An Oscars Wine Surprise
Were there any surprises at the Oscars this year? I don’t thinks so. Pobably because there was no single film that so towered over the others in hype and talk. When you’ve got those in the mix there is a real opportunity for upsets.
This was the first year in 10 that our house was not the scene of a multi-TV Oscars party. Instead we went to the home of a friend with about 8 others for a wine and Oscars party. Really it was a chance for him to break out many wines he’d been waiting to share with others.
While there was no upset at the Oscars, among the 15 or so wines we tasted there was not just an upset but a wine moment that was unexpectedly startling as to cause silence and a pause for a moment of reflection.
This moment came when two dessert wines were brought out right around Best Editing:
2000 SINE QUA NON "MR.K", THE NOBLEMAN, BOTRYTIS VIOGNIER (375ml)
NV YALUMBA MUSEUM RESERVE MUSCAT (375)
Two dessert wines from regions as far as you can get from each other. The 2000 SQN hails from Edna
Valley here in CA, the Yalumba Muscat from Australia. On the other hand, they are both that rare breed of wine that Robert Parker Jr., estimated to be rated in the upper 90s. The SQN got 96 points, the Yalumba got 98 Points.
By my estimation the Yalumba was the better wine. It is intensely flavored, rich and filled with fig, chocolate, coffee, maple, prune and spice flavors. And it goes on and and on. The SQN is more medium bodied and delilvers carmelized apple, ripe pear, apricot and marmalade flavors. A beautiful wine, but I’d drink the Aussie Muscat first…any day.
The real interesting difference between the two wines is price:
Yalumba Muscat: $25
SQN Viognier: $180
Now, these are aftermarket prices, both wines being purchased at auction. I don’t think we are looking at prices that reflect a huge demand for Botrytised Viognier from California. What we are looking at is what happens when one wine and one winemaker are so valued by the market, so hyped, so in demand that the price of the wine has no relationship to the rest of the market. This is not a judgement. Just an observation.
But here’s the bottom line: If you are a person who enjoys dessert wines, you have at your disposal a wine so amazing and so well priced that you really are obligated to buy the Yalumba Muscat. Share it witih friends if you must.
In some respects I’m not surprised that there have been no comments on this post, even though it points out something that has been one of the great values in wine for decades – namely the fortified wines of Australia, particularly muscats. It has always amazed me that muscats etc. are not more popular in the USA. You would think that with big fruity high octane dry wines from Australia being so popular, these dessert wines would also have a large following. But it does seem that high alcohol dessert wine is not popular with the masses, at least not 18% plus wine. (I’m not even sure that Port is all that popular either.)
The Sine Qua Non Viognier is a shade over 12% alcohol. I’ve never had the Sine Qua Non wine and I’m not like to do so as Parker’s note indicates that its available only from their mailing list; good luck getting onto that! In contrast the Yalumba is readily available at prices from $15-25/375 ml. And its only one of a number of producers of Muscat, Tokay, Tawny Port and so on from down under. Seppelts, Chambers, Buller, Morris, the list goes on and on. Rutherglen is, of course, the area of renown for these wines. I’ve been waiting for a blog on Aussie fortifieds to find its way onto the internet so that a resource could be made available. But http://www.rutherglenvic.com/ is about as close as I can get.
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