Hello from Devon, where we've just received a new delivery from Chateau Musar, still one of the world's best value sources of mature, interesting wine. Right now the 1998 is in a sweet spot. It is drinking beautifully - a 'Rhône-like vintage, with Cinsault dominating the flavour profile - and it is currently the best value of the mature wines in the Musar range.
Pale, particularly bright garnet. Light, spicy, particularly well-integrated nose. Already well developed. Sweet start and very nicely mature. Seems just right now. The opposite of heavy. Lifted, jewel-bright. Really lovely wine. Fresh, sweet with some very slight mintiness. Dry finish and it would go beautifully with food. Very long. One of my favourite wines in this collection. Is it the Cinsault I like so much?
18.5 pointsJancis Robinson MW
Six Christmas Highlights
1. Château Suduiraut 2010 Sauternes 1er Cru Classé
Great vintage of Suduiraut, always one of the top three wines in Sauternes. This is truly delicious.
2. Château Filhot 2001 Sauternes 2eme Cru Classé (half-bottle)
A bargain for a half bottle of 20 year old Sauternes, drinking very nicely.
3. Hatzidakis 2004 Vinsanto (half-bottle)
Santorini's speciality, this glorious nectar has spent 16 years in barrel.
4. Warre's 1997 Vintage Port (damaged labels)
Yes, the labels have pretty much fallen off now, but at £39 for a 25 year old bottle of Vintage Port from one of the best houses this is a great buy.
5. Barbeito Boal Reserve Madeira (50cl)
Underappreciated and underpriced, Madeira is at least a favourite here. Complex, nutty and with sweetness balanced by fresh acidity.
6. Niepoort Bioma Crusted Port (bottled 2014)
Niepoort's Bioma Vintage Port is a stunning wine but (for Port) very expensive (the 2013 would be retailing here for £115). However, 2012 wasn't declared so instead we have this 'non-vintage' crusted version at a fraction of the price. It's massive, concentrated, but with perfect balance.