I will write it at the beginning so it’s clear: it is the best fortified wine I’ve tried while visiting Australia this year and one of the bests in my life. I don’t know how it happened that I came back to France without even one bottle of this Empire Series Rare Muscat but I did and I regret it.
“From the middle of the 19th century, McLaren Vale became famous for producing fortified wine. These dessert wines often surpassed those of traditional European suppliers and proudly reinforced the concept of a mighty, far-flung antipodean empire. Out of favour in recent years, our Muscat stocks lay sleepily in barrels above our old cellars. Upon recent tasting, our winemakers declared these wines deserved to be shared and savoured (…)”.
I agree, the wine deserves to be shared and every fortified-lover should try it. I am not joking. It’s the must try even for those who don’t like sweet wines (hmm… it’s not sweet, it’s fortified :p) – I guarantee you will fall in love with it!
So what is it that made me crazy about it? Let’s start with the appearance – beautiful honey-gold coloured with amber hues. One look, just one swirl and you know the wine will be luscious and will show you more than you can expect.
The bouquet made me feel like I’m in heaven. Very intensive aroma of honey, orange marmalade, dried apples and dried pears, white raisins with a beautiful hint of chocolate and coffee. It was solid, generous and long-lasting aroma.
In the mouth The Empire Series Rare Muscat is luscious, velvety and harmonious but at the same time it has lively and crisp acidity that balance the sweetness. Full bodied, rich and muscular. Plus some elegance on the finish that I am not able to describe with words.
On the palate you will find lots of coffee flavours altogether with raisins, hazelnuts and honey. The wine is concentrated, intense and pure. It’s sophisticated and harmonious complexity brings you to the long, persistent and coffee flavoured finish. It’s definitely a feminine wine – elegant, balanced and harmonious. A true beauty!
Wirra Wirra The Empire Series Rare Muscat NV – wine review:
Wine – The Empire Series Rare Muscat
Country – Australia
Region – South Australia
Appellation – McLaren Vale
Vintage – NV
Grape varieties – Muscat
Producer – Wirra Wirra Wines, RC & RT Trott
Vineyards – Wirra Wirra Vineyards in McLaren Vale
Style and type – fortified; red, dessert wine
Alcohol – 19%
Barrel ageing – yes
Serving temperature – 13-16°C
Cellaring – yes
Price range – 30$ /500ml
Others – Cellar Door release; minimal suplhur, dioxide added, contains milk products; ‘rare’ means the wine is older than 25 years
Tasting date – March 2015, South Australia, Wirra Wirra, McLaren Vale