‘My Thoughts on Cellaring’ with Chris Tyrrell

As a young wine collector myself, I, perhaps like you, am constantly confronted with questions on cellaring wine, i.e. when should I drink certain wines? Or perhaps should I sell certain wines? Is it too early to open the first of my only two bottles of Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin 2005?

The Tyrrell’s vintage chart was originally designed to aid our customers in receiving the greatest enjoyment from our finest wines. Today, while the average person has much greater access to wine than they did 30 years ago, the wine they are drinking is almost exclusively young wine. It could be argued these types of charts are equally if not more relevant today than they were in the past.

You may therefore be surprised to know that the Tyrrell’s vintage chart has always been seen as bit of “a thorn in the side” to us here at the winery, as we are constantly being contacted by people under the misapprehension that the advice given in the vintage chart is somehow either “written in stone” or the same thing as a “use by” date.

Like us, all wines change over time – they have a youth, a middle age, an old age, and finally, they will fade away. Exactly where on this developmental curve you most enjoy the wine will be a personal and subjective thing. Problems do arise when people have never been exposed to wines across this broad spectrum. How do you recognise great older wine when you have never seen one?

Take for example the 2007 4 Acres Shiraz, today, on the vintage chart, it states “needs further bottle age”, a notion I not only agree with, but insisted be noted on the chart. A friend of mine purchased a dozen of this wine on its release and rang me the other day to tell me he had just finished his last bottle, at which I replied with a barrage of expletives, basically telling him the wine was nowhere near its peak! To which he simply replied “but I hate old red wine, I don’t like the taste of it!”

Here in lies the problem with vintage charts: – Just because I like drinking mature red wine, does that mean you will and if you really only like drinking young wines, does my own preference in any way diminish your enjoyment?

In conclusion, I thought I would mention how I like to cellar wine.

If I know that the wine has a pedigree and is known for ageing, I will open one or two bottles in the first two years to assess it, then one every 5 – 10 years, or until the wine hits a point in which I think it’s drinking beautifully, and then I get stuck into it!!

Enjoy your cellars full of Tyrrell’s, and if you ever have any questions that the vintage chart cannot answer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at the winery.


For more information, view the Tyrrell’s vintage chart.

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