NV Chambers rosewood rare tokay (17%)

What’s in a name? This wine is labelled as Tokay, made from Muscadelle grapes , and the style is generally now called Topaque.

Chambers Rosewood is a long-established winery in Rutherglen. I used to travel there with my parents, and the welcome was “wine is in the fridge on the verandah – help yourselves” from legend Bill Chambers. You poured into “shot-glasses” and most wine was available by the bottle and flagon.

Despite modernisation over the years, there is still a baffling – and large range of wines available to taste, with some varieties I haven’t seen elsewhere.

nv chambers tokay

A lovely lunchtime treat (served blind, as usual).

The first thing that impresses is the colour, a dark motor oil, brown yet still with a green/khaki rim. Great age suspected, and it was viscous, reluctant to swirl. Then it amazes with just how much flavour can be compressed into its volume; there is the varietal muscadelle tea and malt, plus some almond and mocha; (no butterscotch here though, another typical descriptor). And it goes on, just defying my efforts to keep smelling and stop sipping.  If only I could have a bigger glass! And a bewildering long finish; amazing.

Its the top quality tier – “rare” which describes these luscious beauties well. They have had many years maturing in barrels, become denser and richer.

But these decadent Rutherglen fortifieds are not just about aged material; there is the mastery to blend in some younger, fresher material; so the density and concentration is not cloying – a treasure. The price ($250 per half bottle), in world terms is fair. A half bottle would be nicely shared with 4 people, and provide an outstanding sensory experience.

Drink now – 98 points!



NV Morris cellar reserve grand liqueur tokay 17%

This is a style that Australians should be patriotic about. It’s recently been rebadged the ghastly “topaque”, to avoid any confusion with the Hungarian Tokay, and is made from muscadelle. It’s a fortified wine, made with neutral spirit, and has extensive barrel aging. The classification scheme from the Rutherglen area ascends from Rutherglen, Classic, grand, then rare, largely based on years in barrel, but with a committee assessing submissions – older does not been better – as a bit of judicious freshening can really make a difference. As a guide, the Grand classification is usually around 10-20 years old on average, and may be upwards of 250 g/l residual sugar. This is one of the styles I perform impromptu kitchen bench blends with.

This particular wine is available at Morris cellar-door only for $50; $40 for club members

morris grand top 1

The typical memory prompts include cold tea, malt, toffee and butterscotch ; while Muscat veers more into raisins. Telling them apart is never a certainty. A little is alleged to go a long way, but the style is irresistible to me, and one glass leads to another. Many North-east Victorian wineries make this style, such as All Saints, Baileys, Bullers, Campbells and Chambers. Morris is the one most attuned to my sensitivities – or the one that seems to float my boat.

There is no real food match- heretics may pour over ice cream, some will try strong hard cheeses, nuts and black coffee; but the winning match is an open fire and pleasant conversation, The wine was made by David Morris, but no doubt incorporates heritage work by his father the legendary Mick Morris, and beyond!

It’s a deep dark khaki colour with an amber/olive rim; it’s viscous and somewhat reluctant to pour. It oozes into the glass hesitantly, the words” rich and luscious” do not do justice to the length and depth of flavours, this wine seems all about toffee and malt; there is bracing cleansing acidy that defies a person to stop sipping.

Score 94 points

It’s frightening to consider that there is a further quality echelon (rare) to come, and even more awesome that there are other special bottlings at prices beyond my means. If I win a lottery yes – but I would need to first buy a ticket.