03 August 2011

Baileys of Glenrowan Winemaker's Selection Old Muscat

As I was walking between bus and business this morning, I crossed paths with a bloke all trussed up with a trendy scarf wrapped around his neck and ears. No coat though mind you. And a scalp that had been shaved totally nude in an apparent attempt to disguise the fact it was prematurely balding.

Granted, it’s a bit cool at the moment. But this chap appeared to be doing everything he possibly could to be cold, presumably just to justify the wearing of his natty little scarf.

I felt like slapping him and shouting, “Godammit man, get a hold of yourself. This is Brisbane, not Melbourne. Men don’t wear scarves here. Unless we’re watching the Lions play AFL, which of course no-one has done since the bandwagon left town in 2004.”

All Uncle Fester really needed to do was stop trying to be cool and simply don a jacket. Or pick up a voucher for some sew-in hair from Ashley & Martin. Or maybe just sneak a little bit of fortified plonk into his morning latte. A nice little bottle of Muscat would do the trick nicely here.

A friend generously gave me a bottle of Baileys’ Winemaker's Selection Old Muscat last year, and it has been keeping me company into the wee hours for the past few weeks as I fought to stay awake to watch Cadel climb the Alps, and then go on to sip his champagne on the Champs-Élysées.A superb effort. And an absolutely superb little drop.

Sometimes I sipped at it with stinky cheese and fruit. Sometimes I had it with a chunk of dark chocolate. It didn’t matter. It was good all the time, and I was as happy as a bloke with a contract to import Lycra® cycling suits into Australia.

It’s the colour of bright, boiling caramel, and warms you up as soon as you give it a sniff and twirl it around the glass. It is a particular pleasure of mine to spend some time watching the legs drip themselves down the inside of the glass, and this baby has legs like tree trunks that stick to the glass like thick rivers of golden syrup.

I didn’t so much have this wine, as it had me.* Over and over again. Roughly and then smoothly. It had me at hello. It had me at goodbye. And then again at all points in between.

The drinking is like liquid Christmas cake. As smooth as brandy double cream, but as dry as Stephen Fry’s wit at the same time. It coats your mouth thickly, then palpably tingles as it evaporates about the inside of your cheeks. All set to an aroma of one of those fancy citrusy candles your missus likes to use when she takes a bath.

I’m almost certain it’s not possible to make anything more delicious than this stuff. It’s easily the equal of every glass of Noble One I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

Baileys sits smack in the middle of Kelly country, and produced their first vintage just outside Glenrowan in 1870 when Ned was but a boy. It’s clear they’ve learned a thing or two about making wine over the years.

On a final note, I just noticed that James Halliday rates this wine a stupefying 98 points (I think he’s only ever scored one wine higher, and it cost $1000). In truth, that’s pretty much all you need to know, and you can therefore disregard my waffle above.

Bet he’s never compared wine with a rough shag though.

Rating: What Mr Halliday said, divided by 10
Drink with: Kevin Muscat
Price: $65-$75 (375ml)


* with all apologies to Lennon/McCartney (in that order) for this bastardisation


  1. This style of muscat is seriously underrated and worthy to be drunk in the company of champions (Cadel style). Not sure if Kev Muscat fits the bill, but hey, he created just as much carnage as Ned Kelly.

    Must see if track some down here in the "old country".

    am currently enjoying http://www.terresdefagayra.com/en/fagayra-rouge.html

  2. Yes, but it's a known fact that Kevin Muscat has never needed to wear a scarf in all his life.

    On the other hand, scarves have sometimes been known to wear a Kevin to keep themselves warm at night.

    Thanks for the tip on Fagayra - I will have a hunt also.