October Wines of the Month: Old World New World?

Great wines came so thick and fast on my Australia trip that I couldn’t get my ahead around which wines to select for October’s Wines of the Month.  Too hard!  Anyway, I’m back home and, on due reflection, have selected a Chinon, the perfect autumnal red, from a new, cutting edged producer which The Wine Society’s Loire buyer Jo Locke MW was understandably excited to discover.  As for my white, I really fell in love with Hunter Valley Semillon Down Under.  This one comes from one of the region’s most established players, Tyrrell’s.  Pictured is The Slab Hut, hand built in 1858, from where Edward Tyrrell directed the first plantings.

Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 2002 (Hunter Valley) – Hunter Semillon needs time to blossom and this is most definitely in bloom, showing a bright, zippy core of lemon and lime with pithy spicy orange peel notes and hints of buttered toast.  Beautifully persistent, long and linear; drinking well now and, made from old vine fruit, will last ages – £25 at The Wine Society and Majestic or £19.49 at Hailsham Cellars.  See my notes of a vertical tasting here and watch this space for my report of a really top visit with Tyrrells earlier this month.

Alpha Loire Domaines Roche de Feu Chinon 2009 – a cracking modern Chinon from a cracking Cabernet Franc vintage, deeply coloured with a vibrant pink rim and as vibrant in the mouth!  It shows intense bilberry, blackberry and currant fruit – lovely ripeness, but animated – gently buffed by  fine powdery tannins.  Very approachable, good typicity too. £8.50 at  The Wine Society

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  1. Louis

    Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon is a wine that everyone should try, amazing nose and complexity. A real tribute to a commonly underrated variety.

    Topped off by the fact that the Tyrrell family, Bruce and Co are lovely people.

    • sarah

      Hi Louis, thanks for your comments – couldn’t agree more and I’m really looking forward to writing up the visit – the reds were incredibly exciting and I reckon the Hunter is on fire at the moment, reinventing the reds, while the Semillons effortlessly continue to offer world class drinking.


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