Catch-up with some European sweet wines

2007 willi, grun

2007 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett AP#9 8%
One of my favourite Mosel producers. 57g/l residual sugar. A bright pale gold, red apple, touch of barely ripe pineapple. Crunchy, fresh, melons and lime, with a rich fresh mouthfeel, Comforting, comfortable, refreshing.

To 2030, 91 points.

2007 Maximin Grunhaus herrenberg Riesling spatlese 8%
Mosel. Deeper gold, Aromatically less pure than the previous wine; candle-wax, red grapefruit, spiced pears. The palate displays more dried and glace fruits; acidity does not seem as vibrant and a bit of hardness is evident. No trouble drinking this wine over several days, but early consumption is suggested.

The label is “old-school”.

To 2025 and 89 points

2006 Ch Coutet 14%
Barsac, 75% Semillon, 23% sav blanc 2% muscadelle; 149 g/l rs. A good but not brilliant vintage for Sauternes, but the wine (half bottle) has held well. There is abundant information on their website.

Light toffee colour, showing pristine vanilla, icing sugar, stewed apricot, and orange peel. The palate is very ripe and sweet, with some marmalade characters and almond (oak). Racy acid makes helps; there is tension between the exotic fruit sweetness, acidity and mouthfilling texture.

From a half-bottle, this wine was a wonderful result for the vintage and seems on a long plateau. Drink to 2025 (conservative, but the wine presents so well now), and 93 points

2010 Mader Pinot Gris Schlossberg Grand cru (sweet)
Hunawihr,  Alsace. Light gold colour, Sultana, pears, dried apple, dried apricot. The grapey palate retains just enough acidity to keep interest.

Drying out, with possibly some oxidation. There is still drinking enjoyment, but it’s on the decline

Drink now, and 87 points

Two long-lived vintage fortifieds

1975 baileys vp

1975 Baileys Vintage Port
The label states Bundarra, with Baileys in smaller print, but it’s the same mob. I extracted a pretty ordinary cork, which however had faithfully performed its duty for 45 years,

Made before I was even interested in wine, it was a recent auction purchase for a surreal  price just over $20. Insane value! The Baileys red wines from 1975 (and 1977, and 1979) are somewhat rustic but the depth of ripe fruit flavour is extraordinary, and they continue to surprise,

Baileys (Glenrowan, Victoria) were renowned for their monumental red wines where vigour trumped finesse; plus their luscious fortifieds (muscat and topaque). Back then, vintage fortifieds were less of a winemaker indulgence than now.

Likely to be made entirely from Shiraz, it’s still a vibrant black/red colour albeit some bricking on the rim; it’s an unashamed old-fashioned inky Oz style – a meal in a glass- with ripe fresh sweet blackberry and raspberry jam, a touch of mocha/cocoa and aromatic brandy spirit. It’s lush, rich, sweet, and endless.

I reviewed this wine on this site in November 2015, and descriptions and conclusions are (thankfully) consistent.

The wine is a tribute to the area, its maker Harry Tinson, and is completely compelling. I cannot see improvement, but its longevity is astounding.

Drink to 2035, and 92 points

1986 Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 20%
(Served blind). The wine had a very deep red/black colour, with red liquorice and milk chocolate, plus a touch of tar. The palate was supple, showing rose-hip, cherry and red berry flavours with slightly grainy tannins. I suspected the wine was a Portuguese VP, mainly with the mixed fruit flavours, perhaps from the mid-1990’s. Other drinkers confidently stated it was Australian, and perhaps 15-20 years old.

When unveiled, the first surprise (to most) was its Portuguese origin; the next surprise its actual age (33 years); the last surprise was that it wasn’t from a widely declared year. My speculation was that the houses were dealing with (generally) declared years of 1980, 1883 and 1985 – and may have met some market resistance to another release. It was less of a surprise that the wine was from Grahams – generally characterised as making a slightly richer and sweeter style than many other houses.

Anyway, drink to 2030, and 94 points as a pleasurable educational experience.

I have negligible experience with this style, so some homework within the Graham’s website and elsewhere was needed. For Graham’s, the Malvedos site provides the main component when vintages are declared, but it’s also generally bottled in non-declared years. Its main varieties are Touriga National and Touriga Franca, plus others. The wines clearly can have great longevity (the last tranche of the 1965 Quinta dos Malvedos was re-released as a 50-year old wine).

A vertical tasting of the Quinta dos Malvedos with notes from Andy Velebil is on the For the love of port site.

And I will be slower to dismiss wines from non-declared years!

Hector Lannible’s 2019 EOY address to Stoney Goose Ridge staff

There are several wines with “three letter acronym” names (TLA). Some striking examples include MSG (mourvedre/shiraz/grenache) and more recently the blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Tempranillo), GST.

Stoney Goose Ridge adds to this memorable pantheon with TCA. It’s a fabulous blend of Touriga, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aglianico, matured in specially selected barrels. TCA – once tasted – never forgotten! Its striking, distinctive, idiosyncratic and unique, and just in time for the new year. Easy to pronounce, exotically perfumed, educational, and fantastically textured.

It takes true entrepreneurial innovative creative genius to dream. And my personal solitary conceptual genesis for TCA even surprised myself.

But Stoney Goose Ridge has no use for whimsy or the ambitions and egocentric tantrums from management promoting some devious individual agenda. Every proposition is rigorously assessed on agnostic evidence-based data-driven statistical science metrics. My treatise went through the extreme methodological algorithmic cognitive analysis of our intellectually supreme actuarial team and terabytes of sophisticated database interrogation appraisal. And naturally, like all my suggestions, it returned outstandingly potent positive correlational interactions. Profitability far outweighed any cannibalisation of any existent market, and its release has profound influential social media avalanche frenzy advantages. Several members of the wine-craft assembly unit expressed reservations with the proposed nomenclature, but were unable to convincingly articulate their contention, and their caution was resoundingly dismissed. Thus TCA came to fruition!

We exemplify the antithesis of our competitors’ typical scattergun Russian roulette, and untargeted aimless wild west antics, where they proceed through triggered stages of ready, shoot, then aim. These bottom-feeding parasites with their snouts in the trough of the gravy train are devoid of aptitude, integrity and immune to the imminent zeitgeist.  They seem content to brazenly plagiarise or denigrate the endeavours of Stoney Goose Ridge, shamelessly even defending the numerous legal actions we initiate when confronted by gross mischief, blatant wickedness and flagrant incompetence. Unfortunately, the punitive and extensive damages regularly awarded hardly compensate for their ludicrous obstructions or deter their past, present and future immoral and illegal recidivism.

Inevitably, happily, increasing legions of devoted customers fanatically advocate our products with rapturous adulation at ubiquitous price-points, and enlist their acquaintances to sample our artisanal wares. We bless their efforts to proselytise and appreciate our universal lifestyle offerings – in appropriate customer-centric recommended moderation.

There is so much more in progress – such as an inspirational cookbook with wine-matching, new ciders, lower-alcohol offerings as well as the usual groundbreakingly exciting limited-releases of pioneering haunting brands providing unsurpassed value, and rejuvenated vintages of old favourites, sometimes with revitalised pictorial illustrated representational imagery.

Meanwhile, we approach the festive season, and while results are embargoed, it’s no surprise that Stoney Goose Ridge has fulfilled all my bonus fulfilment hurdles within my remuneration compensation package contract, and I will luxuriate with my lucrative well-deserved windfall, part of which will naturally be donated to tax-worthy charitable institutions.

It’s certainly been a notable year; as well as the newest addition to our portfolio of TCA, we launched Miraculous Maximus Technoplex® (a complete contrast to our award-winning hands-off Hipsters’ Reward®), and of course the pioneering release of the Unicorn – the aspirational super-luxury wine – which deservedly sold out on April 1.

And of course, massively expanded sales across our core beverage brands (beers, spirits and wines) through multiple markets – both domestically and to increased overseas domiciles – required committed sourcing, QA and cross-channel distribution excellence. Confronting the challenges of market volatility, and the ludicrous hyped extravagance of competitor offerings is merely part of my tasks – I take the leading key role in all marketing, advertising and brand sustenance activity. Combined with our stringent regime of cost reduction, these factors make Stoney Goose Ridge the envy of countless business scribes and rivals desperate to learn sources of our sustained success.

Compliance to excessively burdensome proscriptive regulation, onerous taxation and legislation consumes significant management attention. Influencing decisionmakers and negotiations with stakeholders, plus the efforts of our legal ambassadors under my detailed instructions is critically noted. Stoney Goose Ridge is fortunate that my ongoing riveting charismatic persuasive accomplishments affect key recommendations that will surely trickle-down to ultimately provide a more relaxed and profitable commercial environment.

Extensive and entirely essential overseas travel with my core entourage would exhaust most; my duties of corporate entertainment, ongoing talent wrangling, mentorship, laser focus on business improvement and evolution are exemplary. Then include exploiting unexpected opportunities that surprisingly fell outside my detailed contingency preparations, and a short break is welcomed to devote further attention to strategic future trending envisionation.

EBITDA, ROI, CAPEX, OPEX, SEO, SEM, triple bottom-line website metrics, social influence landmark substantiation, media campaign accolades and soft targets have all attained superlative unparalleled results. Our Byzantine financial structures, manoeuvres and arbitrage are acknowledged as bleeding edge by manifold jurisdictions, benefiting the forward momentum of Stoney Goose Ridge, and its multiplier employment consequences.

Diversity within Stoney Goose Ridge has also increased, our winning culture illustrating gender multiplicity, including contracting personnel with multi-lingual competencies, and employment of select personnel lacking even basic post-graduate qualifications, and engagement of differential situational perspectives.

To all our staff, it’s hard to appreciate your efforts when so much of my multi-factorial vision remains unfulfilled, but I am especially conscious that few approach my awesome ability, capacity and drive. Hence my perceptive awareness somewhat alleviates ongoing disappointment at results that fall short. I encourage devotion of a greater portion of reimbursed emolument and commitment of extra voluntary unpaid time to emulate my stellar exceptionality.

Nonetheless, staff that have survived their most recent performance appraisal can be proud to remain within the Stoney Goose Ridge extended family. There is the prospective possibility of a future personal bonus if accompanied with a staggeringly monumental boost to effective productivity and achievement of every aggressive KPI stretch target assigned.

It’s no secret that I have been offered CEO roles at several transnational conglomerates with incredible sign-on fees, specie assignment and substantial profit-sharing incentives. Two factors restrain me; these companies are inflicted with multiple tangled layers of bureaucracy that would resist my inevitable Herculean Gordian-knot-cutting and unduly unsettle my serenity; secondly, succession planning at Stoney Goose Ridge is proving problematical – candidates in the frame seem unable to completely grasp my captivatingly sublime lucid intellectual luminescence.

The latest volume of my collected speeches is obviously on the must-read lists of CEOs, politicians, and aspirants; my TED talks not only have colossal hits but momentous cross-business citations. Industry forums have committed embraced support for our significant homegrown fundamental policy of holistic sustainable proactive premiumisation, and critical benchmark associated defined seamless infrastructure mitigation disintermediation distribution frameworks; this compelling landmark initiative will be finessed through future embodied progress iterations.

My 2020 vision is all-seeing, encompassing numerous vistas, and the willing, excited participation of all team-members can see Stoney Goose Ridge continue its thrilling whirlwind juggernaut blitzkreig.

Wishing all staff, whether direct, agents, contractors, consultants, members of associated entities or subsidiaries,  a festively merry silly season with family and loved ones; my expectation is that you return refreshed and ready to comply absolutely to management demands for sustained dedication  to the hyberbolic growth of Stoney Goose Ridge, its exceptional expanding suite of products and comprehensive respect for the calibre and guidance of its Olympian leadership.

Your fraternal paradigm in resolute solidarity, Hector Lannible

Two from Barsac, two from Sauternes

It’s a source of wonder that one area can produce a great dry wine styles of the world (red Bordeaux, with Cabernet Sauvignon allied with Merlot and other red varieties), and also one great sweet white wine style (Barsac and Sauternes, made generally from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc). The dry whites can be tantalisingly complex too.

The Sauternes area is usually blessed by fogs, and botrytis can perform its magic. Low yields and the concentration delivered by botrytis mean the wines can absorb an extensive amount of oak, adding even more complexity, and while attractive as young wines, have the potency to last for decades.

Two wines were served masked; they turned out to be from the same producer with just one years difference in the vintage. While I successfully initially estimated the wines as around 20 years old, the more advanced nature of the second (and actually younger) wine made me guess a little older. The wines were from Chateau Coutet.

1996 Ch Coutet (barsac) 14%
75% Semillon, 20% sauvignon blanc, 10% muscadelle

The wine was a bright light copper orange liqueur colour, displaying some vanilla, dark honey, fresh and dried apricot plus crème brulee; the palate lush, with attractive slightly bitter orange marmalade, sweet spices and texture. Full-bodied with grace and balance. Harmonious with drive and length. At its peak.

Drink to 2026, and 93 points

1997 Ch Coutet (barsac) 13.5%
80% Semillon, 10% sauvignon blanc, 10% muscadelle)

Three bottles were opened, the bottle I was served from was most successful; another bottle was nearly as excellent; the third bottle however was plain and comparatively dull.

The wine had a similar bright dark gold colour, and showed darker, riper fruit flavours – stewed fruits with some ripe tropical notes. Overall, while seemingly a little sweeter, and with a silky palate, it was simpler in its characters, and seems a drink-soon proposition.

Drink to 2023, 90 points.

The next two wines were half-bottles from terrific QPR producers from the outstanding 2009 vintage. Dim restaurant lighting thwarted proper assessment of colour, and the bottles quickly emptied, preventing more leisurely appraisal at home.

2009 Ch la tour blanche (sauternes- Bommes) 13.8%
Semillon, sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle) 150 g/l rs

Bright and clear gold colour, this wine was packed with floral tropical fruit notes, of mango, orange peel, green pineapple backed up with green nettle and barley sugar; altogether complex and delicious. It was rich and complete on the palate, with racy acidity cutting through its lushness. I’m a happy purchaser, with a few more bottles for the future

Drink to 2030 and 92 points

2009 Ch Raymond Lafon  (sauternes) 13.5%
80% semillon, 20% sauvignon blanc, 138 g/l rs

The colour was clear, albeit slightly darker than the wine above. It seemed to show brighter perfumed fruits, greater honeyed richness and a grippier palate, but not quite the intrigue of the first wine, and seemed readier,

Drink to 2026 and 91 points

1983 Orlando vintage port 19.8%

1983 orlando vp

Barossa Shiraz from a year of drought and fires; red wines tended to be intense and the best continue to delight. The cork had thankfully performed; this wine is a solid deep ruby colour; sweet spicy brandy spirit melds with dark fruits – stewed plum, red liquorice and sweet blackberry. It’s still quite dry for the style and presents as “almost Portuguese” with its relative dryness and substantial spice-cinnamon notes. The palate is supple, rich but savoury with firm tannin and the spices make a more substantial contribution. It also seemed much more youthful than its actual age, and is on a delicious plateau.

Drink to 2030, and a resounding 93 points for this wine of surprise with its style and vitality.

Two sweet old world wines

2007 von Schubert Maximin Grunhaus Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 8%
Mosel, Germany. A clear dark straw colour, this wine from Maximin Grunhaus shows tropical fruit especially mango plus a touch of mint. The palate is slightly oily, with some bitter herb, ripe red berry and red apple. It’s not the sweetest Auslese -style encountered (although acidity is balanced). Some grippiness is evident but not unduly intrusive – and my preference would be for earlier drinking while this wine retains its fruity zestiness.

In the likely realm of bottle variation, drink to 2025, 90 points

1964 Moulin Touchais 12%
Loire, Chenin blanc. The Loire valley is home to a range of chenin blanc from dry to botrytised (and other varieties). Chenin Blanc’s versatility means it can produce sparkling wines, the dry Savennières and sweeter styles but I seldom see the wines of Bonnezeaux or Quarts de Chaume in Australia. Chenin blanc in Australia however is generally innocuous, although it was once a mainstay of Houghton White Burgundy and I recall a stunning botrytis example in the 1981 St Leonards. I have also tasted some delicious South African examples.

The sweet wines from Moulin Touchais have a reputation for extreme longevity, and I’ve tasted other examples from Marc Bredif back to 1959, and have a few Domaine Huet tucked away. The Moulin Touchais wines are apparently picked in two passes – the first early while it is full of acidity, and a later harvest when it has ripened further; these are then blended.

1964 moulin

The bottle was opened and decanted at a restaurant and I didn’t see the cork, alas. The wine was a glowing gold in colour and showed the tell-tale varietal apple aromas, with some honeysuckle and spiced sultana notes. There was also a touch of straw oxidation, but not disconcerting, the palate exhibited wax, apple, honey,  citrus, some nuttiness and refreshing texture – and at a guess 50 g/l residual sugar. There was plenty of life in this old wine, and it seemed to become richer, more mouthfilling, vigorous and harmonious over the evening, and it matched particularly well with fish courses.

Again, at this stage of life, variation is expected, and I was well pleased with the result, especially the improvement with extensive aeration.  Drink to 2030, and 92 points.

Fun and learnings at a recent wine show

I was a steward for several days (my sixth stewarding experience so far); after the preliminaries of proving my valid RSA (responsible service of alcohol certificate) and confidentiality agreements, it was time to begin. Everything was already  in place – judges and associates selected, wines sorted into classes and then randomised, tables, glassware, buckets, and running sequences arranged for the four panels. All the stewards had to do was set up glasses, pour wines, clean up and possibly try a few wines afterwards. It’s good for fitness, but a lot of time on your feet.

We’re volunteers – generally the judges are away from their day jobs; and people are doing it for love. Apart from the time away from family and work, there is wear and tear on the intellect, and taste-buds – plus dental care is very precious. For many judges it’s an excellent opportunity for professional development – to taste the wines of their competitors and peers, learn about their own tasting strengths and weaknesses, see trends in winemaking, all with some brief time for networking.

I had the fortunate opportunity to guest on a couple of judging sessions; 20-odd recent chardonnays, and 33 young rosés. My scores (and those of other associates) were not counted; but it was an exercise in concentration, description, time-management and stamina. And of course, we don’t know the identity of the wines as they merely appear in numbered glasses.

Each wine receives a score, and a few comments to justify the basis for the score. All these are now entered on a tablet, with judges scores and comments available to the Panel Chair(person). This role is responsible for negotiating scoring consensus, calling some wines back for retastes, finessing and combining comments to be somewhat less offensive to the exhibitors (apart from faults, descriptors such as  “dilute, industrial, green fruit, prematurely developed” occurred) as did other terms I would struggle to define or identify (“hang-time, stale oak”). No exhibitor really wants to find out why others think their wine is ugly or undeserving.

Judges are encouraged to taste the line-up of wines starting at different places or “backwards” (to reduce “halo” effects). A rule of thumb was for a gold medal could be “I’d like six of those in my cellar”; a silver “ a few bottles would be nice”; a bronze “yes I’ll have another glass”; for those that don’t rate a medal “have you got something else?”.

Callbacks occur for several reasons – where judges’ scores differ significantly or are on the border of silver/gold; people may be passionate on the merits –or flaws of particular wines. Wines are randomised, re-tasted to identity “top gold”, and potentially some wines are downgraded to silver medals. In the “split classes” (if many wines in a class, judging will be distributed across panels), the golds or top golds from each panel are reassembled for judging. Then we’re often into the realm of philosophy where some attributes are noticed, and valued more highly by some judges than others – smashability, however is not a phrase utilised.

Trophies may be judged across several classes; best red or white may come from single varieties and blends; best wine of the show may for example eventually pit a Chardonnay against a Shiraz. A gold medal or trophy usually means a wine has been assessed multiple times.

Rosé? I don’t buy this style, and seldom drink them, so why would I volunteer to judge a line-up? It seems almost every producer makes one, the market has boomed, but making a decent rosé is not straightforward. They should be made deliberately, not as an afterthought; colour matters (not trying to make a light dry red); some sweetness is OK if matched with crunchy acidity. It proved surprisingly simple to sort better wines from regrettable wines. I learned plenty about time management, writing adequate descriptions, sorting the wines into rough medal – or not – categories then refining and ranking.

I am not a wine-maker, so I was pleased and relieved that my scores were (generally) not wildly different from the judges, albeit my descriptions proved somewhat different. The BLIC approach (balance, length, intensity and complexity) is more than just a mechanical checklist for the judges, who can appreciate and articulate the attributes of wines.

I often see disparaging comments regarding (factual) score disparity between the same wine in different shows. There is variability in temperature, lighting, glassware, aeration time, transport and panel composition.  And judges sensitivities vary, and their knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment will differ across classes.  It’s also an expensive exercise to enter wines into competitions, and wines can change even over the course of a few months. With these factors – and more, such as wine being bottled in batches- in play, there is more consistency than I realistically have expected. It’s still possible for wines with subtlety to be neglected when brash wines with one strong feature are exhibited.

Judges are selected with care, and their performances are scrutinised, and there are tools and resources to assess their competencies; statistically, as well as their mentoring and “soft skills”.

I experienced excellent guidance from the Panel Chair, with helpful introductions to what we should expect and value in each class, support for my enthusiasms for several wines, and general inclusion in discussions. These are merely some of the skills; a good panel of judges will disagree on some style matters and be able to articulate support or disappointment with individual wines; a good Panel Chair will facilitate the discussion and know when to call in the Chief Judge to assist, and verify conclusions.

I’ll be back for more stewarding (and hopefully some judging too), as I seem overtly partial to knowledge acquisition.

Old Baileys fortifieds

From a recent auction purchase, the two wines described are believed to have been bottled at least 35 years ago. The style can lose freshness, even under screwcap. I have many vivid memories of visiting Baileys outside Glenrowan, Victoria – even as a child – and their heroic and long-living ferrous red wines and luscious fortifieds. It was a rare day when visits did not coincide with bitter weather (and a welcome open fire) or alternatively a heatwave, when it was tempting to remain inside. HJT are the initials of legendary winemaker Harry Tinson and these wines represent their best selections of the styles. Harry led Baileys from 1973 to 1986, before escaping to start his own label at nearby Lake Mokoan,  (but died in 1995).

My impression is that under assorted corporate ownership, Baileys was starved of investment (except for label redesigns), and its existence, location, wine styles, and its loyal and vocal customer base was regarded as a nuisance, and largely ignored. It’s now under the Casella umbrella, and I remain optimistic.

The wines of Baileys are now made by Paul Dahlenburg (also at the excellent Eldorado Road) and have the same intensity with some more winemaking finesse – something I only picked up with 2009 vintage and onwards; the fortifieds are again outstanding.

nv hjts

NV Baileys Winemakers selection HJT Liqueur muscat
The wine is a dark khaki/coffee grounds/motor oil colour; the aromas are stacked with all the mocha/toffee/orange rind and spiced raisin that are desired; the palate is very, very concentrated. rich, ultra sweet but with the bracing freshness, dried fruits and a touch of camphor to brighten the excesses and “please sir can I have some more?”

Drink now, but 92 points for this piece of history

NV Bundarra (Baileys) Winemakers selection HJT Liqueur (tokay) Topaque
Time has been less kind to this bottle, but no-one had issues drinking, and requesting top-ups. It’s a similar colour to it sibling, albeit not quite as deep. The varietal malt/anchovy/fishoil/butterscotch characters are present with saline, malt and some staleness. The palate is very rich and luscious. Malt extract, roast hazelnuts and dark chocolates build a delicious complex picture, but this wine requires some judicious freshening (use another bottle of topaque and experiment!)

Drink now, 86 points (well worth the purchase price to revisit tasting and travel memories)

Stoney Goose Ridge – another wine release – the Maximus

There’s far too much overhyped flim-flam about natural wines; and their laid-back minimalist intervention philosophy. Of course, Stoney Goose Ridge was an early adopter with the phenomenal Hipsters Reward.

Briefly, the backstory was that I, Hannibal Lector, intervened to rescue an accidental hands-off wine, adding polish through nomenclature, packaging and allied branding prestidigitational transformational manoeuvres.  Hipsters Reward caused a monumental monster feeding frenzy in the marketplace, but with limited supply we had to put the brakes on to ensure equitable distribution amongst our long-term supporters in emergent market-domiciles. We profited immensely from this launch, provoking jealousy and consternation amongst our perennially feeble competitors, while we gained goodwill and now make an annual release of this brand byline behemoth. Legions of copycat efforts came a cropper.

But truly it’s now time perhaps overdue to reflect on the welcome effluxion of temporality and the relentless march of progress. In the world of wine, we’ve only utilised bottles in the last few hundred years, (cans too). It’s only been for a brief interval that electricity has been harnessed for industrial and domestic quality of life advancement purposes. With grapes we have better clones, rootstocks, have planted in more appropriate sites, with canopy enhancements, advanced chemicals, mechanised spraying, pruning and harvesting.  Together with improvements in winemaking processes generally, these have cumulatively culminated in compellingly improved vinous beverage refreshments. Yeasts have been refined in their efficiency productivity quotients; packaging and the sales journey have benefited from progress in science, finance, advertising and management.

And now for something completely different. A wine that celebrates and rewards innovative progressivity. Too much water has gone under the bridge to turn back the clock, jump the hurdles and nip it in the bud. It’s par for the course.

This wine represents the epitome, the quintessential embodied essence of technology – the Maximus – absolutely Vegan inimical. With an RRP of merely $15, it displays the rewards of progress at its most unleashed. No innovations ignored. Ahead of the narrative curve; cutting, leading and bleeding edge.

This wine was assembled from different parcels, all machine pruned and harvested (no organic or biodynamic grapes used) complete with MOG, using stainless steel tanks, roto-fermenters, air-bag presses and strict temperature control, inert gas cover, DAP, micro-ox, mixed cultured yeasts, enzymes, pumping over, added tannins, additions of citric and tartaric acid, varied fining agents, membrane and cross-flow filtration before bottling. Some parts pasteurized, and even some reverse osmosis. Plus sulphur. Under screwcap, so no need to fear cork artefacts. Even the bottle is light-mass thanks to production expertise. The four-piece label reflects ultra hi-tech engineering prowess. The entire kitbag of bells and whistles.

My role was critically essential. The wine crew had assembled a few sample blends, with each component separately available. It took me only 15 minutes to refine the proposed blend to a better-quality outcome result; and simultaneously reduce the volume of wine that needed to find another home; another win-win-wine for my growing throng of excited brand loyalists.  The platoon could only applaud and celebrate my achievement, and my direct report subordinates watched in rapture.

The wine team has explicit extensive technical qualifications, but needs my proven analytic sensory organoleptic flair to add the X, Y and Z factor that excites sommeliers, wine show judges, and all drinkers both novice and seasoned. And my vision and hands-on nano-management exertions to translate extraordinary wines into extraordinary sale profitability metrics.

Mentoring is just one of my numerous acknowledged talents. It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are two kinds of people; those that know Hector Lannible, and those that aspire to meet and consume his insights, wisdom and generosity.

Stoney Goose Ridge is thus absolutely fervently excited to launch Miraculous Maximus Technoplex®. The name says it all, reflecting its origins and lineage.  It’s already won awards for offset carbon footprint measurement refinement, and innovative marketing prizes are guaranteed. Its another wine in the expansive Stoney Goose Ridge masstige premiumisation portfolio.

At this point of temporality, the Maximus is exclusively available within Australia, as certain components are unbelievably prohibited in selected overseas markets, a consequence of brittle and cowardly obsequience in trade negotiations. It’s truly a loss to potential consumers, distributors and outlets. People should be outraged and mobilise to demand alterations to trade arrangements and associated arbitrarily restrictive punitive legislation. After all, the end-consumer deserves benefit from widespread availability of this and similar exemplars from Stoney Goose Ridge.

Due to selectively critical blockchain negligence, certain components had incomplete documentation meaning their additive compositions could not be fully audit certified for export. This situation will be rectified, enabling the inevitable future editions of this wine to grace overseas shelves, tables, cellars and most importantly partaken with elan by our growing hordes of eager core vertical customers.

In the meantime, Australian consumers are the winners with another gratifying astonishment from the restlessly creative Stoney Goose Ridge under its inspiring dynamic CEO Hector Lannible.

Miraculous Maximus Technoplex®; RRP $15.

More recent splashes

2014-5 doisyblanck heggies1983 vps

All served blind – it may seem premature to serve young Barsacs, but these proved wholly delicious, with enormous capacity to live and improve for many years. Cellaring estimates are conservative, but no-one is immortal.

2014 Ch Doisy-daene 13.5%
Barsac, 100% semillon 144g/l rs; The website is very detailed, and I tasted this wine a few months ago with similar notes.  Enormously aromatic; tropical fruits, pineapple rind, touch of vanilla essence, green nettle, botrytis. Exciting, fine creaminess, honeyed with lovely racy acidity, some cashew oak,  spotless.

Drink to 2030, 93 points

2015 Ch Doisy-daene 13.5%
Barsac, 100% Semillon, 136 g/l rs. A slightly greener fruit profile than the wine above, ripe pear and more stonefruit white peach (and botrytis); this wine already seems more rewarding, with impressive fine honeyed texture, greater- but still balanced-ginger-spice oak, and richer depth and mouthfeel, with supporting acidity.

Drink to 2035, 94 points (and more to come)

2005 Paul Blanck Furstentum vendanges tardives Gewurtztraminer 12.5%
Alsace, screwcap! Half-bottle, purchased at the winery, from a special site. Light gold in colour, it displays musk, roses and oiliness. The palate is moderately sweet, but its persistent, varietal with a winningly appealing citrus twang

Drink to 2025, 92 points

2007 Heggies “242” botrytis riesling 8.1%
A half-bottle located after my records showed I had none left (previously reviewed on this site). Amber/light copper coloured. The 242 refers to the amount of retained sugar, which comfortably sits at the BA level, and from a site in the Eden Valley, South Australia – where mostly dry Rieslings are produced, but often a small amount of botrytised Riesling. It’s packed with orange essence and marmalade, very decadent; on the viscous palate there are apricot and stonefruits. It’s still fresh, ultra-sweet -but still balanced-  some hardness is emerging, so drink sooner, not later.

Drink to 2022, 92 points

1983 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Port 19%
Rutherglen, and a hot dry year. A solid bricky colour, but browning only on the rim. Ripe and sweet with some raisined fruit, iron and liquorice, sweet, chalky, lively but a little warm. But it’s 35 years old, and 100% shiraz. On the evidence of this bottle, no further improvement is likely, but it’s still a satisfying and rewarding wine

Drink now, 88 points

1983 Dow’s Vintage Port 20%
Portugal of course. Paler colour than the wine above, showing a more interesting fruit expression of blue and red fruits, and milk chocolate covered almonds. The palate is fine and detailed – and medium-bodied, but also suggests the acidity will hold while the fruit recedes. At this stage, the tannin is balanced, but every bottle will be different.

Drink to 2025, 92 points