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1892 Moulin Touchais
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- Closure: Cork
- Masterpieces of the Nineteenth Century –
The Grandfather Wines Of Moulin Touchais.
To offer a one hundred year guarantee on a bottle of table wine would seem to be a foolish proposition, particularly when one considers the logistics behind the offer. The first doubt that comes to mind stems from the fact that very few wines are in fact capable of lasting that long, and even if one could find such a wine, what guarantee is there that the company making such an offer will be in business in one hundred years time? Then there is the simple arithmetic problem that even a school boy can work out. How many of us are going to live a hundred years, and if we do, will we have the mental awareness to appreciate what we are drinking?There is one wine producer who has overcome all of these doubts. That producer is Moulin Touchais from the Loire Valley in France.
The sweet wines of Moulin Touchais are all made from Chenin Blanc, which surprisingly, is not botrytized. The Chenin is picked in two batches, the first lot harvested around eighty days after flowering, which results in the grapes being unripe and very high in acidity. The second lot of grapes are harvested at on hundred and twenty days after flowering, by which time the acidity has dropped right off but the grapes are loaded with sugar. The acidity is the key to the wines longevity – and in many ways this type of winemaking can be compared with the Semillons from the Hunter Valley, which are picked at very high acid levels and bottle aged for a minimum of 5 years. Clare Valley Rieslings follow a similar pattern, but in both cases there is little possibility of a hundred years bottle life. Moulin Touchais ferment each of the wines separately around September to November, and leave them in neutral storage until around March the following year. The wines are bottled and then allowed to age for a minimum of 10 years prior to release. So the 2004 vintage will be available for sale in 2014.
So what guarantee is there, even under these winemaking conditions, that the wines will live 100 years? The answer to that question can only be revealed by tasting old bottles of Moulin Touchais. We recently conducted such a tasting in Melbourne at Jacque Reymond Restaurant. Thirteen vintages were assembled – many of these wines were previously tasted and full tasting notes are available on our website www.nicks.com.au. The wines tasted were from the following vintages: 1994, 1992, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1982, 1977, 1975, 1971 and 1959. The highlights were the Grandfathers: 1892, 1885 and 1872. These wines were all re corked and re waxed then air freighted to Australia several months prior to the tasting. We must admit that a certain degree of anxiety accompanied these rare wines and we hoped that they would be more than Vinous Currios. For those of you whose arithmetic skills are doubtful, the age of the wines were 112 years, 119 years and 132 years. We are told that the oldest wine remaining in the cellar of Moulin Touchais is from 1823. So what did these wines taste like? Interestingly, at 100 years of age, the wines are probably still not at their peak. In a word, they were described by wine critic, James Halliday as being ‘euphoric!'
Tasting Notes: The 1892 was the first wine in the line up of nineteenth century wines. All wines were cooled to 14ºC and opened shortly before being served. The 1892 wine was the lightest in colour of the three, being orange with golden hue. The nose continued to evolve over the course of half an hour during which time the wines were carefully sipped and evaluated for every nuance of flavour. Aroma of toffee, caramel, honey and spice emerge with a touch of rancio being evident. The palate has dried out, but not totally, and revealed flavours of amontillado sherry, toffee and toffee apple. Excellent finesse, with a sense of complexity that just kept evolving. Very good palate length with an acid backbone that is still displaying a sense of freshness. Very clean finish, with very long aftertaste of honey and toffee apple. A wonderful taste experience.