1976 Seppelt Para Liqueur 22%
Barossa, predominantly grenache with some Shiraz and Mataro.
Most of these Seppelt tawny styles have a lovely amber/khaki colour with an olive green rim – the handbell/lantern shaped bottle is distinctive, but a minor storage hazard- though most will be kept on their original cardboard boxes.
This is not a 46 year old wine! Vintage Paras were released in 1922, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1933, 1939, 1944 and 1947. Labelling laws and imperfect records meant the year referred to the oldest component. The “101” was released in 1975, with an average age around 28 years. The numbered series continued up to “126”, but the releases were slightly more often than annually. This 1976 vintage wine was released in 2004, (aged in oak perhaps 28 years) and has been resting in bottle – and not improving- for nearly 20 years.
It smells ripe with citrus peel, mixed roasted nuts, fine caramel, fruitcake spices and quality brandy spirit. It’s lush on the palate, with some mocha creaminess, and a warm and decadent finish. The style is under-rated, and the quality is exemplary.
There will be some vintage variation with varying degrees of ripeness, minor spirit tweaks, and the usual artful blending from barrels of different sizes, and heights in the stacks. There are plenty of variables to keep across. The current release (from Seppelts) is the 2001, available for $95.
Match with sparkling conversation, contemplative music or a witty movie.
Drink now, 94 points.
De Bortoli 20 years old Black Noble 18.5%
Bottle #585. Released in mid-2018 ($90) to celebrate 90 years of de Bortoli winemaking. Average age 20 years, and made from incredibly ripe botrytised Semillon, fortified and barrel -aged. Botrytis is often accompanied by volatile acidity, which makes its presence felt strongly here.
It’s a very dark treacly/espresso colour (indicating barrel age), with citrus and espresso, dried fruits and dusty fruitcake spices.
The palate has the nuttiness, an extra mocha shot and abundant spices, It’s turbo-charged with sweetness, acidy and power. It’s a monster step up from the widely available 10 y/o black noble. There is no getting away from the VA, but when there is so much intensity, flavour, lusciousness, and pleasure that I become a convert.
Drink now, 94 points.