It’s been a while; juggling two new casual positions has been wearing; and a few intended posts have fallen victim to photographic mishaps, lost notes and wine faults. Hectot Lannibal will return in October with another Stoney Goose Ridge new release.
In the meantime, here’s a tasting note on a wine that is actually available for purchase!
Morris is a longstanding Rutherglen winery, recently offloaded by Pernod Ricard and acquired by Casella. I strongly hope that David Morris can continue to produce the full-bodied red wines including the memorable Durif, the amazing VFM Shiraz and other specialties, plus the plethora of fortified wines – Aperas (sherry styles) , Topaque (Australian tokay styles), Muscats in a range of calibres (and prices) and a vintage fortified.
“Classic” is the 3rd tier of quality hierarchy employed by most Rutherglen fortified makers; entry level is Rutherglen, then Classic, then Grand; “Rare” is the classification at the summit. These have longer barrel aging (generating more concentration) Finally the wines endure the judgement of peers; the wines are assessed for quality and adherence to style parameters, so the higher classifications tend to be older, richer, more concentrated.
More information about the classification system is here.
A useful opportunity at the Morris cellar door is to taste through the range side-by side from Classic to Rare, then try to exercise purchase restraint. I seldom escape with less than one dozen mixed bottles each visit.
Given that Morris makes a quality Classic Muscat at a lower price, the Cellar One Classic Liqueur Muscat is an “alternate” higher priced version (500 ml for $35 with a generous 20% discount for Morris wine club members), what is the story? My judgement is it’s a young wine but made from a blend of “better” vintages, and demonstrates alignment of fruit density with freshness, pointing that “classic” is a worthy, and broad-ranging classification level, not a poor relation.
It’s a clean bright light amber/khaki colour, with visible legs; as well as the typical raisin aromas and other dried fruits, there are voluminous scents of fresh rose petals and jersey caramel, the fortifying spirit seems neutral allowing these varietal characters to shine. Oak is not directly noticeable in this style, although it contributes to the rancio characters and a grainy, finely woody acidity. In this sweet fortified wine, bright flavours dwell in the mouth, coating all parts persistently while the acidity means the wine retains vibrancy and the imperative for further tastes.
Not meant to be cellared; exposure to this style should lead to a legion of new converts; and merits a merry 91 points.