Andrew Jefford introduces a thrilling tasting shared with Alison Buchanan and Margaret Rand in which each taster struggled to find appropriate words to match their enthusiasm for the “undervalued, underappreciated brilliance” of a range of classic fortifieds from Swan Valley and Rutherglen in Victoria and from across South Australia in the latest issue of The World of Fine Wine.

 

All Saints Estate Museum Muscadelle

Average Score: 91

First taster: Alison Buchanan, Score: 89

Note: Prune-juice-like in appearance, this is highly perfumed, floral, with only the vaguest hints of dried fruit. The palate is much more vinous, still floral but with Eccles-cake notes and warm fruitcake, vibrantly spiced. The finish presents dried fruit and citrus layered with dark chocolate—rather decadent really.    

Second taster: Andrew Jefford, Score: 95

Note: Dense, deep, dark walnut, with middling viscosity for the über-grandees. Earthy and forest-like aromas, complex and enticing, almost fresh and sprightly, with very little treacly fullness left after all these years. Fragrant, refined, unlit cigar leaf in the cedar cabinet: very refined and enticing. Hugely deep and searching on the palate, and with pronounced acidity, but that acidity carries all the weight of the perfumed fruits on its back; intense, long, lingering, tobaccoey, and fine. Not the ultimate weight, but magnificent disposition of perfumes, lively and long. A peacock.   

Third taster: Margaret Rand, Score: 90

Note: Bitter, acidic, almost too searing to be enjoyable. A relic rather than a wine for drinking—but a relic of great distinction and elegance.   

 

All Saints Estate Rutherglen Museum Muscat

Average Score: 91

First taster: Alison Buchanan, Score: 89

Note: Very darkly colored, this nonetheless is less clinging in the glass. The nose is highly perfumed, not particularly vinous but floral— violet-scented. The palate combines rose, violet, and earthy minerals with dark chocolate raisins and mocha cream. This is an extraordinary glassful—so perfumed, so alluring, and with so many layers and such complexity.     

Second taster: Andrew Jefford, Score: 92
Note: Very dark, now, with a brown-yellow rim, but less viscous in the glass than many of its peers. Harmonious and refined aromas of raisins, chocolate, mint, pine, camphor, with nothing obtruding; no palpable orange anymore. Elegant rather than monstrous, or such is the suggestion of the aromas. Dense, deep-founded, and vivid, and actually there is a liveliness of fruit here, which I didn’t expect, though it is the liveliness of dried fruit, of raisins. Very pure, sheer, pristine, and fine.   

Third taster: Margaret Rand, Score: 91

Note: Precise and detailed, hardly sweet, certainly savory, like very concentrated beef essence. Less aroma than some, just this sense of essence of wine. Extraordinary, harmonious, all unnecessary decoration gone.   

 

 

The All Saints Estate Museum Fortified range is available online or at Cellar Door.