Not for the first time this week, I’m playing around with the Old World, New World concept (see my Wines of the Month here). Yes, it’s true Taylor’s Scion Tawny, which I blogged about on Tuesday here predates the rarified fortifieds I tasted at the Landmark tutorial, but then it’s an exceptionally rare wine - £2,500 a pop tells you all you need to know!
No doubt my two Australian fortifieds are no snip and the latter is, in particular, a real rarity. Both would hail from vines planted on own roots, as is customary in most parts of Australia in contrast to the Old World. So here are my Australian beauts – the Morris pictured above in full “flow.”
1910 Seppeltsfield Para 100 year old Vintage Tawny Mataro/Shiraz/Grenache, Barossa Valley – lovely age to this, with savoury nam pla, dates, treacle toffee and deep spice notes with a carraway edge on the nose. In the mouth it has a spicy dryness about it – wow, this is evaporation at work, concentrating this wine to within an inch of its life. Puts me in mind of a century plus old solera Madeira. But what’s left is the essence of life! It has an INCREDIBLE concentration of spice, almost painful (even though, surprise, surprise given my surname, I like spice), with earthy fenugreek, dark, slightly bitter clove and sweet and sour tamarind. You could stand a spoon in it, or so I thought until I tasted the Morris 1928!
1928 Morris Rutherglen Muscat a Petit Grains Rouge – this has an incredible depth of colour - a rich mahogany core with an eyecatching, quite beautiful, saffron gold lining which burnishes the glass on the swirl (pictured*). While there’s a spirity edge to the nose, this is more PX from Spain in its unctuousness – you could stand a spoon, knife and fork, maybe even a plate in this! Texturally, it’s buttery almost, cod liver oil texture, and yet it feels good for you. Very good for you. At any rate, it certainly tastes it, showing strong varietal character 80 years on, with a floral note to its raisiny core. But the mouthfeel provides the most excitement – it just spreads over the palate, permeating every millimetre, every pore (if such a thing exists, existentialists?) of the palate, slowly but effectively. Though the nose had a spirity edge, by the time it’s advanced to the back palate, one questions if there’s any spirit there? The most tactile wine I’ve ever tasted and the very essence, the very spirit of raisin.
Exciting stuff – thank you, thank you for both these magic wines!
* With thanks to the Marlborough man of wine, my fellow Landmark student Tony Love, for lending his swirling hand to this pic!