My panel and I have been lingering over some absolutely divine fortified Portuguese examples of Moscatel judging at Decanter World Wine Awards this last week. Soooo grateful they were the last flight on two days – these luscious wines are not to be rushed or spitooned! Watch this space for details of the producers once revealed.
Meantime, Innocent Bystander Moscatel 2011 – a very different style of Moscatel - makes the cut for my May Wines of the Month together with perennial favourite, Wynns Black Label 2009 – a benchmark Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon on scintillating form.
Innocent Bystander Moscato 2011 (Victoria), with Rococo White chocolate Cardamom and Saffron Ganache
I’m a huge fan of this gently sweet and sparkling (Moscato d’Asti style) pink Moscato, so popular Down Under that it’s available on tap from its very own bright pink EcoKeg (click here for a pic). Next time you’re at Sydney Opera House, check it out in the Opera Bar! Rose petals and fresh ginger add lift and animation to its delicate red berry fruit, as does fresh balancing acidity. With sparkling wine, Rococo’s Seraphina Evans recommends going sweeter and lighter when it comes to the chocolate match. White chocolate is perfect and goodness gracious me, this extraordinarily subtly spiced ganache and wine combo summoned to mind the boxes of Ambala Barfis my dad used to pick up in Bradford – toothsomely sweet, deleriously delectable Indian desserts! But, like the wine, there’s a gossamer levity here too – or am I just kidding myself Malteser style (the honeycombe middle that weighs so little)!?!?!?! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this combo is guaranteed to paste a smile on your face. The wine: RRP (half bottle) £6.99 (Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, North and South Wines). Click here for more Aussie wine and chocolate matches.
Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Coonawarra)
This perennial favourite is on great form. Tasted over three days, it just keeps building, initially showing some malty oak but soon cutting to the chase with concentrated, well-defined but glossy black berry and currant fruit, cassis and chocolate and balsamic, violets and liquorice as it opens up. A long, persistent finish teased out by a grainy but well polished chassis of tannins tells you this can go the distance (and, on ageworthiness, click here for a report of a vertical back to 1958). I suspect this vintage has yet to make it to the UK – Gondola wines are currently on the (also very good) 2005 vintage, Corking Wines on the (very good) 2006 as are Hailsham Cellars, while earlier this year, The Cooperative ran a great promo on the 2006/07 vintage. It costs around £15.