Recent drinks, mixed

Here are some very brief notes of wines recently consumed where I had little opportunity for leisurely contemplation, and sometimes dim lighting!

Stanton and Killeen are based in Rutherglen (Victoria), and continue to make a Vintage Fortified  (their first vintage was 1971), including some traditional Portuguese grape varieties since the mid 1990’s.  They have conducted several retrospective tastings, and from notes they have published, the cepages, vintage ratings and their – conservative- optimum drinking spans have been included below. They have a number of older vintages still available for sale (here). 

1990 Stanton and Killeen “Moodemere” Vintage Port (100% Shiraz)
The vintage was rated as 8.5/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2010 and 2015. (Stanton and Killeen also released a “jack’s block” Vintage Port from that year, rated as 9.5/10)

Served blind, I estimated this wine to be around 25 years old. Deep red colour with some bricking; camphor, lavender, musk, salted almond; dark fruits, mocha, spirit, cocoa. Plenty of time ahead – drink to 2030 and 92 points.

2004 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Fortified (30% Shiraz, 19% Durif, 21% touriga, 10% each of tinta cao, tinta roriz and tinta barocca).

The vintage was rated as 8.5/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2020 and 2024, and was awarded 5 gold medals and 4 silver medals at various Australian wine shows – “decadence, cocoa, relatively dry, wholesome”. Drink to 2030 and 93 points.

2005 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Fortified (32% Shiraz, 32% Durif, 16% each of tinta cao, 10% tinta roriz and 10% touriga).

The vintage was rated as 9/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2022 and 2026, and was awarded 1 trophy and 10 gold medals at Australian wine shows. Cocoa, raspberry and blackberry jam. This wine was amazingly vibrant, chewy with beautifully integrated spirit and fine tannins –  a long decant and further cellaring is highly recommended. Drink to 2040, and 95 points.

2015 Pressing Matters r9 Riesling
Tasmanian (Coal river valley) with around 9 g/l residual sugar; (the company also typically releases an r0, R39, r69 and r139 Rieslings), abundant vitality, clean citrus notes and the level of sweetness sits well with its framework of acidity; while it will keep, I would drink this wine while it is in a vibrant phase; anytime to 2025, and 89 points.

2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 7%
Excellent winemaker, excellent site, and an excellent vintage in the Mosel, so I had high expectations. The wine is pale and youthful, with exciting viscosity, a touch of petroleum overlaying ripe red apple, flintiness and delicacy. Irresistible, so 93 points and drink anytime to 2030.

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More recent random “theme” drinks

2008 Schloss Lieser Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett 8%
Cork Ok, and another 2008 Mosel riesling ready for action.
Light gold colour, abundant ripe red apple, white flowers and lemon aromatics; the palate is light-bodied but full-flavoured, with  red berries, apple, honey and willing acidity. Purchase notes indicate 63 g/l residual sugar. Irresistible, but drink up while it’s still bursting with energy.

Drink to 2023, and 91 points; I’m quietly purring that I have some of their higher-end wines from that year too….

2010 Petaluma Fortified shiraz 20%
half bottle, cork, and probably a cellar-door wine as the “Petaluma” brand is buried in the back label.

This is a very smart wine from the Adelaide Hills (South Australia); abundant ripe black cherry melded with sweet brandy spirit. Irresistible.  And then the subtleties emerge; this is pristine-  blueberry, mulberry, morello cherry. Whispery, very fine silky tannins. A modern, seductive, classy fortified with supreme balance that will mature gracefully over many more years. Juicy, fleshy and the “drunken cherry” flavours are wondrous.

Drink to 2030, and 93 points.

Random recent drinking

2010 Ch La Tour blanche 14% (sauternes)
80% Semillon, 15% Sav Blanc, 5% Muscadelle, 130 g/l rs
A chateau that overdelivers on bang-for buck, there is stonefruit, barley-sugar, just-ripe apricot and cumquat. Oak plays in the background and this is delicious.
93 points, and irresistible to 2025, or longer.

2007 Joh Jos Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese AP29,  7.5%
Ripe red apple, petroleum, minerals.Crunchy, some fruit rind notes too on the palate, bracing, lovely tingly, pebbly drive.
The 2007 Mosel Rieslings have emerged from their shell and are providing rewarding hedonistic drinking
92 points, and drink to 2030 or beyond

2004 Ch Climens 13.5%, (Barsac)
Glue smells accompany apricot cream and almond. Very sweet, but with a some bitterness too. It had the misfortune to be contrasted with the next wine, and while this half-bottle was eminently drinkable,
86 points. Perhaps an underperforming bottle.

2005 Ch Doisy-daene 14% (Barsac)
Another VFM producer, and the wine shows nutmeg and cinnamon spices, pineapple and vanilla. Classic palate length, with sweetness and acidity just right.
93 points, and drink to 2028.

2007 Knebel Winninger Rottgen Auslese Riesling 7%

From a half bottle, the cork shows some wine travel- no qualms; the label is cellar-scuffed, but the contents are much more important.

knebel 2007

 

The colour is bright gold, with abundant, tantalising stewed apricot, cinnamon spice,  pineapple and dark honey. This is class! Reinhard and Beate Knebel  (Mosel, Germany)  have no trouble delivering wines with an abundance of richness, but with the harmonious balancing acid to provide delight.

The palate is palatial and unctuous (with 190 g/l of residual sugar, somewhat atypically abundant for an Auslese, but I am not complaining). Apricot, quince, honey, wrapped with cinnamon and faint vanilla pod spices. Fresh and  smooth, from a fairly typical recent Mosel vintage, this is a startling reminder of the lush featherlight excellence of a sweet Riesling,  full of flavour with modest alcohol.

Match with a fruit platter or by just by itself for delightful contemplation.

Drink to 2030, 95 points and I am jealous of anyone that has some bottles remaining.

2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese #6, 7.5%

This wine is still a clear and bright pale straw colour, with voluminous aromas of petroleum, kiwi-fruit, green melon, lime, some waxiness, and a touch of camphor too.

2005 fritz haag bjs auslese

The palate is poised and effortless, concentrated , with more lemon and light tropical flavours added to the mix. Its the kind of wine that puts me on high alert as it slides along and teases the senses, freshness and balance a key attribute.

Fritz Haag is one of the top Mosel estates, and this wine was a lovely example of Riesling with some bottle maturity, and naturally capable of much further aging. My suspicion is that the residual sugar level is around 80 g/l.

Drink to 2028 and 93 points.

 

2001 MF Richter Mulheimer Helenkloster Riesling Eiswein 9.5%

Eiswein is a rare beast; grapes are left out to freeze (picked when at least 8 degrees Celsius below freezing), running the dangers of assorted undesirable rots, birds,  and greatly reduced yields.  Picking (in Germany) usually takes place in December, and sometimes into the next year. Eiswein is  troublesome to make, and expensive to purchase, with the residual sugars generally between BA and TBA levels.

Richter (from the Mosel) is blessed with a site (Helenkloster) that usually produces an Eiswein -(sometimes more than one- that may be differentiated on the label by an ** and of course the AP number). And several Richter wines are imported into Australia, although I am more familiar with their rich Kabinetts and Spatlese Rieslings.

I visited the Richter estate in 2007 and was treated to a range of wines, a lightning tour of the winery and its museum, and left with a purchased armload including several back-vintage wines.

2001 richter eiswein

Information kindly – and promptly- provided by Dr Dirk Richter about the wine “grapes were picked on 24 December at minus 13C; 255 g/l residual sugar, 12.1 g/l acidity” and a meagre 200 litres were made. These are very serious numbers! An eiswein ** was also made with equally sobering statistics.

The wine is a light copper colour with a khaki rim; there are exotic aromas of raisin, dried fruits, even coconut. The palate is still lively, with assertive apricot, orange citrus, and with some breathing, more lime characters. Brisk, clean, dense, and delightfully decadent.

While this style can live for decades, with its inherent acidity, on the evidence of this half-bottle, I favour the conservative side of the drinking window.

Drink to 2025, and 94 points.

 

 

 

 

2005 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese (AP 03 07) 7%

IMAG0812

The wizened cork has nevertheless done its duty, but I hope my remaining bottle will be preserved for at least another 5 years.

The wines of JJ Prum are easily available in Australia; the Wehlener Sonnenuhr is my “go-to” vineyard, and the Auslese level hits my personal “sweet spot” of complexity and affordability. But the JJ Prum wines- like so many Mosel Rieslings – reward cellaring. 2005 was an exceptional vintage in the Mosel.

The colour of this Mosel wine is a bright clear light lemon; there are enticing scents of ripe red apple, dried pear, lemon, smoke, petroleum, stones and a twist of ginger. The palate is rich, clean and overwhelmingly pretty; it’s viscous with natural acidity that is refreshing, and insists that further tasting is mandatory. My guess was around 90 g/l of residual sugar, but beautifully integrated. The palate shows white honey,  red apple, some emerging lime, and of course flint. A wine that is easily approachable, enjoyable and complex.

Drink to at least 2035 , and 95 points for now – with enormous prospects for improvement in the future.