2007 Domaine Stirn Gewurtztraminer vendanges tardives 12%

Gewurtztraminer is destined to remain as a minor grape variety; the wines can often have a pinkish tinge, and provide, easy, usually obvious appeal to people beginning their wine education. But it has more merit than that, especially in its spiritual home of Alsace.

Australia has some Gewurtztraminer planted, but results overall have been disappointing, with only occasional outliers from careful cool-climate producers Pipers Brook (Tasmania), Delatite (Upper Goulbourn), Lillydale (Yarra Valley) and Seppelts Drumborg (Henty, Victoria) providing flashy, memorable excitement.

When I visited the winery, winemaker Fabien Stirn (freshly off the tractor) presented Gewurtztraminer wines from Brand, Mambourg and Sonnenglanz (with his ambition on further sites) and had dry wines from these sites (Riesling too) and (blended) sweeter wines on an extensive tasting list. Plus his English was noticeably superior to my schoolday French. Notably, I failed the “terroir test” at the conclusion of the tasting.

IMAG0653This wine is a lovely golden-coloured example of the late-picked style, displaying the typically charming, exotic grapey aromas of musk, Turkish delight and roses.  The palate is moderately sweet, but definitely is a rich juicy mandarine-flavoured style with the acidity preventing any sensation of cloying. Slightly oily, and faintly chalky, this wine has been caught in its prime, and it’s well suited as an unusual aperitif, or matched to a light dessert, or certain cheeses.

A neat surprise- drink to 2018, 90 points.


1985 Fonseca Vintage Port 20.5%

Fonseca (or more correctly Fonseca Guimaraens) is a highly regarded Portuguese Vintage Port producer, and its excellent website, with notes covering this vintage is here.

I look forward to finding an occasion – and enough enthusiasts for the style- to warrant opening a vintage Port. The cork has fulfilled its task, and came out in very nearly one piece; decanted for several hours, the wine was tackled in several passes over several days, but always with delight.

1985 fonseca.jpgIts colour is still a robust dense ruby, with no bricking. An array of scents includes fig, cocoa, almond meal, chalk, and dried herbs. The palate is medium bodied, but voluptuous, with blueberry and liquorice adding to the picture. The finish is extensive, and fine, the spirit folded in seamlessly.

There is no need to rush this delicious 32 year-old wine; it will remain in thrilling form for many more years.

Drink to 2032, 94 points.

1953 times two

Two wines each 64 years old, and I tasted these rare, expensive wines thanks to a generous friend.



1953 Massandra White muscat 12.9%

Massandra is a winery based in Crimea (Ukraine), with extensive stocks of old wines, capable of lasting many decades.

This wine’s colour was a light amber (but with lots of sediment), just so fresh, floral and grapey -hard to believe its so old; there is orange peel and cumquat, ginger, and a suggestion of ginger beer, plus light caramel. Apparently 240 g/l of residual sugar, but still very light on its feet. It seems indestructible, but further change is unlikely. Its youthful flavours totally belie the colour, and the palate with its sensations of icing sugar, is more straightforward than the bouquet.

Drink now, 90 points (add a few points for historic merit)

1953 Barbeito Boal Madeira

Madeira lies 1000 k southeast of Portugal, and has a tropical climate. Grape varieties used in making madeira wines (from driest to sweetest) are sercial, veredlho, bual and malvasia.

Vintage-dated Madeira must be aged at least 20 years in barrel, undergoing gradual oxidation and concentration.

A very useful link is here.

This wine is quite confronting for people unused to fortified wines, and comparisons to an old amontillado sherry are inevitable.

Dark toffee coloured, initially the wine was quite spiritous, with a range of awkward aromas- freshly grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts, green olives, almonds, coffee and then a rush of mixed dried fruits. VA is unavoidable, but here is quite tolerable, mingled with the rancio.  With some breathing, the nuttiness begins to drive through and quite overt acidity balances the residual sugar.  Matching with food would be futile, it’s a wine to savour on its own.

Drink now, 91 points (perhaps more for people with more experience with this style)

2000 Zind Humbrecht Rotenberg Pinot Gris SGN 11.5%

The cork broke, but performed its task; the colour of this wine is dark amber, with some copper tints (and harmless tartrate crystals).


Pinot Gris is a low-acid variety, but from appropriate sites- and old vines-  is capable of extended improvement with cellaring.  Zind-Humbrecht has wonderful sites in its Alsace home.

There is lots happening- spiced apple and pear, lime marmalade, marzipan and pastry- perhaps a smidge of VA too; the palate is intense and viscous, its length supported by some phenolics. It seems quite alcoholic in weight and mouthfeel (not hotness), but the label shows this perception is erroneous, an artifact of its botrytized concentration (153 g/l of residual sugar).

Details of the vintage, and this wine with notes from Olivier Zind-humbrecht are here.

Drink to 2025, and 91 decadent, easy points.

Stoney Goose Ridge new wine release – Brosé

Stoney Goose Ridge CEO Hector Lannible confided “I’m so excited again- it’s a monster thrill whenever another of my pet projects hits the retail market, and as usual, I’ve had a characteristically and distinctively heavy responsibility for its creation, from concept to culmination and fruition. It’s Brosé, our smashable, super sessionable sensation”.

“Well stylistically it’s inspirationally attuned to the venerable modern nouvelle vague rosé , but with a creative twist so it’s amenable to seasons, weather, time-zones and climates throughout the world.  And we acknowledge the heritage and evolution of rosé and applaud the belated uptake in numerous lucrative markets. But what is the key critical major difference to the superseded existing old-fashioned wines currently available? Now, it’s an empirical, statistically verifiable fact that men have been reluctant to wholly embrace the rosé revolution and participate, generally leaving women-folk to partake. But no longer!”

Where it all began

“We conducted numerous focus groups and widely consulted inter-disciplinary research experts in visual perceptions and chromosomal gender differences to firstly get the colour schematic appropriate, including extensive, legitimate use of Pantone charts. Then, we made truly extraordinary in-depth multi-modal assessments of bottle shape and design, label size, placement, fonts, and so on, and of course the trademark and registration legislative frameworks to ascertain appropriate nomenclature. We undertook uniquely agile tasting trials to get the level of sweet and savoury aligned, including all manner of complex technical chemical organoleptic sensory component interplay including acidity, tannin and other mind-numbing complicated analytic ephemera and minutae. While Brosé was deliberately positioned as an alcoholic beverage that men could imbibe primarily with their intersecting sporting and professional networking entourages, Stoney Goose Ridge took enormous care that women could tolerate, and indeed utterly enjoy the entire demonstrably charm-filled personality profile of Brosé”.

Fine-tuning the deliverables

“Ponder and dwell on the representative attributes of its name; it hints at Rosé, it alludes to brotherhood, it implies foreign mysteries, it suggests Bromance- wonderful, creative, distinctive, subtle. Brosé. So much content and mystique in such a power-packed inspirational trending brand-name -wow!”

“Stoney Goose Ridge’s mandate is always to maximise enjoyment of its fantastic cornucopia of wines.  Brosé is a completely new wine concept that men can be supremely comfortable in asking for, purchasing, and drinking. And women will be delighted to have something suitable to gift to their male friends – something that hopefully they can share. Or just serve up on a picnic, or at the dinner table, whether informal or fancy for fulfilment”.

“For Brosé, we’ve even tweaked our magic colour-coding bar that displays the optimum temperature to drink this wine at – to align with the complete package persona”.

Integrity, validity and reliability   

“Crucially, we had to ensure that our wine-building workers could consistently get the exclusive complex proprietary recipe right; including measures on how to thwart the inevitable wannabe copycat imitators.  The product formula specification is formidable, but I have unwavering faith in my innate ability and obligation to enforce policies, procedures and stringent processes for our wine adjusters to comply with – or else. We ensured bipartisan multi-cross-cultural interplay – we acknowledge, respect and modify the specially curated formula for Brosé to align and reward the nuances within the numerous different sub-market specialty finessed niches that only Stoney Goose Ridge truly deeply connects with”.

 Supporting the pointy end of sales

“Our agents, brokers, wholesalers and retailers have my personal fiduciary guarantee of integrity. We will launch and commit to ongoing perpetual support of Brosé with absolutely the biggest bang in 2017. I’m so proud to lead Stoney Goose Ridge, and that under my hands-on watch we’ve been able to once more leapfrog our competitors and leave them dead in the water”.

Takeaway and strapline

“And be aware, Stoney Goose Ridge has plenty of exciting wine products coming soon in the pipeline up our sleeve”.

“Brosé – not just for men!”

Humbling masked tasting of 2 Victorian fortified wines

It’s never straightforward tasting masked wines, attempting to reach conclusions on characteristics, origins, quality, while at the same time attempting to appreciate their virtues – a clash of analysis and appreciation. This was another lunch, with two delicious (masked) fortifieds to finish.

The first wine showed some bricking in colour, and the aromatics showed cocoa, raspberry, and blackberry jam – a vintage port style. The spirit was integrated with a hint of perfumed, headsy character. The palate was quite sweet, almost too much, but the fruit was dense, vibrant, and juicy. Warm but not hot with its alcohol, this deliciously cuddly wine seemed an “old-fashioned”, typical Australian in style, and more in a North-eastern Victorian vein, likely Rutherglen. My guess was that the wine was from the early 1990’s. The surprise was that the wine was actually 1975 Bailey’s Vintage Port. Made by Harry Tinson,  its source in Glenrowan is “near enough” to Rutherglen to claim some minor credit. The wine looked so much younger – in a holding pattern -with plenty of time ahead of it (to 2035). I scored it at 92 points, and it turns out I previously tasted it and described here about one year ago. The score, and descriptors are quite similar, so I’m either consistent or adjectivally deprived.

The calibre and deliciousness of the first wine made me turn reluctantly to pay attention to the second wine, which was similar in style. It seemed older, based primarily on its colour, and its aromatics of dark chocolates and lavender immediately led my thinking- vintage Port; Australia; Rutherglen; mid- 1980’s. Some almond meal, and its lower degree of sweetness compared to its companion led to a fleeting flirtation with Portugal, but I stuck with my first impressions. Quite mellow, it suffered in the shadow of its brooding companion. And the wine was 1987 Bullers Vintage Port (magnum).  I scored it at 91 points, drink to 2030.

Both wines are likely to be predominantly Shiraz.

What an extraordinary privilege to drink a 40 y/o and and 30 y/o wine in one bracket. More please!

Stoney Goose Ridge new release – Chamsecco®

CEO Hector Lannible launches this brand-new brand extension; ”everyone loves Champagne; and ice-cold Prosecco is ultra-hot. But Stoney Goose Ridge now has a truly bold mash-up of the best of both – Chamsecco®. Chamsecco® is our tribute to these winning international sparkling styles. It’s easy to pronounce, easy on the gullet, and importantly, easy on the purse.

  “We live and breathe wine – it’s literally in our DNA and in our blood at Stoney Goose Ridge. We don’t skimp at cutting corners; we’ve used appropriate grape varieties- red and white, and dynamic methods – both rustic and hypermodern to craft this beauty, at a price people can’t afford to ignore. We absolutely needed this wine to positionalise our price-point leveraged segment differentiation into our SKU category marketplace brand portfolio architecture dynamic nuanced deliverable matrix. And it tastes just fab.

“Laws of libel mean I never stoop to denigrate our competitors, their ethics, management or the calibre of their offerings. Stoney Goose Ridge is entirely differently unique, with profound quality, brave creative products, moral integrity and distinguished leadership. We take customer satisfaction fervently, with precise deliberative holistic NPS measurements as one of our integral ongoing longitudinal perception attributes. And far from cannibalizing existing market entrants, Chamsecco® leads at the forefront of the frontier border edge; the pioneering concept is modern, new, contemporary, innovative and state-of-the art. Our banking consortium supporters were delighted to extend brokered agile tiered mezzanine federated front-end lock-step hybrid index bespoke rebated prime collateralized tapered packaged triage leveraged hedge financing – at a discount- for this breakout initiative.

“When I reached the blending facility, assessed progress and made my incisive contribution, the other wine fabricators again shook their heads, startled by my sublime blending talents, amazing descriptive powers, and decisive directions. Some people are born to greatness, some have it thrust upon them; some earn it through achievement – it’s certainly rare that these characteristics come together in one package; that’s why I’m the CEO. I’m not even a type-A personality- I’m type A plus! I put the pedal to the metal to sail full throttle into uncharted territory. This launch is one of my very proudest moments this quarter.

“Chamsecco® contains bubbles, so take care when opening; have your glasses ready when it froths out, and be prepared for maximum hedonistic pleasurable enjoyment. And we are vibrantly health-conscious; with our patent-pending proprietary technological breakthrough prowess through what our tech geeks call reverse thermo micro oxy crossflow, Chamsecco® has 23% less calories, meaning no need to stress out even if you slightly over-indulge.

“Whether for a wedding, hens’ nights, out with the crew from the office, or just kicking back at home, this wine is absolutely perfect. And what an amazing back-story journey! As we all acknowledge, for far too long, women have been sidelined, ignored, marginalised and belittled in the industry, regarded as onlookers concerned solely with label appeal. Stoney Goose Ridge is once again making a profound statement respecting equality, restoring pride, recognition and celebration to this unfortunately neglected sector. And of course we don’t have artificial barriers preventing consumption of Chamsecco® by people of all gender situations.

“And there is another special group of younger people – gen Z. We have absolute faith in their astounding future and potential. They are not looking for cheap booze to swill themselves into alcoholic oblivion- they are acutely conscious of their quality beverage appreciation instincts and aspirations. Again, Stoney Goose Ridge is sincerely hip, fervently channeling the zeitgeist, providing viable pathways to explore expanding horizons. We will nurture their journey.  And when these worlds collide, Chamsecco® approaches an obligatory mandate. But Chamsecco® is not just for this intersecting set; it’s remarkably suitable for all personages of legal-drinking status across assorted age categories right up to nonogenarians and beyond.

“Chamsecco® is no aggressive upstart Johnny-come-lately one-trick wonder pony flash-in-the-pan lucky fluke. Masses of profound market research went into the comprehensive conceptual framework, bottle design, label colours, branding, and even the ultra top secret classified formula of what’s inside. We guarantee that our target demographic cohort will lap it up, especially with our viral kick-starter social media blitz frenzy flash campaigns.  And we have our unique wide-ranging trail-blazing ubiquitous support paraphernalia for our ongoing differentiated supply-chain partners. Stoney Goose Ridge will corral the market uptake of this key specialty wide-ranging niche.

“Please be upstanding, charge your glasses and celebrate with Chamsecco®.

“Fancy without being pretentious, when you order or open Chamsecco®, everyone will approve. Stoney Goose Ridge has another runaway hit success with a bullet on the sales charts with Chamsecco® – the feel-good instant party starter”.

NV Chamsecco® (RRP $9.95)

  • Made exclusively from fermented Australian grapes.
  • Under pressure.
  • Drink in moderation.
  • Parental guidance recommended.


“It’s a bit pink, sweetish but not nasty, and doesn’t give me a headache” said Ashley-Jane*, “and my BFF’s thought it was totally awesome. I always have Chamsecco® in the fridge just in case we want to get smashed or buzz up before going clubbing or out to a party”.

Tegan* said “Even my boyfriend Jack* drinks Chamsecco® when he’s run out of beer, and it’s got more kick than cider or mixers”.

* Name altered for privacy, security, legal, regulatory, OH&S considerations.