While the Sydney Wine Show exhibitors tasting the other week was an odd experience, I still ticked off the main goal, checking in with a bucketload of wines that I don’t always get to see (notes to come).
And this time around, one class got more than a passing glance – fortifieds.
Typically, I check in on this table on the way out. A slug of Muscat, then home. It’s the right way to finish a tasting, then you go off and drink beer.
But this year, I went to the fortifieds early, zeroing in on the Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat and Rare Topaque duo…
This is a double act that, in my mind, fits in amongst the finest wines in Australia, bar none, sitting alongside the world class Chambers Rare Muscat and Penfolds Para Part.
As a segment, this is the oft-overlooked top echelon of our greatest fermented grape juice, with an intensity and history that is older and more illustrious than Penfolds Grange (or indeed any table wine). Amazing, world class wines that are unique and uniquely Australian.
And pleasurable drinks all the way.
Comparing the pair, the Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat itself is an exercise in almost limitless opulence. It’s like a torrent of ultra-concentrated liquefied dry figs, the sweetness overwhelming, the finish endless.
Indeed normally I’m a Muscat man, seduced by the hedonism. But side by side, the wine I wanted to take home was the Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Topaque.
For mine, what give the Topaque the edge is that it feels vinous – as if it has come from vines and a winery, rather than some otherworldly fruit. There’s Earl Grey tea, fish oil, anise and green olives. It’s not just about fruit, even though the palate is obviously shaped by sweetness – fruit and alcohol sweetness. That complexity, ultimately, is what gives the edge and make it compelling.
What’s even more amazing about either of these wines – and indeed most Australian fortifieds – is the price. A quick Google reveals that both of the Morris wines are freely available for under $100, a price which doesn’t match quality, age, rarity of material… Heck anything.
A sublime wine, and a sublime segment of the market, that deserves even more attention. Buy it now before the rest of the world catches on…
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I was just up at cellar door and found plenty there to like. I had trouble determining a preference for the rare Topaque and muscat so I bought a bottle of each. I did have a slight preference for the Grand Topaque over the Grand Muscat but I’d be splitting hairs there as well.
I’d add the Campbells Isabella and Merchant Price in that category along with the Morris and the Chambers and I’d suggest that both had slightly better balance and elegance than either the Morris or Chambers versions. Having said that, there is no doubt that the Morris fortifieds are extraordinary . Their cellar club which commits you to buying two 6 packs of anything of theirs a year gives you 20% off which reduces the rares down to a little over $72 if I remember rightly