Robert Parker compared the sweet wines of Tirecul as the most notable sweet wines from anywhere in the world. A lot is written about terroir, soil and microclimates. You often question how much of it is true, how do people know exactly why the wines work out the way they do? At Tirecul however, you can really see it in front of you. There aren’t many estates where you can see all the vineyard in one block. At the bottom of the hill it is too open, and the top of the hill it is too windy. It’s only in two little pockets that the fog sits to create the conditions for some truly phenomenal botrytis wines. It’s a bit of a Goldilocks site, all the quirks of nature are ‘just right’.
90% of the 9ha vineyard is planted with an even split between Semillon and Muscadelle, the latter is a fascinating variety, often in the background but it can be the real star of the show. The balance is Sauvignon Blanc and the recently allowed Chenin. The exact blend of the sweet wines is unknown because the grapes are picked when they are showing the best elements of botrytis and fermented together. Bruno Bilancini has run the estate since the early 1990s, in the last few years has also produced very good dry white and red which are showing real promise.