1971 All Saints Vintage Port

Australia has a prolific number of wineries and wines with “saint” embedded in their names; St Hallett, St Hugo, St Huberts, and St Leonards are merely some that I have purchased. All Saints (established in the 1860s) is an old winery near Rutherglen that went through complex ownership, marketing and labelling upheavals (it’s now owned independently by members of the Brown family.  Visiting as a youngster, I prowled through the enormous hall where barrels of fortified matured (since mostly sold off), the castle-style main building, and the vast estate grounds full of numerous buildings.

This wine was served blind, and my impressions ran “mocha/toffee/coffee, cherry, then very dense, obviously old, sweet blackberry, traditional in style, but still fresh, lively and delicious”. My conclusions- “Australian vintage Port, likely early 1980’s, and unable to guess origin – if pushed, South Australia”,.

Regardless, it’s special occasion when I taste a wine over fifty years old.

Drink to 2030, with 91 points (higher if history nudges wine appreciation more).

1981 All Saints Vintage Port

This was a recent auction purchase, so I am doing myself no favours by recommending this wine.

1981 all saints vp

It looks like a “lab label”, complete with a minor spelling mistake for the eagle-eyed. The cork has performed its duty.

All Saints is located near Rutherglen (albeit nearer Wahgunyah). Its history is replete with numerous label, marketing and winemaking changes, and it’s now run as an independent spin-off from Brown Brothers. But there was never any doubt about its store of old material. I recall my parents staying at the Riverside Motel, and All Saints was always one of our destinations; down the long tree-lined gravel road, through to the amazing castle-like façade; inside the gloom, coolness and numerous large barrels, before tackling a vast range of wines of bewildering quality, from forgettable to sensational.

The Vintage ports from All Saints have held up remarkably well, with excellent recent tasting results going back to the 1960’s.

This wine is Shiraz based, and it’s colour is a medium density brick red, with some definite browning. (and minimal sediment). Yet it is still full of character – there is ripe plummy fruit, gentle mocha flavours with a touch of raisin, and the fruit has coped with the spirit. Not as sweet as many, it’s a wine of civility that is drinking admirably, with lingering crisp acidity.

There is no capacity for improvement, but at 35 years, its ready!

Drink to 2020 (although it will hold), score 90 points