NV Baileys of Glenrowan Founders classic topaque 17%

Baileys is a winery we detour to when travelling along the Hume Highway from Melbourne. Just out of Glenrowan, the visits I recall have largely been during summer heatwaves where the eucalyptus oil is heady in the air, or during winters when rain is lashing along. In both situations, the winery is a welcome relief.

For sentimental reasons (written about earlier) I have a longstanding affection for the luscious fortifieds and traditionally-styled bold  ferrous reds of Baileys. Harry Tinson’s legacy is respected by talented winemaker and custodian Paul Dahlenberg. So I should like the wine.


Topaque is the revised name for the Australian fortified Tokay. Unusually for this young, fortified muscadelle style, the wine is sold in normally sized 750ml bottle (rather than the more common 375ml or 500ml). Its an amber colour, with a khaki rim; malt and digestif biscuit dominate the aromatics, with a touch of sea, seaweed and iodine adding to the intrigue. It is rich and inviting. But that’s where the highlight reel tails away; the palate displays ample but simpler butterscotch characters. While there is no doubting its sweetness, it’s a bit of a letdown after that bouquet, and overall something is missing. There is some rancio from wood aging; there is ample acidity to cut through the sweetness; I’ve struggled here and ultimately concluded that the bottle is a bit stale (a batch or storage issue); as the result does not match other tastings of this wine over the past two months.

It still represents excellent VFM, and many will appreciate this wine more than I did.

Drink now, but this bottle only merits 85 points


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