The Tyrrell’s team: Managing director Bruce Tyrrell, chief winemaker Andrew Spinaze and viticulturist Andrew Pengilly Picture: Hannah Rose RobinsonDURING2017 I received about 2000 wines for review and so selecting a year’s Top 10 involves agonisingly difficult choices. My Hunter palate led me to wines from this regionas tops in semillon, shiraz and chardonnay.
WINE OF THE YEARWine of the year and chardonnay of the year is theTyrrell’s2013 Vat 47 chardonnay, a white of superb balance and elements of nectarine, fig, lemon zest and flint, which sells for $70.It was recently judged one of best wines and the top Hunter in the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge.
BEST SEMILLONSemillon of the year is theMcWilliam’sMount Pleasant2009 Lovedale semillon, selling for$90. It unfolds an array of grapefruit, lemon zest, flint and toast and honey flavours.
BEST SHIRAZShiraz of the year is theMeerea Park 2007 Alexander Munro shiraz.FromIvanhoe vineyardgrapes, it’s got great balance and intensity.
BEST CABERNET SAUVIGNONMargaret River’sMoss Wood 2014 cabernet sauvignongets the gong as cabernet sauvignon of the year. Selling for $128, it has sumptuous blackcurrant flavour with underlays of mulberry, Turkish delight, chocolate and mint.
BEST SAUVIGNON BLANCThe $27-a-bottleShaw and Smith 2017 Adelaide Hills sauvignon blancis my best of this hugely popular variety. It has zingy gooseberry front-palate flavour, with elements of kiwifruit, green apple and gunmetal.
BEST PINOT NOIRMy best pinot noir is also from the Adelaide Hills winery of cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith. The$46Shaw and Smith 2015 pinot noirhas vibrant cherry front-palate flavour and a complex backup of pomegranate, spice and spearmint.
BEST SPARKLINGYou can pay a motza for bubbly, but on quality and affordability my choice is the TasmanianKreglinger 2007 vintage brut.For $38 at Dan Murphy’s, it has tiny, persistent bubbles, oatmeal scents and deliciously crisp strawberry, citrus, mineral and macadamia characters.
BEST RIESLINGFrom former Hunter winemaker Samantha Connew, the$35Stargazer 2017 Tasmania rieslingis my top riesling. It has fresh, crisp ruby grapefruit front-palate flavour, backed by preserved lemon, nashi pear, flint and mineral acid.
BEST ROSETop rosé is the$20HilltopsFreeman 2017 Rondo rosé,madeItalian-origin rondinella varietybyex-Sturt University wine science professorBrian Freeman. It melds strawberry, peaches and cream, apple and mineral characters.
TOP VALUE OF THE YEARMy top-value wine isthe$25De Iuliis 2016 shiraz made by Michael De Iuliis. At the 2017 Hunter Wine Show it won the best young shiraz trophy and has an array of palate-pleasing blackcurrant, Morello cherry, spice and spearmint.