€13.80, £14, AU$29.95, $25.30 and Sing$50 per 37.5cl
I'm not the only one to have fallen for this crystal-cut, super-refreshing, molten gold of a sweet wine from South Australia. My colleague Tamlyn Currin was also smitten at a recent tasting of the Mount Horrocks wines of Stephanie Toole. She writes: 'Stephanie Toole is the tiny, pretty and very energetic owner and winemaker of the bijou, 10-hectare Mount Horrocks winery. She was working in the wholesale wine trade when she met Jeffrey Grosset, fell in love, and moved out to the Clare Valley. In 1993, looking for some way of burning her irrepressible energy, she bought a winery of her own. The first vines that were planted are the Riesling vines that now make Cordon Cut. All her wines are single vineyard, estate-grown with minimum interference in the vineyard and the winery. Absolutely everything is done by hand and production is tiny. She very rarely irrigates and yields are extremely low. All of her wines are under screwcap - in fact this is her tenth vintage under screwcap.' Jeffrey Grosset of course led the Australian charge into screwcaps so it would be extraordinary if Toole remained unconverted.
Cordon Cut is a sweet wine with a difference. No botrytis is involved. Instead, when the grapes are ripe, the canes are deliberately severed to encourage the grapes to shrivel, or raisin, on the vine for about seven weeks (there is little threat of autumn rain and grey rot presumably in Clare Valley) to concentrate the flavours and sugars. (See long entry on dried grape wines in the Oxford Companion to Wine.) Here is Tamlyn's note, much more expressive than mine. I gave it 18 points, found it highly distinctive (not at all like a German botrytised Riesling - more precise in a way, if perhaps less complex) and I love its neat little half bottles. I agree with Tam that there is no need to eat anything with this wine but I would imagine its being delicious with that English speciality, summer pudding, lightly poached red and black fruits pressed into a pudding shape by slices of plain white bread (or brioche) that eventually become soaked in the purple juice of the fruit. See here for Nigel Slater's recipe and rant on the subject of summer pudding.
Mount Horrocks, Cordon Cut Riesling 2008 Clare Valley 18.5 Drink 2009-18
9.8 g/l TA, 150 g RS
Pale gold. Intense wild honey and white blossom fragrance. A succulent mango juice, but air-borne on finely-spun acidity and freshness. Such purity and delicacy! Diaphanous. Apricot, lime marmalade and exquisitely precise cut-glass edges. Glowing with honeyed fruit. No need for dessert with a glass of this in your hand. Hard not to drink now but if you have the will-power of a monk, it would be fascinating to see how this ages. 11% (TC)
RRP £17.95 per 37.5cl
For a wine that is supposedly made in such tiny quantities, it is remarkably well distributed. Winesearcher.com can find no fewer than 32 listings of this wine, many in the UK but also in the US, Singapore, Belgium, and of course Australia.
I highly recommend it