The Tyrrell's semillon that has swept all before it.

GOLD: Chris Tyrrell with the 2009 semillon, ready to step in to replace the highly acclaimed 2005 Vat 1 semillon. Picture: Simone De Peak.
GOLD: Chris Tyrrell with the 2009 semillon, ready to step in to replace the highly acclaimed 2005 Vat 1 semillon. Picture: Simone De Peak.

South Australia must be sick to death of the Tyrrell family – they’ve clearly taken this deja vu thing way too far.

This week Tyrrell’s took out the award for top semillon at the prestigious Adelaide Wine Show with their outstanding 2005 Vat 1 semillon. 

Nothing surprising there as Tyrrell’s are regular winners on the wine show circuit.

But here’s the amazing thing: it’s the 17th time in the last 20 years that Tyrrell’s have won the award.

And what’s more, for the past six years they have won it with the same wine.

“I knew we had won the award for top semillon quite a bit, but I had no idea it was 17 times,” owner Bruce Tyrrell said. 

“That’s the thing that pleases me most. Any mug can win a gold medal here or there, but to be able to do it consistently … that’s what it’s all about. We’re really pleased.”

But long overdue relief might finally be coming the way of the beleaguered South Australians.

“We think it’s time we put the ‘05 into retirement,” Tyrrell said. “We will re-release it next year as a museum wine as part of Tyrrell’s 160-year celebrations. It has won 52 gold medals and 28 trophies for us over the years, so it deserves a spell.”

Ironically the 2005 very nearly never made it to the show circuit.

There was divided opinion over whether the 2005 or 2006 Vat 1 semillons were the better wine. Tyrrell was in the camp of those favouring the 2006 vintage, but was voted down.

“There was nothing in them, and we all knew they were both cracking wines. I reckon if we had gone with the 2006 it would have been just as successful on the show circuit,” Tyrrell said.

But that doesn’t mean the pain for South Australian winemakers is over. Far from it.

Just as Black Caviar retired from the horse racing scene, and rival jockeys and trainers breathed a sigh of relief, suddenly along came another champion in Winx.

With the 2006 at the same stage of development as the 2005, there’s a ready-made replacement in the 2009 vintage.

“It’s a beauty too,” Tyrrell said. “It’s aging slowly and gracefully and has won a swag of medals and trophies in its own right.”

We couldn’t let Tyrrell go without asking him about the stunning 2005.

“It has hit its peak and won’t get any better now. That’s why we’re retiring it.

“It will still last for a lot of years yet – it is still in terrific shape – but that freshness will go and you will see more of those honeyed flavours coming through.”

So, I asked, do you get sick of winning?

“Get sick of beating South Australians?” he said. “You never get sick of that.”

This story The wine that just keeps winning … and winning first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.