’s 2018 Lyndale Chardonnay from South Australia’s Barossa Valley won Best Chardonnay, while the Best Single Vineyard Wine was also won by a chardonnay, Shottesbrooke 2020 Single Vineyard Series from Adelaide Hills.

Small Victorian producer Sutton Grange Estate won Best Red for its 2018 Syrah. 

Sutton Grange also took home the trophies for Best Small Producer Wine and Best Shiraz.

Coldstream Hills 2015 Blanc de Blanc led the way for Australian Sparklings while De Bortoli Wines 2019 Woodfired Sparkling Shiraz won Best Sparkling Red.

“The top-end sparkling exhibits were strong, which has been the case for a number of years now, but one of the often-overlooked highlights are the Fortified Muscat and Topaque wines, these are national treasures without peer in the world of wine,” Mr Charteris said.

“We need to celebrate these wines and the effort that goings into making them more often.”

St Anges Distillery won Best Brandy, and Morris Wines took out the Best Fortified category with a muscat.

Bruce Tyrrell from Tyrrell's Wines in the Hunter Valley

Bruce Tyrrell said he knew the winning wine was special from early on.(Supplied: Bruce Tyrrell)

Hunter vintage looking positive

With less than six weeks until vintage 2022 is picked, Mr Tyrell hopes the family can continue its winning streak.

“We’ve either won best wine of show or best white of show, each decade since the 1970s,” he said.

Hunter winemakers have pushed on through droughts and smoke taint in recent years, before a significant downturn in visitors and cellar-door income throughout the pandemic.

Exporters like the Tyrell’s have also had to find new markets after China slapped significant tariffs on Australian wines.

“The last couple of years have been tough,” Mr Tyrell said.

“You’ve just got to keep trying and striving.”

Posted , updated 

Eight-year-old Hunter Valley semillon takes out top wine honours
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