Even a committed Francophile like myself can't fail to be impressed by the wonderful fortified muscat produced in northern Victoria.
Last year the opportunity presented itself to purchase two 120 litre barrels of aged Muscat.
These barrels had lain undisturbed (apart from the odd sample drawn off for tasting and topping up) for decades.
The material for both barrels was purchased from Morris' in Rutherglen, arguably the finest source of fortified Muscat in Australia.
Barrel one, which we have named Cuvee 86, is 1986 Morris' Muscat, topped up in 2008 with 2003 Muscat from the same maker.
Barrel two, affectionately known as Cuvee 76, is 1976 Morris' Muscat, again topped up in 2008 with some 2003.
With an average age of over 20 years both Muscats qualify for the Rare Classification.
"Two quintessential examples of Rutherglen Muscat. These are viscous behemoths that pour like Castrol GTX, with a tremendous depth of colour, featuring a meniscus of Australian khaki green. These wines are a meal in themselves: those contemplating Xmas moderation could serve either of them in lieu of the plum pudding! But the more sensible approach would be to serve one or both of these wonders with the preferred pud and revel in how the richness and muscle of these wines embrace the pud's flavours and create the sort of food and wine match that is oft talked about, but seldom found.
Simply, two great wines of immense power, luscious, complex and mouth filling, so which to buy?
The "younger wine" has a slight edge in zest and freshness and with a touch of candied fruit peel adding to its complexity. The "senior" has greater power and size, with the flavours even darker and more pudding like.
Both wines probably best summed up by the following: in years gone by when cask samples were shown to one of Australia's greatest fortified producers and asked to comment he would sniff, utter "gold medal" and move on.
Australian Muscat Cuvee 86
$45.00 a 375ml Bottle
Christmas Special $38.00
Intense raisined nose. Chocolate, date, tea leaf, soft dried fruits. Very clean and fresh. Complex and balanced. Rich and powerful with an amazing streak of acidity that leaves the palate feeling very clean. Truly exceptional! And a serious bargain. 96-97 Points
Australian Muscat Cuvee 76
$85.00 a 375ml Bottle
Christmas Special $75.00
Presented in a wooden gift box with numbered Certificate of Authenticity. A prefect Christmas Gift for the wine lover.
A khaki rim tells of the age of this cuvee. Deeper and darker than the Cuvee 1986. Raisins, Christmas pudding, spice, nuts, glacee fruit - some rancio adding complexity. This is a monster with glass staining viscosity. The persistence in the mouth is incredible. Tremendously complex. This is why Rare Rutherglen Muscat is a world class wine. 98 Points
These are the ultimate wines for Christmas sipping along with Grandma's Plum Pudding.
If you don't have a recipe for Christmas Pudding you can download my family's special recipe (incorporating an all but forgotten ingredient) here.
To order on our website click here. Orders may also be placed by telephone (03) 9326 5737 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. The wines are available now. We also have stock at our 21 Toorak Rd store.