Frontignac Riverina New South Wales
This aged multi-vineyard Muscat is made from Red Frontignac and blended to an average age of five years. The fruit, picked extremely ripe to maintain the sweetness of the style, is sourced entirely from McWilliam's vineyards in the Riverina wine region in New South Wales. The warm and dry conditions in the Riverina are ideal for fortifieds, enabling all the varieties to ripen superbly and produce great richness of flavour. Fermentation is arrested at the desired sweetness by the gradual addition of a high quality neutral spirit, also made at the Hanwood winery.
The fruit is harvested at a minimum 14 baume, crushed into open fermenters, and then partially fermented on skins for between seven and ten days to extract maximum colour and flavour. This gradual fortification of around two per cent alcohol per addition helps control fermentation and ensures seamless wine and fortification integration. To control the development of aged rancio characters – and to keep the flavours fresh and balanced – this Muscat was matured in larger oak barrels than those used for tawny ports. These barrels are more than ten years old. This allows the wine to slowly develop complexity without obvious oak flavours and characters. The final blend is then cold stabilised and filtered prior to bottling.
This supple, sweet wine appeals to non-fortified wine drinkers because of its fresh fruit flavours. It is a lovely rich red/amber in colour, there are pleasant aromas which cut across demographics and are universally welcome. Marmalade and steamy fruitcake, floral rose petal notes and fruit characters are obvious on the nose. The palate offers smooth and rich Frontignac characters and concentrated raisins, showing considerable lusciousness from both retained sweetness and fruit intensity. Ribbons of fresh, perfumed orange rind, both sweet and bitter, amazingly incorporated into jammy sweet tobacco leaf-like characters, a lusty brown Fontignac and a sensational drop to enjoy with good company.