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From time to time we dust the cobwebs from around the barrels, deep in the cellar, where our valued stock of fortified wine is hidden. We will then select from a barrel and hand bottle to allow minimum interference in the flavours. After 20 years these wines increase with exquisite rancio characters of walnuts, truffles and fresh muffins with the sweet opulence of raisin fruit and the wickedness of black chocolate.
A privilege to drink, this wine is a natural with all strong cheeses, desserts of all flavours or merge effortlessly in front of a winter fire and a good book. The perfect port in any storm.
Fortified wines are what the Australian wine industry was built on and has to a large degree become the forgotten foundation for which we owe so much. Many of the old cult Shiraz and Grenache vineyards of today were planted originally for fortified wine production. As fashions and drinking trends change regularly it is becoming rarer to find gems like old tawny ports still in existence.
The reason is that to achieve a real depth in this wine style, there is no alternative but to age the wine for a generation or two. These wines were put to barrel when my girls still wore pigtails! The real soul of this wine style is the flavour that the very slow maturation and oxidation that takes place within the oak barrels. As the wood is slightly porous it allows infinitely small amounts of oxygen to slowly oxidize the wine to get the final luxurious texture and phenomenally intricate aromas. The loss of colour pigment effectively is what gives the wine style its name. This effectively allows for all the complexing and aging so that the wine is ready to drink when bottled and does not need to be cellared longer.
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