16 June 2008

A Pair of Australian Ports

Two of the Ports I first discovered as a freshly legal wine-purchasing citizen were both from Australian producer Yalumba: the Clocktower and Galway Pipe. I don't know if they're still being made but they've disappeared from local shelves. That absence provides an excellent opportunity to try some of the other entry-level Port-style fortified wines from the land where women glow and men plunder.

Image of Barossa Valley wine country courtesy of Lou Carter, my globe-trotting grandmother. While I'm in Cleveland, my grandmother is planning a trip to South America.

First up is the NV Penfolds Club Tawny, reportedly the most popular Port in Australia. I've never seen it around Memphis but I picked up a bottle in Cleveland. $10, 18% abv. Made from a South Australia blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). Penfolds has always been a reliable producer and their Grandfather is a shining example of the genre.

Not a spectacular Port but a good one for the price. Bit of a cherry cough syrup profile but it improved with breathing. It's got a lovely nose but needs some air before the flavor truly develops.

Enjoyed over at Paul's with Grace's fabulous crème brûlée after dinner, where it ably played the role of a decent dessert wine. It is not recommended that you wield the bottle as a blunt weapon.

A week later we tried the NV Jonesy Rare Aged Port, also from South Australia and made mostly from Pedro Ximénez but also including Shiraz, Grenache, and Semillon. $15, 19% abv and a whopping 93 score from Robert Parker.

Really intense fortified wine here, with rich aromas of fig, chocolate, molasses, coffee... Full flavor and high alcohol but it goes down smoothly. A real delight and a steal for the price. As noted in my 2005 post from a tasting where I got to drink this with the winemaker, Trevor Jones, much of the press refers to this as being 46 years old when in reality it's four to six years old.

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