"All Saints is in very good hands; I doubt there has been a better ownermanagement team over its 150-year history. Sure, it exists only because of the courage, skill and inventiveness of its founders, George Sutherland Smith and brother-in-law John Banks. Without wishing to belittle the role they played, the period from 1865 to 1892 was one of exceptional prosperity, similar to the iron and coal boom days of 1990 to 2010, except that their mineral was gold.

The great bank crash of 1893 was of a similar magnitude for Australia as the GFC, and the arrival of phylloxera was arguably even more devastating than the collapse of the iron ore price. The macro view of any export commodity is beset by uncertainty. When it is primary produce, supply and demand can be upset by weather, changes in consumption triggered by tax or special interest groups, and many other factors outside the producer's control.

All Saints' ownership by the Sutherland Smith family for over 100 years came to an end in the late 1980s when it was purchased by an investment syndicate headed by the well-regarded Mike Fallon. His sudden death led to the appointment of receivers and the sale of a large portion of the precious fortified wine stocks; but in 1991 Brown Brothers acquired it and set about restoring the business.

A few years later, Peter R. Brown divested his shareholding in Brown Brothers and acquired All Saints from the family. His death in a road accident in November 2005 pitchforked his highly intelligent and motivated children Eliza, Angela and Nicholas into management of this priceless winery. While its stocks of very old muscat and muscadelle (tokay or topaque) are of the highest quality and irreplaceable, the business today is based on 90 per cent table wine sales and only 10 per cent fortified. And in Dan Crane they have an unsung but exceptionally talented winemaker.

2012 All Saints Estate Family Cellar Marsanne (SOLD OUT - View other vintages available)
Wild yeast-fermented, plus one year on lees in new and used oak. A year older than the standard All Saints Marsanne, it has more complexity in its texture and flavour; tremendous drive, length and persistence from citrussy acidity; honeysuckle, honey and toast characters will burst out around '16.
12.9% ale; screwcap
95 points; drink to 2025; $30

2012 All Saints Estate Family Cellar Durif (SOLD OUT - View other vintages available)
Vines planted in '96 by the "new" team, respecting Rutherglen's affinity with the variety. Open fermented, it spent 18 months in French puncheons (25% new). Black fruits, bitter chocolate and tar flavours typical of the variety, the tannins an integral part of the texture and structure. July 1 release.
14% ale; screwcap
95 points; drink to 2028; $65

NV All Saints Estate Museum Rutherglen Muscadelle
Significantly more olive on the rim, has all the spiced perfume of the Rare, also the malt, tea leaf, shortbread and burnt toffee flavours, but builds greater intensity and velocity on the palate, which extends the finish and aftertaste. Based on 80-year-old components; bottled on order (in 500ml bottles).
18% ale; Vino-Lok
98 points; drink to 2016; $1000"

James Halliday, Weekend Australian, 21 June 2014

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