Guest tasting: Fortified Aussie wine

• This is a new feature that will appear from time to time when a colleague reviews a wine I wouldn't normally come across. The inaugural contribution is from Franz Scheurer, creator and editor of Australian Gourmet Pages:

d'Arenberg Nostalgia RARE

I know lots of winemakers who keep a small barrel of fortified wine in the cellar that they keep topping up with different wines and vintages, generally meant for their own consumption. Since the Osborne family took over the 19th Century vineyards in the McLaren Vale in 1912, they made a fair quantity of fortified wines for export to "The Empire"' but now they release tiny quantities under the name of Nostalgia each year -- because they want to, not out of necessity.

The Nostalgia is made from at least 15-year and older stock, predominantly grenache but also some inclusions of shiraz and mataro. It's a clean, luscious, fruit forward style with plenty of depth and does not give you a hangover (I can vouch for that).

This wine, made now by Chester Osborne but going back to father d'Arry, grandfather Frank and great grandfather Joe, is drunk at d'Arenberg to accompany local almonds, currants, cheese and fruit. As this is the oldest and rarest of d'Arenberg's wines it is released each year in tiny quantities only, making the statement of RARE on the label a reality.

Contact d'Arenberg and try and get some; it's delicious.

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