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?