1996 SA Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1er trie 12.5%
Chenin Blanc, Vouvray, Loire Valley (biodynamic since 1990).
Huet is a famous maker, with a range including sparkling, sec, demi-sec and sweet. Clos du Bourg is regarded as its “top” site. Chenin Blanc is a high acid white wine variety, entirely undistinguished in Australia (although it played an important role in old Houghton White Burgundies, and there are a few brave producers persevering, such as Coriole).
The cork was unremarkable but had performed its task, and the colour was bright gold. Despite its sweetness level (70 g/l?) this wine was deliberately served with a meal as a savoury white wine. The acidity was completely integrated and concealed the inherent sweetness. Apricot, cumquat, baked apple, honey, marzipan and shortcrust; resoundingly fresh and savoury in intent (regardless of its analytical sweetness). Super-complex, it was just a delight to drink and a reminder of the potency of the best wines of the Loire (much harder to find in Australia than they deserve).
Drink to 2030, and 94 points (for surprise value, a higher score is warranted)
1971 Metala Vintage Port
Langhorne Creek, South Australia, likely Shiraz.
Langhorne Creek is not a “renowned” area for VP styles in Australia, but it’s full of surprises. Its longstanding contributions to the red wines of Wolf Blass cannot be ignored. Bleasdale makes an array of excellent Malbecs – and much more- Lake Breeze deserves greater recognition, as does Bremerton.
The label of this wine had effectively disintegrated, but it’s understood to have been recorked (and possibly tweaked) in 2015. Huon Hooke has an illuminating article on the recent buyback of the Metala brand here.
But it was another knockout to drink – another 51-year-old wine consumed only weeks after the All Saints.
Liquorice, dark fruits, cream and pie crumble, dark berries, dried fruits and the most startling feature was its freshness – a lovely piece of history.
Drink to 2030 and 93 points