1993 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Port 18.6%

90% Shiraz, 5% Durif, 5% Touriga. Rutherglen, Victoria
This vintage was rated very highly by the late master winemaker Chris Killeen from Stanton and Killeen – it won 5 trophies and 13 gold medals when these were hard to come by. “Will mature and improve in bottle for up to 25 years” claims the label – accurately!

1993 S&K vp

Deep ruby with some bricking. Aromatic, violets and a hint of mint, wafts of sweet mixed spices. Mellow, rich and lush – camphor, raspberry jam, sweet dark fruit – mulberry, blackberry, raspberry and excellent brandy spirit. With more time, greater red fruit characters emerge – red cherry and red licorice; this renewed complexity and the wine’s memorable flavours linger, forcing a score upgrade!

Altogether integrated and delicious, on a lovely plateau. Outstanding.

To 2025 (or longer), 95 points

2001 Stirn Gewurztraminer Selection de grains nobles (SGN) 12.5%

Apologies everyone, WordPress has altered its editing tool to be extremely counterintuitive, with complex intructions about “blocks”. For the time being, my posts may look strange and clunkier than usual.

2001 stirn gwt sgn

From, Alsace France – which displays the exoticism of the Gewürztraminer grape to great advantage, whether dry, off-dry, or in this instance – very sweet. The term for heavily botrytised grapes in Alsace is Selection de grains nobles, usefully abbreviated to SGN.

From a 500ml, bottle, the cork was in superb condition. The wine is bright deep amber in colour with some copper highlights. Purchased at the winery in 2009 (€29.5), and accidentally cellared until now, it’s a welcome surprise that the wine has not merely survived but thrived.

It has floral grapey rose-petal and musk scents, tropical fruits, dark honey, ripe pear and honeysuckle- with a dash of sweet ginger spice mix. The palate is bright, rich and full of energy; rose-petals again, honey and viscosity, orange citrus tang– and of course it’s very sweet! Varietal identity is still recognisable – it’s aromatic, spicy and absolutely delicious.

Drink to 2025 (but why wait?), and 93 points

1998 Chateau Reynella Vintage Port 19% bottle #04293

McLaren Vale, South Australia.
When presented with what seemed like an Australian vintage fortified wine, the usual option question often resolved to “McLaren Vale (Hardy’s or Reynella) or North-east Victoria (Baileys, or Rutherglen candidates)”.

Selecting the McLaren Vale option involved dissection of the ripeness and extent of strident blackberry – sometimes with success. Another clue was the calibre of the spirit. Choosing between Hardy’s or Reynella fell outside my expertise.|

The previous bottle of this wine was in hindsight – oxidised.  This wine is youthful, despite the label helpfully suggesting “excellent drinking at ten to twenty years of age”. Many (Australian) wine show gold medals attest to its inherent quality. The cork was short but adequate, and its fine sediment merited decanting,

1998 ch reynella vp

Black red in colour, the wine displays overt ripe Shiraz – blackberry- nearly into jam territory – high-quality brandy spirit, and fresh sweet spices. Altogether this amounts to a special wine. Not overblown, not overripe, its dark fruits, concentration, ultra- fine tannins, and extended finish is manicured, and immaculately composed.

We have easy, slightly old-fashioned, delectable hedonism. It’s a model example of the Reynella style.

Drink to 2030, and 94 points

1996 Peter Lehmann “the King” (Vintage Port) AD 2017 20%

Barossa Valley, South Australia – Touriga, Shiraz, Cab Sav (53%/30%/17%)
The very odd labelling approach has the “recommended drinking date” (21 years from vintage) at least twice as prominent as the vintage. It takes careful reading of the back label to confirm the wine is a vintage fortified style! Congratulations marketing gurus, NOT.

1996 peter lehmann vp

The cork is adequate, and there is plentiful lumpy sediment evident with decanting. Definitely a bricky colour, the wine presents a world of soft comfortable old leather, mocha, a spice chest of potpourri, cedar and chestnut, blackberry and bonfires; the palate is luxurious; there is sweet brandy spirit, fresh dark cherry pie fruit, sweet coconut cream, liquorice and mixed spices contribute, and tannin is  in support. Altogether, it’s a fine drink to reminisce over, and its price was a derisory $20 some years back.

Drink to 2026, and 90 points.

MF Richter Kabinett Rieslings from 2006

Mosel, and Richter is known for its Rieslings that perform above their formal classification. Labels err on the traditional side.

A visit to Mulheim in 2007 had us revel with a range of their current release wines, and merry purchases of some very fairly priced older vintages. A winery tour including viewing their museum stocks was a highlight. Back in Melbourne, top-up purchases were mandatory. 2006 in the Mosel was a high botrytis year (along with its usual associated other rots). These Kabinetts were cellared longer than ideal, but still worth assessing. An expected highlight 2006 MF Richter Riesling Kabinett from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard was also opened, but was sadly somewhat oxidised (flytox, phenolic and flat). Corks on all bottles were acceptable for age. Basically these wines are ready to drink!

2006 richter kabinetts

2006 MF Richter Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett #5 9%
69 g/l residual sugar. Deep gold, this is somewhat more restrained than its sibling. It shows the ripe apple and trademark spices, with a dash of redcurrant. It shows greater earthy savoury elements on the palate. Texture comes to the rescue here, but it doesn’t quite have the vibrancy, complexity or drinking appeal of the next wine.

Drink now, 89 points

2006 MF Richter Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett #35 9.5%
83 g/l residual sugar, deep gold with some orange/bronze tints. Floral spices, ripe red apple, passionfruit, apricot and some more exotic tropical fruits. The palate exhibits yellow peach stonefruit, and is lush with mixed spices, minerals and clean acidity. It’s an excellent “heavy-weight” Kabinett, mouthfilling although texturally delicate, and has desirable, delicious drinkability.

Drink up, it’s in the zone, 92 points

Unrelated wines – catching up

1983 orlando vp july 2020

1983 Orlando Vintage Port 19.8%
Barossa Valley (South Australia) Shiraz. Solid ruby colour with minor bricking.  aromatic – sweet, fine brandy spirit; fig, plum, stewed rhubarb, blueberry; fruitcake spices. Later, red liquorice, cherry liqueur, and a touch of almond. Lingering fine tannins meshed with that superb spirit.

Delicious drinking but without the magic of the previous bottle (on this blog Dec 2019) albeit similar notes. No complaints at 37 years!

Drink to 2030, 91 points

2008 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett AP#3 7.5%
Mosel, Screwcap, and 48g/l residual sugar. Bright gold; citrus and Jonathon apple lead with brown spices and minerals; the palate shows juicy yellow-flesh peach, wrapped up with zingy acidity. The mineral influence shines through. The wine is easy to drink, but is not as expressive as most of the wines from one of my favourite Mosel producers.

Drink to 2025, 90 points.

 

2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett AP #19

2004 jj prum ws kabinett2004 jj prum ap

Mosel, 8.5% Light, bright lemon colour, with vibrant scents of red apple,and  ripe nashi pear.

Lime and mineral reign on a viscous palate that just floats along with apple crumble, spices, and texture. Pure, with plenty of acidity too – what a charmer – this is one of the best Kabinetts I have ever tasted. Although JJ Prum wines are renowned for longevity, and Wehlener Sonnenuhr is a marvellous site, this wine displays the magic of bottle maturation for even the humble, and affordable Kabinett classification.

Its tremendous vitality, balance and complexity, means drink to 2030 in comfort, and 94 points.

German wines should contain an approval number. From left to right the numbers indicate region, village, Estate, the lot number (a bottling number), and year tested (usually one year after vintage). The bottling number (the 19 in my photo) is key, and I have tried to list these with wines tasted. See the excellent Mosel Fine Wines guide for a greater explanation and why the AP number is important. Unfortunately, importers and auction houses do not always provide the information.

Cellartracker lists 4 different AP’s for 2004 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett. From the number of  different wines stored by subscribers, and their scores and comments, it seems I lucked into a superior AP – purchased at a local auction in 2013. I tasted a similar JJ Prum wine back in 2015, but didn’t have the understanding at that time to note the AP number, alas.

Stoney Goose Ridge releases a very ancient whisky!

Merely eighteen months ago, Stoney Goose Ridge rewarded customers with Two Fingers (gin) and the Old Wood Duck (vodka).  These now-well-established pre-eminent brands have deservedly obliterated the market share of many feeble competitors. Both products personify the relentless restless innovative drive embedded in our cultural DNA. Now, we aggressively initiate another triumphant brand extension foray into the finest luxury icon upper-echelon of malt whisky.

I, Hector Lannible, have long held a vision of producing a pinnacle whisky. It’s not just because of my distant forbears’ ancestral homeland; it’s also because I love the complex unadulterated gustatory organoleptic sensations of imbibing superlative whisky in temperate moderation. A welcome uptick to the Stoney Goose Ridge portfolio tsunami beckons as part of our nascent disruptive transformational adjacency agenda. Our singular ambition, alas, had to be deferred until anticipated astronomical arrangements arrived.

Stoney Goose Ridge is not another Jock come lately. We are in this business, long-term, to win accolades for ourselves. Market share, profits – and my eye-watering bonus – are inextricably inter-linked to customer satisfaction. When consumers purchase our marques, they triumph through taste, value and the envious admiration of onlookers.

Our launch efforts have barely been hampered by COVID. Unpaid interns were tasked with bringing my fervent, detailed creative strategies to fruition, propelled by my indispensable hyperactive mentorship. Signs are promising that conceivably one intern will distinguish themselves by potentially gaining eventual remunerated entry-level employment within the company. Time will tell.

Stoney Goose Ridge approached various vanguard Scottish Speyside and Highland whisky producers, with our specialised sourcing needs- an ultra-premium minimum 20-year-old whisky. Astute distillers welcomed this approach from the branding leviathan colossus of Stoney Goose Ridge. Cask samples were initially selected by the producers, then ruthlessly culled – by myself – in glittering sessions where I castigated the maltmasters (including their Lairds), and shamedly compelled them to provide superior examplars. They were entirely overawed and humbled by my expertise, and technically descriptive lyricism. Several companies were found disappointingly mediocre in the calibre of even their best offerings. Their cult reputation exceeds their quality and no parcels were selected.

Where we did make purchases, I am contractually obligated to conceal the names of the participating companies currently in production, but their identities are deservedly recognised amongst authentic cognoscenti.

Stoney Goose Ridge is justifiably notorious for its exhaustive diligence and archival exploration. We also hunted down extinct businesses – including those taken over or on-sold- to ascertain if ancient auld whisky spirit material had been bequeathed or squirrelled away to avoid the depredations of customs snoopers. This arduous mission required us to locate clannish families of retired or deceased employees, explore derelict properties and research property transfers, taxation records and so on ad infinitum. Where essential, facilitation disbursements were undertaken. In forensic archaeological fashion, we uncovered dusty barrels under staircases, in forgotten or abandoned storerooms, sheds, stables, crofts, outbuildings, pantries and other neglected areas.

To distil this thrilling narrative backstory, we incorporated material from defunct companies including Glenhaggis, Glenweebairn, Glensporran, Glenferrie, Glenshandy, Glenlochkirk, Glenmashie, GlenGreyfriars, Glenlassie, Glenbampot, Glenspurtle and Glendinnaken. We ensured that records met the exacting standards required for certified authentication evidentiary verificational substantiation audit compliance.

It was merely as matter of my formidably proficient extra-ordinary deal-making expertise. I’m renowned for leaving nothing on the table, not even the veneer (or Laminex) – the Svengali of mesmerisation. Truly win-win for Stoney Goose Ridge. When this negotiational process was over, the overall final optimised blend predictively proved sensationally stunning. In all, there are components from twenty companies, with every whisky element at least twenty years old. And my synergistic blending expertise ensured that the resultant master-blend was certainly, definitely, superior to any of its superb individual constituent portions.

The final result represents merely the tip of the iceberg, with magnitudes of hard labour hidden under the hood – or kilt?

Proudly, Stoney Goose Ridge generously releases Glen 20.

Truly, a worthy unrepeatable homage to Scots terroir, it’s bracingly fresh, strong, clean and distinctively aromatic. It really awakens memories with its air of “je ne sais quoi”. It comes complete with exceptionally lavish packaging, bristling with features including a stylish integrated resealable cascading dispensary apparatus.

Glen 20 typifies our corporate ingenuity, nimble agility plus exemplifies our systematic legal and contractual strangulation practices. The sticky footprint of Stoney Goose Ridge clientele will be literally magnetised by this limited-edition offer.

We are aware of another product loosely with a vaguely similar sounding nomenclature. There is no confusion. Our armada of legal para-practitioners are ecstatic to hurl down the gauntlet and exercise their limitless energy to inflict maximal embarrassment and financial penalties in myriad jurisdictions. Bring it on – we shall overcome!

With an Australian RRP of $666 for Glen 20, demand will certainly outstrip the minuscule limited supply available. Nevertheless, it’s been a worthwhile exercise in exhausting the stamina and creativity of my underlings. Add my canny negotiations, plus creative value-add talents exercised to craft the blend, the package, label, POS, and finesse the distribution, and voila, och aye hoots mon. A bonnie outcome! It’s another feather in the mighty cod-piece of Stoney Goose Ridge!

Glen 20 will be available exclusively for a limited time only from the finest worldwide beverage merchants from 1 July.

Drinks from different European areas

2008 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 7%
Mosel again, from winemaker Thomas Haag, with a short but serviceable cork. This wine was purchased from Eurocentric quite a while ago, and is in a great drinking phase.

2008 schloss lieser bjs spatlese

Bright gold in colour, it shows lime, icing sugar, and brown spice notes. The palate reveals more apple and mixed white and yellow stonefruit, with some green herb, plus the spices. It is sweeter than many in the spatlese category, but is poised for delight, being all too easy to drink and reach for more – the sign of a decent wine. Its racy, ready for enjoyment and shows no sign of fading.

To 2025, 92 points

2011 Georg Breuer Riesling Auslese 8.5%
From the Rheingau (Germany); another German area where most action is happening with the dry Rieslings – the Georg Breuer Berg Schlossberg is exceptional. But they have a range of sweeter styles too. Pale gold colour; fresh with dominant tropical fruits, particularly just-under-ripe pineapple. The wine still tastes fresh, honest and straightforward – enjoyable without providing dramatic highlights.

Drink soon, 87 points

1997 Trimbach Gewurtztraminer Vendanges Tardives 13%
Alsace (France). Buried in the cellar, and really should have been tackled earlier.

Pristine cork, and a bright deep gold colour. Vendanges Tardives (VT) is late-picked and my guess was around 40 g/l in this example. Tantalizing and unmistakable floral varietal scents – musk, apple, raisin and spices. Age and likely oxidation is showing with some furniture veneer and caramel aspects. Low acidity is a hallmark of the variety, and time has chipped away at this wine’s appeal. There is still rich mouthfeel, but it’s flatter than desirable, making drinking too much effort when othere wines are in reach.

Its peak drinking has gone by, so drink up – you may get a better bottle!

Two very different wines

Different ages, different variety, different hemispheres, but both provided drinking interest and satisfaction.

2008 zilliken sr kab

2008 (Forstmeister Geltz) Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett 7.5%
The company’s website is here. From the Mosel, still with a pale lemon colour. Aromatically it shows lime citrus, tropicals, spices and a sense of high acidity. The palate leads with red apple flavours, honeydew melon too, and those spices again, with a dash of pebble. Racy acid ensures the sweetness (60 g/l) is balanced. Some grip on the palate is minor quibble; the wine is drinking well.

To 2024 and 90 points.

2017 deen botrytis sem

2017 De Bortoli Deen Vat 5 botrytis semillon 11.5%
This wine is the junior brother of De Bortoli’s Noble One – more affordable , at well under $20 for a half bottle – and on its day capable of shading its more famous sibling on the wine show circuit.

The Riverina (inland NSW, Australia) is an established home of exotic botrytised Semillon (and other varieties). Lillypilly, McWilliams morning light, and other examples are worth trying. There are also some terrific VFM red wines from the Riverina, with Durif to the fore.

The style here (Semillon with heavy botrytis) is usually much sweeter than Sauternes -not as long-living, or as refined as the best examples- but significantly cheaper. They still have ample acidity to accompany the sweetness.

This wine is golden in colour, ripe with apricot, marmalade and crème brûlée. The palate shows rampant ripe tropical pineapple, and cumquat with some green fruits too. While drenched in sweetness, there is abundant citrus-led acidity to keep this wine fresh for at least another five years. It’s a rich wine style crafted to tickle the senses. Great value.

Drink to 2025 and 90 points.