I was chatting with Andrew Calabria after the Fontanafredda Barolo vertical, and he mentioned how amazed his family were at the trove of ancient McWilliams fortifieds they’d uncovered in the (recently purchased) old Hanwood winery. What a pleasure that some of that gloriously mature material is getting some love, released here as the McWilliams Hanwood Estate Rare 20yo Tawny.
As ever with these Riverina/Rutherglen fortifieds, this is incredibly luscious and confoundingly intense. Dark, treacly brown, heading to black, with a whiff of volatility to mark the age. It’s fresh though, rather than stale, and the vibrancy of the honeycomb meets treacle meets butterscotch palate is seriously unctuous. In some ways, it’s too sweet, too butterscotch rich, and caramel, but that sheer volume of expansive flavour fills our nose/mouth senses. Maybe a bit singular, but the concentration is just super. Great to see this old fortified getting celebrated properly.
Best drinking: now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 19.5%, $80. McWilliams website. Would I buy it? A glass after dinner thanks. Although, it’s not in the same realm as the otherworldly Morris Old Premium rare Tawny which is only $20 more.
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