Toneles again 


It is always a risk to go back to a wine that has made such an impression the first time. Also, given that only 100 of these are produced a year it seems a little indulgent to have consumed 2%. Nevertheless, since it was Christmas I wanted to bring a showpiece bottle home and well, here we are.

An opaque, black brown in colour it flows out like a fine syrup and coats the glass. I still get a lot of the Christmas pudding, raisins, sweet spices, and chocolate, but coming at it a second time I notice a lot more of that 100 year old wine aroma of pine trees and pipe tobacco.

In the mouth too it is all intensity. Maybe it is the recent experience but I get a syrupy mouthfull of the blackened edges of a Christmas cake – juicy currants and sweet spices in burnt sugar, followed by chocolate, then tobacco, then cedar and a tail of spicey black treacle. It really has immense length – the spicey, bitter black treacle flavours carry on for an eternity.

Not as absolutely bowled over this time. It may be that that first bottle was such a surprise, that it came at the end of a long dinner, or that it was a few degrees cooler on an evening that was a few degrees warmer. It may also be that in the intervening months I have learnt a lot more about the effects of concentration and barrel ageing and that familiarity has stolen some of the wonder. Nevertheless, an absolutely exceptional wine by any standards.

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