2010 Baileys VP 140 (vintage fortified) 19%
Another corporate insult: this “140” range was meant to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of Baileys of Glenrowan. Yet the wine is apparently sourced from the Riverland and Barossa- a long way from Glenrowan! Some web sleuthing reveals- Touriga, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Cao and Shiraz, fortified with “specially selected spirit” but despite this strange regional and varietal mix, it deservingly carted off trophies at the Rutherglen wine show two years in a row, a fantastic achievement.
Screwcap, and opened at a whim after paying a meagre $20 at auction a few months ago.
It’s a deep ruby colour, and flaunts youthful perfumed sour red cherry, blueberry, blackberry and a cascade of spices with lavender as an aside. Savoury, it’s immaculately, exquisitely balanced, the spirit entirely supporting the fruit. It’s soft enough to approach now (just) but has the architecture to ensure a long and enjoyable life.
This is a terrific wine, but nothing like the ferruginous, concentrated (Shiraz) Baileys VPs of the past, and a travesty to the memory of wines, particularly those made by Harry Tinson…. but such is life.
Drink to 2035, and 94 points.
2001 Fonseca Quinta do Panascal Vintage Port 20%
Unusually, this is a “single quinta” wine. Portuguese Vintage port may be declared by the producer, and samples are vetted before official approval. This can lead to situations where a vintage is “generally” declared, with some outliers, or where a handful of producers declare and the majority resist. The typical pattern is three declarations per decade, but this has had a shake recently; the successive vintages 2016 and 2017 were generally declared by houses; and Quinta do Noval marches merrily along seemingly declaring every year.
When a vintage is “not quite deserving”, the quintas (made in the same way as a VP) can be released at a much more affordable price; these “single quintas are generally not as rich, striking or age-worthy, but their pleasure can be abundant.
Some single quintas available in Australia include Graham’s Malvedos, Quinta do Noval’s Silval, and Taylors’ Vargellas. These can be terrific, and well worth the hunt.
Panascal forms a large part of the blend when Fonseca declares a vintage.
My extraction techniques failed and the cork broke into many pieces that were easily removed with a filter- this also removed the sediment; it’s a medium density dark ruby, with red plum, dark red cherry, putty, and blueberry aromas, plus unexpected pepper. It’s relatively dry, youthful, and approachable, with more blackcurrant mocha and cocoa on the palate. A pleasure.
Ready, but will easily drink to 2030, 91 points.