Two inexpensive mature wines

richter s&k

2006 MF Richter Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett AP #35 9.5%
Mosel, and this bottle was found in a mini-stocktake. Few Kabinetts should be kept this long, so I was nervous. Cork was fine, and the colour was developed but not alarming.

Deep gold, but bright. Apple pie, sultana and raisin, citrus peel, sweet spices and mango. It’s full-on for a Kabinett, with 83 g/l residual sugar. On the palate, the mixed sweet spices are prominent, with redcurrant fruits, honeyed peach, mineral and citrus. The wine is surprisingly fresh, with excellent depth of flavour. Fully mature, it’s honest and a welcome surprise. My previous impression was posted on 15 July 2020 – and a relatively consistent note.

Drink up (it may have been better in the past) and 90 points.

1990 Stanton and Killeen Jack’s block (vintage) Port 18.5%
Rutherglen, Victoria 100% Shiraz. A recent – bargain – $33 auction purchase; rated 9.5/10 by the producer, it has assorted trophies and gold medals while the back label modestly proclaims, “optimum drinking around the year 2010”. A note on its sibling – the 1990  Moodemere –  was posted on 19 November 2018 with a similar note; this wine is slightly better!

Cork broke. The colour is developed ruby with bricking on the meniscus, mocha, camphor, floral, blackberry and sweet well-integrated spirit. Dark and dense, blackberry and red liquorice, mixed nuts, lavender, fine chalky tannins and light coffee. Lots of different aromas and intermittent flavours = complexity, and explain the score, I have many bottles from this producer, but can’t resist purchase when reasonable opportunities arise. Mature, but still vibrant and utterly delicious.

Drink to 2030, 94 points

Two older Australian Barossa fortifieds

1976 Penfolds Vintage Port

Bottle #5637 (Barossa Shiraz).  I’ve never seen or tasted this wine before- the Penfolds “rewards of Patience” book only mentions the tawny styles. Sweet but supple; red liquorice, aniseed, salted almonds, clean spirit, and this was easily consumed. Traditional, and enjoyable.

Drink to 2026, 91 points.

1987 Seppelt Vintage Fortified (Touriga) 20%
Barossa Valley, GR 124 “fortified with grape spirit” with lots of bling up to 2002 – and released around that time, based on back label comments. It was a recent auction purchase for $25.

I didn’t realise much Touriga was available in Australia then, destined for vintage fortifieds; although Lindemans released some Portuguese-varietal fortifieds around the late 1970s. Probably winemakers aspired to the drier and more “classical” in style, necessitating a move away from reliance solely on Shiraz.

Now (as in Portugal) there are also some dry red table wines made from Touriga, or blended with other varieties.

I was conflicted between “too old” vs “mellow for age”. It’s a light ruby colour. Roses, and rose-hip, red liquorice with a touch of mocha, even some earl grey. I’ve settled on “OK, but better previously”. Sweet fruit, immaculate sprit and there is still tannin. But as a pointer to the drier style, this would have thrilled ten years ago.

Drink now, 90 points.

A freak Alsace and a Rieslingfreak

2001 Zind Humbrecht Clos Jebsal Pinot Gris SGN 12%

2001 zh pg sgn 2021

From Alsace (France), a rare botrytised Selection de Grains Nobles (SGN) purchased at auction in late 2014 For $115. Previously reviewed on 29 June 2016, back then I gave it 97 points.

The cork was in excellent condition; the bright amber/copper colour of the wine caused some looks at the table, but all was forgiven – and more- when people smelled, and then tasted.

Baked apple, stonefruit – ripe peach and rich dark honey with some candied peel and dried fruits; palate (168 g/l) is lush yellow peach, pear, orange marmalade and spice notes. Outstanding. The sweetness level is high, but immaculately folded into balance. Gloriously enduring and hauntingly fresh tasting – irresistible. Magic again.

97 points, drink to 2028, but why wait? – this is a wine worth seeking too!

2017 Rieslingfreak #8 (Schatzkammer) 7%

2017 rieslingfreak #8

Medium-sweet at 50g/l, this is from the Polish Hill River sub-region of the Clare Valley.

2017 was a highly successful vintage for the area – and is well represented in my cellar. Winemaker John Hughes makes only Riesling- a numbered array showcasing various areas, styles, sweetness levels, including a fortified and a sparkling. Rieslingfreak (reverence of riesling)is a fantastic brand name!

Lemon zest with a dash of lime; apples dusted with icing sugar and lemon sherbet, with a dash of sweet spices; the palate follows through representing those aromas, and some light honey; pebbly acidity means the wine is lip-smackingly joyful and balances the level of sweetness. An excellent example of the style (roughly a Kabinett-weight)

I’m inclined to drink it in the next few years while it thrums with vibrancy.

Drink to 2025, 90 points

Two from Australia

1975 Yalumba Vintage Port 18%


Plenty of colour here- quink ink; then comes dark fruits, violet, mocha, almond notes and clean spirit. The palate is deep and voluptuous, relatively dry with an array of mixed fruit; blueberry, fresh plum, red cherry, spice notes and light coffee.  Fine chalky tannins, and a persistent aftertaste filled out the picture – delicious! This wine presented a conundrum – the colour was un-Portuguese, as was the mocha and faint liquorice- yet the complexity of flavour components and dryness pulled me in that direction. My first guess on its age was 1985, but I revised this to 1994 based on fruit vibrancy, Wrong on all counts, but this is a triumph for Barossa Shiraz from Australia. Two bottles were opened, the second was very slightly better, and fresher than the bottle I described!

Drink now, and 94 points.

NV Wynns Pedro Ximenez 17%
Coonawarra, South Australia. Bottle # 9053

Fortified, and light gold in colour, with exotic floral scents of spices and Cointreau, with vanilla and marzipan. The palate is sweet with the cardamon, dried green herbs and raisin notes powering through. Very smooth with vibrant clean spirit – unctuous and just a little cloying, but altogether satisfying with its honeyed richness.  The raisin and light malt notes pointed me to the variety, despite this being different to the air-dried Spanish PX. Perhaps I learned something from the Bullers PX tasted in 2019!

It’s a blend across vintages, with an average age of five years – one surprise to see a young fresh example, and another to find the wine is available (albeit with some hunting) for around $60 for the 500ml bottle.

Drink now, 90 points

A few different ports

1994 Gehrig Family Estate Vintage Port 17.5%
Barnawatha, on the outskirts of Rutherglen (Victoria). A recent very smart $25 auction buy. Although the cork failed to survive the corkscrew and ah-so, all was OK after the usual filtration. From “low-yielding old Shiraz vines”, it’s still a deep ruby colour with blackberry, bramble and sweet brandy vanilla. The palate is mellow and cuddly. There is fruity plum, blackberry and fig to satisfy the most fastidious with enough weight and tannin to maintain interest throughout.  Absolutely at its peak with cork gods indulgence. Terrific, and insanely delicious from a less-well-known producer.

1994 gehrig vp

Drink to 2026, and 91 points

1985 Warres Vintage Port 20%
Three different corkscrews failed to remove the cork cleanly, and plentiful sediment was successfully filtered out.

Ruby with some bricking, but the colour was still  flattering for a 36 year old Portuguese Vintage Port.. The wine is very stylish with fragrant mocha, fig, ripe red and black fruits and smart integrated mellow spirit. The palate adds almond notes, spices and the fresh as well as dried fruit flavours persist.

Drinking dramatically well now – and up to say 2030, and 95 points

1991 Seppeltsfield Para (21 year old) 21%
A single vintage tawny style, purchased last year at auction for $70. Around 40 y/o seems to be my preference in tawny styles; older wines can show extremes, meaning they are impressive but not entirely pleasurable; younger wines don’t achieve all the complexities the style is capable of. But 21 years is enough!

Seppelts (and Seppeltsfield) have unparalleled experience in this style with Para appearing in many guises. Mainly made from Grenache, there is the typical Seppelt khaki colour with a green tint. Beautifully assembled; there are all sorts of nut – almond and brazil with whispers of olive.  Toffee, caramel, mocha, hints of malt, salinity; clean spirit integrated and the end result in is a lush triumph. Rich with depth and acidy preventing any cloying. From a terrific red year in the Barossa

Drink now, and 93 points.

One sweet, one fortified

2011 Donnafugata Passita di Pantelleria Ben Ryé 14.5%
Half-bottle. From Sicily, Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria) air-dried, ending up with 203 g/l of residual sugar. On this island off Siciy, old bush vines are protected from the prevailing winds by terraces. The drying process means the grape-juice loss of perhaps 30%, with lots of manual handing (selecting, and de-stemming) with a flow-on to pricing. This is a super-refreshing dessert wine – no botrytis, no fortification, so there are – merely – the usual sweet wine production hazards of VA, lengthy fermentation and reduced yield. The air drying on mats or racks can add its own special dangers with humidity, insects and wildlife.  Further information from the producer is here. The wine will be hard to find in Australia, but one retailer sells a half-bottle for $80 (vintage not known).

This is a wine with distinctive character – narrow to some but mesmerising.

The colour was deep gold; scents came through with peppermint, vermouth-like herb and spices, and an overwhelming sense of apricots and other stonefruit, peaches, nectarine – a halfway house between over-ripe and tinned fruit. It’s a full-bodied wine of power and intensity. The exotically fragrant Muscat of Alexandria grape is expressed – winemaking here has been expert at preserving fruit vigour over artefact.

Drink to 2025, but it’s ready and will awaken jaded palates, so 93 points

NV Orlando Commemoration (tawny) Port
Another speculative auction purchase for just over $30, again from Barossa Shiraz, Carignan and Mataro, matured in small French oak with an average age of 15 years. So this “old liqueur port” is somewhat more than a generic commercial release, and probably hit the market in 1981 or 1982. Made in a deliberately oxidative style, any improvement in the bottle is marginal, and runs the usual risks of improper storage, cork failure, and potential loss of freshness. Decanting not only avoids sediment, but can alleviate initial aromatic oddities.

The contents have rested in a bottle for 40 years, and the cork broke when I tried to remove it. The art of blending this style is trying to ensure the blend is better than its components, getting depth and flavour complexity from older material, gaining the vibrancy from more youthful material.

I admire the squat bottle, black wax remnants and the charmingly retro label.

The colour is a amber, khaki and a lighter amber-tinted rim. Fresh and strong. The palate is a rich, smooth amalgam of mocha and light caramel, with vanilla present but not obtrusive, dried and stewed fruits, citrus peel., mixed spices- an assembly of passion. Everything sits smoothly,   

Drink now, 90 points

1976 Orlando Vintage Port 18.3%

This was a very recent speculative $20 auction purchase; a “limited special release”, Barossa Shiraz and Carignan, American oak, brandy spirit.

“Ideal for enjoyment now…potential for further cellaring”.
So, an each-way bet, although 45 years cellaring was likely beyond the writer’s imagination. Simpler times then, well before my interest in wine turned to an obsession, with fortified wines a mystery then – still partially mysterious.

The level was low neck., and the cork was stained but intact. There was abundant fine sediment. The high-cropping and well-coloured Carignan turns out to be more widespread in the Barossa than I thought, but its regarded as a second-rate variety confined to blends.

Blood-plum colour with some bricking, the fruit still remains with headsy brandy spirit, and just a gentle touch of mocha.  The palate is relatively soft but with a pleasant lick of tannin to finish. Plum and blackberry dominate, with a suggestion of blueberry, but nothing burnt or over-ripe. Sweet, old-fashioned, straightforward, invigorating, and ideal for a winter’s night of contemplation over the embers of the fire.

Drink now, and 88 points

Spatlese – one Mosel, one Nahe

2005 MF Richer Brauneberger Juffer-Sonneuhr Riesling Spatlese AP#22 8.5
Regarded as an excellent “all-round” vintage, this is a super-ripe spatlese (106 g/l residual sugar). Cork was quite wet.

Golden in colour, there’s a cascade of ripe pear, yellow peach, cumquat, and spicy dried fruits, with a suggestion of leafiness. The palate is rich, honeyed, spiced but beginning to show some drying characters.

Drink soon, and 91 points, although other bottles may be better given the state of the cork.

2007 Schafer-frohlich Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spatlese AP#26 7.5%
From the Nahe – a small area to the south of Mosel, but very similar in style, albeit Riesling is a smaller part of production and there is more focus on drier styles. Donnhoff and Emrich-schonleber are also quality winemakers.

Light straw colour, there’s some flytox, which dissipates, and then there are tropicals – pineapple, nettle, and abundant spices. Palate is red apple and cream, drizzled with honey; lingering, great depth. Hugely enjoyable

Drink to 2025, and 93 points

Half year report from Stoney Goose Ridge

We have reached 2021! All staff have returned from compulsory leave over the merry festive season, fully refreshed and prepared to devote full attention to contractual obligations and KPIs. As CEO, I, Hector Lannible am looking forward to another year of success, and proper reward for my fulsome endeavours.

Our financials remain astonishingly, spectacularly rock-solid; surveyed staff report Invigorated team engagement 24/7 with full focus, and unstinting praise for the calibre of their top management.

Project Overlord to re-insource services has not diluted the clarity of demonstrable accountabilities, with data and digitisation abstract acceleration improvements maximising value from our remaining vendor spend.

Meanwhile, our rivals’ overt incompetent mismanagement, plus COVID seismic headwind disruptions continues to wreak destruction – these greatly assist the unparalleled Stoney Goose Ridge growth trajectory mission.

For several years, our country’s educational and training institutions became obsessively fixated on luring international students and thought this windfall expansion would continue like a magic pudding. But the supply dried up, embarrassingly leading to redundancies, distressed asset sales, raids on fiscal reserves, and attempts at recapitalisation to remain afloat. Similarly, many of our alcoholised rivals fantasised on export opportunities primarily to one Asian country. The chickens have come home to roost, like rabbits in the headlights, leaving management with egg on their red faces. Demonstrating pedestrian inertia, their belated – meaningless – alleged headline strategy is to “pivot”.

Festooned with bonuses and rewards from the bonanza growth, they boasted with messianic fervour of their profound business acumen and strategic global initiatives. They basked in first-class junkets, seminars and other love-fests broadcasting their vison and expertise.  Now, they hypocritically seek life support subsidies to alleviate their inept “strategies”, squealing and bleating about their former economic contribution and bemoaning damage to their precious communities. The return of their undeserved STI doesn’t enter their reckoning, and ongoing pain is confined to their underlings, suppliers and downstream impacts. The mouthpieces have lost their credibility foothold leaving big shoes to fill. We hope assorted Government entities are not gulled yet again by these parasitic PR advocates and lobbyists.

Other businesses set up or repositioned solely to exploit niche marketing opportunities based on inbound tourism of one country. Surprise! They set up for eternal growth; and have been taken aback. They do not deserve to be propped up if their model is so inflexible. Business demands nimble agility. These companies should have focussed on their lifeblood knitting instead of the artwork of their business cards, advertising in foreign-language vehicles, and elaborate web paraphernalia.

These enterprises never bothered with risk assessment, contingency plans, exit strategies and other management fundamentals; my own extensive applied solution contributions have been well publicized within management journals and studied by MBA candidates, and countless CEOs, Boards and so on.. But clearly others lacked the imaginative interdisciplinary competency to apply these simple process template matrix panaceas.

I am completely sympathetic and compassionate for the casualties of corporate greed and bungling; the survivors are worthy of our care and support – but their senior management merits derision and lifelong exile from leadership.

Stoney Goose Ridge is virtuosic at exploiting support schemes, but entirely within the spirit and subject to the usual stringent qualification and reporting necessities; we abhor ad-hoc white-board special supplementary arrangements based on megaphone diplomacy and subliminal blackmail. As always, we support whistle-blowers to report improper activities of our competitors.

In the world of wine, short- to-medium-term, consumers will benefit through vinous firesales from companies desperate for cashflow from their excess stocks. The companies don’t care that much of the wine has been “tweaked” (aka sweetened) for export.  The use-by date looms for their inventory bloat. It’s a race to the bottom. When our antennae decoded and translated whispers, we rapidly diverted stocks to various insatiable export markets – clamouring for our product suite – just in time to avoid disruptions, truly a tribute to our Enigmatic intelligentsia.

And Stoney Goose Ridge has capacity to expand our footprint, to maximise the commercialisation opportunities by offering pitiful payments to our ham-fisted rivals for swathes of stock. We are vigilant for recruitment of discarded and disaffected staff. We thrive on volatility, fully leveraging the pipeline of interested mandates.

Celebrity endorsements of thought-leading influencers have been achieved. Our forensic scrutiny ensures no scandal or inappropriate historic actions affect potential sales, with iron-clad contracts ensuring behavioural value alignment compliance guarantees. Our customers are also happily cemented into lifestyle category relationships.

Our attention focuses on the cascade of launches of our excitement-inducing plethora of iconic innovative brand extension labels. New products are waiting in the wings just around the corner on the horizon. This confounds our competitors who wonder “what happened”?

We are fully prepared for the anticipated wannabe copycat attempts, typically with inferior products hastily cobbled together and pitched at lower RRPs. Truly shameful. Our legal forces are on red alert for even minuscule breaches to be punished with exemplary damages.

Vintage has started, and “best ever” is our mantra, regardless of climate or circumstances.

Inspirationally yours in 2021, Hector Lannible

Impressions, again

2009 Zilliken (Forstmeister Geltz) Saarberger Rausch Riesling “diabas” 12.0%
Mosel, 16g/l residual sugar. Pale lemon colour, which leads to scents of passionfruit, quince, pear, red apple, and ginger spice. The palate is brisk, showcasing lemon, nashi pear plus salinity, minerals and depth. It’s rounded, textured mouthfeel, and acidity carries matters along with conviction. This wine is not dry, but not even approaching Kabinett level, and it’s drinking right in the zone.

Drink to 2025 while its fresh, complex and completely delicious – 91 points.

2007 Seppelt GR 27 Vintage fortified 19%
Barossa Valley (South Australia). Shiraz and Tinta molle.  Half-bottle with an abbreviated cork and abundant sediment. Decanting essential! Ruby colour with the beginning of some bricking. Rose-petal, sweet spices, sweet dark fruit and liquorice. The palate is soft, with the dark plum, blackberry and figgy fruit, mocha and brandy spirit in mellow harmony with a lingering spicy kick..

Drink now, as the structure may outlast the fruit – 89 points