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The Wise One, 10-y.o. tawny. Idiosyncracy on stilts?

discovery

#1

I’m at a loss for words. But this is no way to start a tasting note, so I’ll give it my best shot.

I’ve got a bit of a thing going on at present to work my way through a load of 10-y.o. tawny ports. The idea is to discover and appreciate the range of different wine types offered under this heading.

This isn’t a port. I just thought I would temporarily branch out into other similar wines from elsewhere. It’s a (vaguely) tawny port-like wine from Langhorne Creek, that area near and south from Maclaren Vale in S. Australia. It’s made by Bleasdale who supply several other wines to the Society.

Reportedly, it is made from a blend of Verdelho (one of the grapes frequently used to make white port) and Shiraz, the red Rhone grape never used to make port. It is muted in the same way as port, and the barrels are reputedly stored in the rafters of the winery to experience the full “benefit” of the S. Australian sun.

The result? Try to imagine a blend of 50% tawny port, 40% Malmsey Madeira, 30% of some obscure southern French Vin Doux Naturel, with an added shot of
undisclosed floral extracts, plus several tablespoons of added sugar. If you see what I mean - it’s certainly larger than life.

On the nose, there is a certain affinity with aged tawny ports, though you can’t escape the fact that totally different grapes are at work here. I can’t say it really smells much of Shiraz either, possibly because it had the alcohol added a very early stage. On the palate, the maderization is more noticeable, though the aromatics noticeable on the nose do continue, so it’s not a sudden jolt. The aftertaste goes on for some while. The sugar level is substantially higher than you normally find in tawny ports, maybe by 50% or more I would guess.

This wine is really its own thing. I’ve had various other fortified wines from Australia, and this one doesn’t really resemble anything else I have tried. I’m pleased to have been able to try it, though right now I’m not certain I feel the need to repeat the purchase.

Anyone else tried it?


#2

Wow. Haven’t tried it myself, although it’s been on my wishlist for yonks, so it’s great to read this, thanks for sharing.

Think I still want to give it a go, but it’ll help that I now know to expect the unexpected, if that makes sense…!

:+1:


#3

Yes - that’s probably the way to approach it!


#4

I have drank it around Christmas time for several years now and it is always a crowd pleaser. Its best served lightly chilled and during the summer it could live in the fridge!
I always enjoy drinking this :sunglasses:


#5

No, but now I absolutely HAVE TO


#6

Anyone else tried it?

Oh yes. I bought 3 bottles in 2014 and have drunk 2 so far. It’s my go-to wine when I want something rich and sweet and don’t fancy a port. Not a frequent occasion as you can see as I mostly drink wine with a meal and this is a ‘vin de contemplation’ to be drunk by itself, preferably with friends. Very good in that situation.


#7

I think I’ll try this when my Warre 2000 LBV runs out.


#8

Oh wow, after your description @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis, I will have to try it. Sounds right up my street.


#9

Its a real bargain and agree its like a cross between Tawny and Madeira


#10

Did you not try it in Newcastle? Was one of the most popular and was the 3rd most sold wine after the two Aussie tastings.


#11

Infact the ONLY one I DIDNT try…:sob::sob:


#12

Ooh yes, this is a regular purchase in our household, and has been for about five years! Always have a bottle at Christmas and we’ve actually got a bottle from last Christmas we didn’t get to open… now I have an excuse. :smile:

Can definitely recommend with Xmas pud / mince pies.


#13

Have bought this around Christmas time last few years. Really enjoyable. The description by @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis is absolutely spot on.


#14

It is delicious on a winters evening in front of the fire. I had not considered idiosyncrasies as much as the way it easily slips down leaving you wanting another sip. I’m very happy to continue buying and hiding it from the other half so it has a chance to be enjoyed by me too.


#15

I had a bottle a few years back, one summer - and found it best chilled from the fridge, but even then was rather too sweet & cloying to my taste, perhaps they have changed the acidity level since then. Isn’t Verdelho one of the Madeira grapes?

Not it’s intended use, but it was a brilliant addition to a cream /mushroom / peppercorn sauce for chicken or pork! (as in madeira sauce).


#16

Indeed it is - which can only work towards some sort of “crossover” effect I imagine.