"This 120-acre estate, now helmed by Stephen Chambers, is one of the most consistent producers of top-class fortified sweet wines in the world."
Josh Raynolds, Vinous (2016)
For over a century the Chambers family have harvested and partially fermented shriveled, high-sugar Muscat and Muscadelle grapes, before fortifying with neutral spirit and wood-aging in a semi solera system. The real skill, however, lies in the blending these components to achieve a consistent house style.
Each year the winemaker draws on hundreds of parcels classified by vineyard, vintage and quality, aged from one to one hundred years. In addition, maintenance of the “old material” in the large, old oak barrels is essential to ensure succession and add complexity and depth to the current releases.
The wines that result are as awe-inspiring as the process that cast them: intensely flavored, explosively rich and sweet, yet wonderfully balanced and offering remarkable persistence.
MUSCADELLE AND MUSCAT
In the warm fall climate the grapes ripen and shrivel on the vines producing natural sugar levels in the range of 30-36 degrees Brix. The raisined grapes are then picked, crushed and partially fermented before being fortified and then subjected to a wood aging program loosely resembling a solera system that lasts (in same cases) for over 100 years.
GRAND MUSCADELLE AND GRAND MUSCAT
The “Grand” designation relates to quality and age. These wines are blended from material, which dates back to the First World War. With age the wines develop intensity of color and flavor and a delightful green hue around the rim of the glass. At this level the wines show a wonderful combination of aged characters and fresh raisined fruit.
RARE MUSCADELLE AND RARE MUSCAT
The “Rare” designation is used for material dating back over 100 years. As this is not a scientific process it is not possible to put a definitive age on the wine but one taste will tell you it is not from this century.