My few, (but select) readers will know my affection for the style of Morris fortifieds – go cruising for my thoughts on the amazingly affordable Old Premium (rare) muscat, or the 1986 Muscat. Morris – in Rutherglen Victoria – has large stocks of old fortified material, but it’s not solely age that matters – even though the holding cost, maintenance and evaporation are issues – the key is retaining life, vitality, and freshness where judicious blending with younger material is a dark, and underappreciated skill.
The CHM – named for winemaker David Morris’ father, mentor and legend Charles Henry (Mick) Morris – is a cellar-door only wine, pitched at $500 per half bottle (less for Club members) and I easily parted with my money after tasting the wine. Apparently only 100 half-bottles are released annually (mine was #70), and is described by David Morris as “the best muscat that I can make”. It shows love can triumph over the accountants!
If the Rutherglen “rare” classification is around” the 20 year mark – what is the next level? – Antique? Museum? Pinnacle? Icon? And despite more than 300 g/l of residual sugar, the acidity ensures a clean, refreshing wine.
Is there a food accompaniment? Not for this wine – give it some contemplation, let the flavours tantalise, and just smile and nod in appreciation and respect for the style, and the wine.
It’s a dark, dense mahogany colour, sticking to the glass. Floral raisin, mocha, toffee, rose-petal, cardamon and other spices. The very intense palate joins with a cascade of salinity, dried fruits and roasted mixed nuts on a silky, endless finish. The fortifying spirit is seamless.
Like all wines that stick in the memory, it has the magic that insists the bottle size is too small, and there just isn’t enough. A true “desert island” wine, it seems cruel to provide a score.
Drink now (if you can find it) and conservatively, 98 points.