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.

2008 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Clos Habert 13%

From a small appellation opposite Vouvray, this is Chenin Blanc, but not what we are familiar with in Australia. Chris Kissack’s site is a tremendous resource.

Here, Chenin blanc is typically grown in warmer regions; and contributes fairly anonymously in blends where its acidity helps. There are some exceptions (Coriole, Peel Estate, and from New Zealand, Millton) but it’s a slender set of resources. Chenin blanc formerly was a mainstay of Houghton’s White Burgundy (which blossomed with a few years age), and I recall a truly striking 1981 St Leonards botrytis version.

Chidaine has a huge reputation, and I purchased this wine for a bargain price (under $40) a few years ago.

2008-chidaine

This wine is an exceptional experience; lemon to light gold in colour, it presents an exciting, exotic set of aromas and flavours. Quince, pineapple rind, ripe red apple, lime juice, yellow pear and freshly cut grass are all present,  It’s meshed with perhaps 20 g/l residual sugar which is swallowed by the balanced, refreshing acidity. Lastly, that set of flavours hangs around with a honeyed, thick, textured mouthfeel.

A fabulous match with varied cuisine (many Asian dishes,  fish, white meats) this VFM wine will kick goals for many more years.

Drink to 2030, 95 points