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Drinks 8 Unique Wines To Experience

8 Unique Wines To Experience

8 Unique Wines To Experience
By James Suckling
November 24, 2018
Over his three decades as a wine critic, James Suckling has encountered a number of talented winemakers driving the industry forward. Their innovative experimentation includes trying new ways to age wines, from keeping them in obscure locations such as mountain mines and underwater, to playing music in cellars

Niepoort Porto VV Very Old Tawny Port

The base for this blend is a very fine port from 1863, of the highest quality, aged in casks until 1972 and then “bottled” in demijohns. A tawny port with coffee, nuts, chocolate, sultana, toffee and dried lemon rind. Full, very sweet and intense, with so much flavour and depth. Goes on for minutes. Bottled in November 2012. An exceptionally rare edition of this 155-year-old vintage port sealed in a signed 1863 Lalique decanter will be auctioned in Hong Kong on November 3. 100 points

Seppeltsfield Barossa 100 Year Old Para Tawny

A blend of 12 vintages spanning 1886 to 1970, this one-off blend with an average age of 100 years has been released as a special bottling in 150 crystal decanters crafted by Lalique. The complexity is indescribable and almost incomprehensible. Roasted nuts and very sweet, caramelised, rancio character. Concentrated, raisined fruit. Molasses, sweet old wood, polished leather and a wealth of sweet spices. The palate has deep-reaching, essence-like dried plum, raisin, saffron and a wealth of dark chocolate, then toasted nuts, burnt orange, dark woody notes and concentrated fruit. But the texture is the thing: it sits with purposeful weight and really possesses the palate in a way that no other wine does. Muscular, expansive espresso finish that lingers fresh and captivating. Drink now. 100 points

ALois Lageder Chardonnay Alto Adige Löwengang 30 NV

This Italian estate plays music in the cellar during the ageing process. The music is connected to a windmill, which allows nature to decide when the music is played. The nose oozes elegance and panache. Aromas of dried citrus rind, chalk, light stone fruit, clove and spices, vanilla, cream and guava peel. Full body, driving, vibrant acidity, layer upon layer of fruit and an expansive, phenolic and long finish. A blend of 2013, ’14, ’15 Löwengang chardonnay with limited batonnage in the first six months. Bottled in May 2017 and released in September 2017. Drink now. 98 points

Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2015

This Bordeaux estate ages its wines in egg-shaped concrete vessels made with soil from its vineyards. So much floral and dark-fruit character to this wine, with almond and walnut shell. Full body and ultra-fine tannins. Powerful. Classic style with harmony and energy. Goes on for minutes. A superb wine with great fruit. Try in 2025. 98 points

Cantina Tramin Gewürztraminer Alto Adige Epokale 2009

A rare Italian white made from 100 per cent Gewürztraminer that has been bottle-aged for seven years in a mountain mine 2,000m above sea level. Dense and powerful, with dried apple, apricot and pineapple character, and an oily texture underneath the layer of bright acidity and ripe fruit. Full-bodied, medium-sweet, and layered, with so much going on. Very spicy, with lemon peel and dried fruit on the finish. Drink now. 97 points

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Carte Jaune NV

A diving team discovered 47 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne in 2010 in a shipwreck near Finland’s Åland archipelago. The producer was impressed with the wine and created its own cellar in the sea for ageing. One of the most appealing all-rounders in the NV stakes, this one has plenty of toasty warmth on the nose, with grilled berries and peach, as well as citrus and gentle woody spices. The palate delivers bold citrus flavours with light berry notes to finish. Drink now. 92 points

Andreas Schmitges Riesling Mosel Prälat Trocken 2016

A long-time German producer famed for its rieslings, Andreas Schmitges ages its whites in lagars, where the grapes are crushed. This one is still a bit closed, but there is very attractive nectarine fruit on the palate, where the wine has some real depth and great harmony. 92 points

Balthasar Ress Riesling Rheingau Hallgarten 2015

This German producer not only grows its vines by the Rhine, it also ages them in the river. The aromas of white fruit (mostly nutty apple and Asian pear) are intense and subtle. On the palate it has got the classic Rheingau balance of crisp acidity, fruit and herbal flavours. Better still, the long finish is silky for this moderately priced category, and although labelled “feinharb” (medium-dry), it is dry. 91 points

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