2007 Heggies “242” botrytis Riesling 8.1% (screwcap)

From the Eden Valley in South Australia, this remarkable wine achieved 242 g/l of residual sugar, hence the “242” on the label.

I have not been a fan of the dry Heggies Riesling, usually finding it a bit clumsy, although bottle age usually helps.

This wine is however, something special.

2007 heggies

It has a deep bright gold colour, and powerful aromatics of apricot, passionfruit and lime. The palate is super-lush, and mouth-filling with some lemon-peel candiness, backed by the ripe apricot marmalade flavours, ripe red apple and dried pear. There is some almond-meal semi-nutty character as well (highly unlikely to be from oak).

This wine is intense, lingering, cleansing and delicious, with the monster botrytis not diminishing varietal character. Complex, and damn fine. Botrytis is generally a nuisance in Australia, and this wine is a lovely expression of care in the vineyard, and the winery successfully transiting into bottle. Age has charmed, not harmed.

Drink to 2025, 94 well-deserved points

2000 Louis Sipp “couer de trie” Selection de grains nobles Pinot Gris SGN 12%

From auction, this is a 500ml bottle from Alsace – keen researchers may find some notes I made on Starforum back in 2008 “somehow carrying the pineapple, cinnamon, some light butterscotch, baked apple pie with just enough acidity – a nice wine with huge sweetness”.

Pinot gris and residual sugar is a wonderful match.
2000 louis sipp pg sgn
The cork has mercifully behaved, and at 16 years, the wine is now a deep amber colour with copper tints (no drama in a botrytis wine). It’s floral, mostly with ripe apricot, apricot jam and cinnamon spices. This is maintained on the palate, with touches of marmalade, citrus peel, and some baked apple. It’s sensual and voluptuous, the acidity continues to provide support.

While the wine may even have provided greater pleasure a few years ago, it still provides unctuous and luscious drinking- but please consume and enjoy soon.

90 points, drink to 2018.

2011 Chamber’s (rosewood) Noble muscadelle, screwcap 11.3%

Chambers of Rutherglen is not the first winery that springs to mind for its sweet white wines; fortifieds yes; VFM red wines, and obscurities (anyone for Gouais) perhaps? Australia has made botrytis-affected wines from many varieties, principally Riesling and Semillon, but there have been some adventures in Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and even Marsanne. Some of these were made deliberately, others where circumstances forced the winemaking decisions.

2011 was a pretty dire year for winemaking in Victoria, and much of Australia (although Margaret River fared well, and McLaren Vale reasonably well). There was unseasonal rain, making spraying difficult- tractors got bogged- and plenty of rot. Most red wines from Victoria lacked colour, and density. Matters were not so bleak with white wines, and there are some scintillating Chardonnays made that year in the Yarra Valley.

There have been a few late-picked or botrytised muscadelles from Rutherglen (Pfeiffer’s is known), so its not unique. Muscadelle is the variety used in making Australia’s sensational barrel-aged fortified Topaques (formerly Tokay). The late-picked style is cash-flow friendly too.

From my unreliable memory, Chambers has made this botrytis style before in 1996 and 2000, and perhaps in other years, so they have a track record, although those seasons were much kinder. I paid $15 for this half-bottle a few years ago.

2011 chambers

Its an attractive glowing deep gold colour with a hint of amber. While the bouquet is vibrant ramshackle orange marmalade, tangelo and dark honey, botrytis has performed its magic fruit concentration role on the palate, and its clearer that that flavours fall into the “dark” orange marmalade, and marginally overripe apricot fruit spectrum. The botrytis has overwhelmed any varietal characters – no bad thing. There is some bitterness too, but not enough to dissipate the wine’s pleasures.

There is considerable sweetness, and while the acid is holding this together, I would recommend drinking soon, before the phenolics take over. No embarrassment to drink; the glass seems to empty of its own volition.

Score 89 points, drink to 2019.