As winemaker for 60 vintages, Peter Talijancich recalls 1961 - the year that the now famous Muscat was produced.
I vividly recall the Muscat fruit from '61, as that year I decided to leave the fruit in boxes for some five days before crushing. Though looking at the wine now, 57 years down the track, I have every reason to smile, not just for the success of the wine, but for the outstanding quality.
The fruit was virtually all raisin, and even at that early stage had an incredibly rich, honey-like aroma. I felt leaving the fruit in boxes would give the stalks a chance to dry, and therefore a greater concentration of flavour into the fruit. The fruit was crushed and minced immediately to extract all the richness from each berry, then left on the skins for four days, at which time the juice was separated, fermented and fortified.
At this point, I realized how important it was to keep this wine to mature for a few years. If someone had told me back in '61 that it was going to be twenty odd years before it was sold to the public, I would have laughed, to say the least.
My evaluation of the wine is as follows:
The wine begins with a dark, almost black colour- noticeable the moment you pour it from the bottle. The nose displays all the virtues of the wine. An incredibly rich, complex Muscat character, the result of years of maturation in old English oak.
If you can draw it away from your nose a moment and decide to put some on the palate, you will be greeted by an almost 'haunting' flavour. A beautifully concentrated raisin flavour, almost treacle in texture, smooth, soft and incredibly intense.
A lovely complex old liqueur which has retained all its splendour and developed beautifully.
I sincerely hope you enjoy it.