Moulin Touchais, Doué-La-Fontaine, Coteaux-du-Layon

Anjou03My first encounter with the wines of Moulin Touchais dates back to the early days of my love affair with the Loire. I discovered, quite by chance, that wonderful old vintages of Moulin Touchais were available, for not very much money, from a makeshift cellar inside the shop of the local Texaco garage in Doué-La-Fontaine. I used to make a point of going and filling up with fuel there, buying a few old bottles at the same time. Whilst I may never have considered them to be the best wines from the Layon, it was always difficult to pass over the opportunity of buying vintages that predate one’s own birth. So, for the past thirty years I have known of Moulin Touchais, but very little about Moulin Touchais.

Speak to other merchants who remember the wines from old and they were viewed with a degree of suspicion. How was it that ‘unlimited’ amounts of pristine-looking stock could be so readily available?  The answer is innocently apparent, since each bottle is labelled to order and old vintages are checked and reconditioned (topped up with the same vintage and given a new cork) before they are despatched. Personally, I like to think of Moulin Touchais as the Loire’s equivalent to Château Musar.

Even now, its location appears to remain somewhat confidential. On a quiet street within the town, with the cellar located at an address behind a dilapidated bourgeois house in an unremarkable concrete edifice. Clearly, Vignobles Touchais successfully succeeded in concealing itself from the outside world and there remains a sense of mystery around the industry that goes on here and in the network of 15 kilometres of tunnels that run below your feet.

The cellars here must contain one of the largest and oldest collections of any winery anywhere in the world, with the miles of underground cellars containing close to two million bottles at any one time, including a rare collection of ancient wines; the oldest dating back to the mid to late 19th century.

History documents that the first sweet wines were produced along the banks of the Layon in 1579, with Dutch merchants encouraging their production, since they appeared to have the stamina to survive the journey by boat back to the Low Countries.

Whilst the family Touchais cannot claim to have pioneered the production of moelleux, their ancestors were certainly making wine as far back as 1787. Until the business was sold to the less than glamourous Loire Properties in the mid-teens, there were eight generations of the family to have managed this business. The first six were situated not within the town, but in Tigné, the location of the original Moulin and it was from here that the original vineyard holding was built up, mostly to support the requirements for Cuisse de Bergère, a hugely successful inexpensive branded rosé that was developed by Joseph Touchais in the late 1940s. That was around the same period the business was transferred to the cellars in Doué-La-Fontaine.

The family owned an impressive 150 hectares of vines, spanning the communes of Tigné and Martigné-Briand, although the death of Joseph in 2003 saw the company split into two divisions; Vignobles Touchais retained 35 hectares of Chenin Blanc in the Coteaux-du-Layon appellation for the continued production of Moulin Touchais, whilst the other, Vin Touchais, was a trading company responsible for selling off the balance of the production in bulk to the larger Loire négoce (and now mostly absorbed into Loire Properties itself), which is mostly vinified as base wine for Méthode Traditionelle.

The last incumbent was Jean-Marie Touchais, who took complete control of the winemaking from his father in 1990. Little had changed in the viticulture and vinification process and Jean-Marie continued with the traditional values of low yields, hand harvesting and a long, slow fermentation.

The general principle behind the picking of grapes for Moulin Touchais is that around one-quarter of the crop is harvested relatively early (about 80 days after flowering) and whilst the fruit is slightly under-ripe. This component part helps to maintain the acidity in the final blend.

The balance is then picked up to 120 days following flowering, ensuring the grapes are loaded with sugar although not generally affected by noble rot, the reason being that the Touchais vines are at the back of the Coteaux du Layon appellation and away from the river where there is less humidity to encourage the botrytis spores.

The wine is then committed to bottle early – as soon as March the following vintage – and allowed to age for a minimum of ten years in the cellars before release.

Whilst a Coteaux-du-Layon is produced in the cellar every year, it is not systematic that each vintage will be released under the Moulin Touchais label. Typically, the wines all contain between 70 and 80 grams of residual sugar and, like with many other similar examples from the Loire, they only really come into their own after two decades in bottle.

The greatest vintages for Moulin Touchais correspond to the best years in the Loire (they also tend to produce the largest quantities too) and legends include the 1945, 1947, 1949, 1953 and 1959, 1961, 1964 and 1969. Sadly, these are no longer commercially available, but occasionally crop up on tasting and at auction. Apparently, the 1959 vintage was so copious that the cellar only stopped the sale of this vintage commercially as recently as 2006!

The good news, however, is that the cellar is still able to offer a wealth of back-vintages which span the years from 2013 (the current release) back to 1968.


Moulin Touchais
‘45 Vintages’
Doué la Fontaine
Le Mercredi 8 f
évrier 2023

Tasting Notes by Richard Kelley, Master of Wine

2021 primeur – not due to be released until January 2031

A cooler vintage in the Loire and not a great red wine vintage, but white wines generally show great freshness and typicity.

Pale appearance. Green hints. Displays a sense of place on the nose. True to the house style. Currently light and delicate. Good freshness and balance. A hint of liquorice on the mid palate. Great structure and length. Linear. Very clean and pure. Hints of Riesling-like terpene flavours to finish. This is already approachable. Shows great promise.

2014 primeur – due to be released January 2024

Deep appearance. Polished. Orange/copper. Broad and rich on the nose. A bit ‘old fashioned’ sweet Layon and is a little rustic. On the palate, it is much cleaner and highly textured. Very good balance. Surprisingly crisp, despite the deep appearance suggesting otherwise. Exotic. Approachable. Plenty of concentration and length.

2013 – released January 2023

Pale. Greet hints. Bright but not polished. Quite simple of the nose. Certainly closed. I suspect this is has disappeared into its shell. Not very expressive currently. The palate echoes the nose. Simple and a bit shallow on the mid-palate. Decent balance. This may evolve further but currently one-dimensional. One fears there might have been a bit of pressure to bottle this vintage, given there was no 2012 released.

2012 – not bottled


Polished. Deep appearance. Solid, orange/copper. Rich on the nose with what appears to be obvious ‘dusty’ botrytis influence, somewhat confirmed by the colour. Rich, concentrated with a hint of orange peel, or decaying orange skin (for me, another botrytis indicator). Very good texture on entry. Clean, linear and shows great concentration. Poised. This shows more obvious residual sugar. Great length. Persistent. Open now but can be expected to age and evolve for many years to come.


Polished. Very deep appearance, not unlike an old Armagnac. Orange/copper. Very rich on the nose with a raisin-like character. Great concentration and complexity with notes of orange marmalade. Highly textured on entry. Surprisingly fresh, with the mid-palate acidity carrying the wine through to a persistent finish. This is still very much in its infancy and could be expected to age and evolve for many decades to come. It appears a much more modern expression of wines emerging from the Layon. It also reminds me of a Riesling SGN from Alsace.


Polished appearance. Mid-full orange-gold, with hints of green to the rim. The nose appears a little simple at this stage. Faintly ‘old fashioned’ and a bit backwards and brooding. Just a hint of bruised apple or toffee apple. Mid-full palate. Good weight, but again seems a little simple at this stage. Hints of Indian spice; turmeric, perhaps…? There is a good, solid finish and even shows a little alcoholic heat. Currently closed. Hopefully, this has more to offer. For the moment, it’s best left in the cellar.

2008 – not bottled


Very deep. Polished and complex appearance. Copper/orange with a hint of green to the rim. Always a good sign… Lovely, open nose. Complex and very pure. It has the finesse, elegance and filigree of a Moëlleux from Vouvray more than one would expect from a Layon wine. This is not an obvious Moulin Touchais style but excellent nonetheless… Deep, concentrated entry. Great texture. Very clean and pure. Chalky, mineral expression. Complex, exotic, with some orange/citrus notes. This is already very plush, flattering and open with hints of liquorice to the finish. Exceptional and the biggest surprise of the whole tasting. This is drinking well now and should continue to hold for many years, although I fail to think how it can improve any more than it already tastes.


Polished. Youthful pale-yellow appearance with green hints to rim. The nose remains closed (my impression from the last time I tasted this vintage). It’s a little earthy and monotone. Distinctly ‘old fashioned’ Layon. The palate has more depth than the nose suggests, but it remains a little simple and one dimensional. Decent structure and length, it may eventually come out of its black hole with time. Good freshness, with the acidity carrying the finish. It remains simple. One for the cellar.


Bright. Mid-pale. Still very youthful appearance. The nose seems to have closed-up recently. This was always a precocious wine but now appears to have gone into its shell. Distinct liquorice to the nose, but little else currently. Good fresh acidity to the palate. Mid-weight and retains an elegance, with the acidity carrying the wine to a persistent finish. However, this is one to put back in the cellar and wait a few more years. Interesting for a wine considered to be the vintage of the decade, for the moment at least, it is over-shadowed by both the 2003 and 2007.


Polished. Mid-pale. Yellow with distinct green hints. Faintly reductive nose, with non-fruit aromas. Tight and mineral. The palate is tightly restrained. More reduction. Backward and ‘old fashioned’ in style. Touch of wet wool. Nicely textured on entry but appears almost dry due to the firm mineral and reductive style. Well structured, if a little monotone. Short finish. This reductive element needs to blow off. Let’s hope it does. One to keep locked up in the cellar.


The year of the heatwave. A very hot vintage with no chance of any botrytis influence.

Deep appearance. Yellow/gold with a distinct green rim. Rich, concentrated nose. Shows the influence of the vintage. Open and accessible on the palate, but one senses this is still finding itself. Very rich and highly textured with surprising freshness for the year. This continues to develop and is starting to evolve into something really special. It has a nutty, almost autolytic character of a mature vintage Champagne. The jury was always out as to whether it would be a wine for the long-haul, but this is now showing more class and potential than the 2005 vintage. The new vintage of the decade…?


Polished. Mid-depth. Yellow with green hints. There is a touch of marzipan on the nose which for me indicates some negative maturity. Also, a touch of wet dog or wet wool. Closed and a bit old fashioned, showing a bit of reduction too. The palate is tight. There is sweetness here but remains quite simple. I’ve always felt this wine was going to need time, but I’m now unsure as to its long-term ageing potential.


Bright. Mid-depth yellow with some flashes of green. This is really quite old fashioned in style with notable wet wool aromas to the nose. Simple and sadly not particularly attractive. It does show some concentration and depth to the palate. It’s rich but simple and one dimensional. One for the cellar, in the hope that it might improve.


Such was the anticipation of the millennium, the cellar commissioned a special bottle to mark the occasion. Sadly, the wine doesn’t live up to the special treatment.

Bright. Mid-depth yellow. The nose is distinctly rustic, if not grubby, with notes of wet dog. Mid-weight on entry, the wine appears quite dry with firm acidity and more earthy flavours to the palate. Just a simple sweetness with flavours of persimmon. This is pretty dull and probably should not have been committed to bottle at all. Like 2001, one for the cellar in the hope that it does eventually show some redeeming character.


Polished. Yellow-green. Mid-depth. Atypical nose, with almost a stony-mineral character not unlike an old Chablis. The nose is pretty closed and not very expressive. The palate shows to be more open and accessible. This is attractive and a fresher style, if a little simple. The wine builds nicely with good levels of concentration to the finish. This is a bit of a surprise for what is considered a low to mid-quality vintage. Approachable now. If allowed to age, it could possibly evolve further but certainly on a mid-life plateau now.


Mid-depth. Green hints to rim. The nose shows some positive evolution, with some hints of marzipan with a touch of maritime/oyster shell and the terpene notes of mature Riesling. Mid weight on entry, the wine builds nicely. Very good acidity, which acts as a balancing foil to the sweetness. Open and attractive now, it probably has hit its peak, but should remain on this plateau for some years to come. Not very special.


Generally considered to be the vintage of the decade and a year defined by botrytis levels in the vineyard. Like all great vintages, it was a copious year, although stocks are now diminishing, so the cellar is starting to elevate the price annually in an attempt to slow down the sales.

Polished. Mid-depth and not an obviously botrytis vintage based on the appearance alone. Yellow, moving through to orange. The nose is still really brooding but shows orange peel/rotting orange and even dark chocolate and honeycomb. A faint terpene element adds to the overall complexity. Very attractive. The palate builds well, with a profile more towards Sauternes than Layon. Broad, rich and concentrated. This is approachable but in reality this is still in an adolescent state.


They say that great vintages often come in pairs. This is the natural partner to the 1997, although not a botrytis vintage. One of the best value wines of all vintages commercially available.

Polished. Orange/bronze with some green hints to the rim. Broad and very open on the nose. Rich and concentrated, although it lacks the finesse, power and elegance of the 1997. It’s a different style, but I’d say on today’s showing it is equal to it. There is a hint of honeycomb on the nose and palate and shows real complexity. Very pure and clean on entry with a lovely fresh acid-sweetness balance. The wine builds nicely through to a persistent finish, with notes of old Cognac and a toasty, almost oak/vanilla like profile. This is drinking well now but continues to improve.


This was the last bottle in the cellar…

Polished. Mid-full, yellow-gold with green hints to the rim. The nose reminds me of an oaked white Burgundy. Certainly atypical and not obviously a sweet wine from the nose alone. The palate also shows some toasty oak on the entry (impossible, given the wines are aged in concrete tanks). Immediate on entry. Open. Not massively sweet. Build well. Very good concentration and structure to the finish. Broad, persistent finish. On reflection, the wine tastes like an old oak-aged Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. Not unlike a wine from Cotat, given their preference for ripeness and some residual sugar.


A vintage beset by frost initially and then black rot through the whole of the Loire.

Polished. Deep appearance. Complex orange/copper/gold. Very restrained nose. Very clean, ‘dry’ and mineral. Rich and surprisingly concentrated on entry. Chalky textured and dry, with no sign of the rot associated with the vintage. This is perhaps more universally gastronomic, since it does appear much drier, opening up endless possibilities for food pairing. There is dry, saline, almost Manzanilla quality about the wine with linear acidity. This is true Chenin. Taut and mineral. Persistent and distinctly dry to the finish. It also shows the development of some savoury notes, something that appears to develop with time on old Moulin Touchais wines. This is certainly on a plateau but can be expected to hold for years to come. The firm malic acid presence will act as a preservative. That said, it won’t be for everyone.


Polished. Mid-depth appearance with yellow-green hints. A little rustic and old fashioned, but shows some interesting complexity, even with a hint of honeycomb as well as evolving savoury notes. Saline. The palate opens up nicely in the glass. Very clean and precise on entry. Immediate. Even exotic star fruit-like acidity. Chalky textured. Linear. The firm acidity and mineral presence help to extend the finish. A distinct sweet/sour profile. This is very good for what was another difficult and cool growing season.


A wet and very rainy vintage.

Polished. Complex appearance. Yellow towards gold. Broad and clean, if a little simple on the nose. Hints of honeycomb behind. The marzipan element shows some negative evolution. The acidity carries the finish. It’s on a plateau now and unlikely to improve. No rush to drink, however.


The year of the great frost. Much of the harvest was lost. It’s remarkable to think that any wine was made at all this year. Even more remarkable is that it remains commercially available.

Polished. Mid-depth, yellow with hints of gold. The nose is distinctly rustic, with notes of Pommeau or Calvados. The bruised apple quality of Chenin in a high malic acid vintage (which in itself aids the ageing ability). The wine is distinctive, but not universal in its appeal. It is rustic, even a little grubby with more Calva-bruised apple notes to the palate. Dry finish and a touch phenolic. Concentrated, but remains simple. On a plateau. Unlikely to improve.

NOTE: A bottle tasted earlier the same week showed much better, so an example of the bottle variation one can expect from a thirty-plus year old wine.


Very deep. Complex appearance. Orange/copper with very good graduation to a green rim. Broad, rich nose. Toasty, with quince and kumquats. It shows surprisingly simple on the nose for such an acclaimed vintage. The palate shows lovely freshness though and is much more expressive than the nose suggests. Highly complex. Toast and honeycomb. Wonderful balance and length.


Deep appearance. Orange/copper with green hints to the rim. Open, attractive and a nose not unlike old Cognac. Broad. Evolved and mature. The palate shows more like Spanish brandy, with a rich, oaky-toasty quality. Broad and concentrated but remains a little simple for such a great vintage. Builds well to a powerful finish.


Mid-depth, complex appearance. Through yellow/gold with some green hints. The nose is really lovely. Toasty, through honeycomb to lime marmalade. Very complex and very clean. Precise on entry. Linear. Great freshness. Well textured. There is a star fruit-like element to the acidity, along with an exotic fruit presence. The wine shows great poise and focus. Chalky texture to the finish. This is very good. Refined.

It’s a vintage that has always been overshadowed in the Loire by the reputation of the 1989 and 1990, but it remains a firm personal favourite even if, sadly, no longer commercially available.


Polished. Mid-full. Good complexity to the appearance. The nose is distinctly savoury, showing a Madeira-like cheese straw quality. Earthy, with some rustic Spanish brandy elements. Rich, powerful and concentrated on entry. Not unlike a Tawny Port in flavour. Showing maturity, but still has a freshness to suggest this will continue to hold. The acidity is a little high-toned, but this is positive volatility which only adds to the overall complexity. A touch phenolic on the finish.


Deep, complex appearance. Yellow/gold. Broad on the nose, if a little simple. Closed and not very expressive. The palate appears cleaner and fresher with good acidity running through the core of the wine. Builds well on the palate with an acidity that defines the finish. It does taste a little ‘hot’ with the impression of alcohol showing on the end. A touch rustic and old fashioned. One of the examples where the sense of sweetness within the wine is diminishing and starts to appear drier and more savoury as it reach middle-age.


Mid-full. Complex appearance. Orange/copper. Clean, attractive. Spanish brandy-like nose with notes of confit peach or pear. The palate shows great focus on entry, with echoes of the aromas from the nose: brandy-soaked peaches. Toasty. Well textured but a wine defined by its acidity which runs through the core and carries through to a somewhat (positively) phenolic finish. There is a savoury hint showing too.

This was always my personal favourite vintage of the decade, but today competes against the 1988 and 1983.


‘It is called wine,’ said O’Brien with a faint smile. ‘You will have read about it in books, no doubt’. – George Orwell. ‘1984’

Very deep appearance with great complexity: orange/bronze through to green at the rim. The nose is broad, savoury and a touch rustic. Savoury, with a Madeira-like cheese ball quality mixed with Spanish brandy. Broad on entry. Complex, brandy-like flavours with an underlying power. The palate shows honeycomb and toffee apples. Rich to finish. Unlikely to improve, however it drinks well for a minor vintage.


Polished. Very good graduation from a copper centre to a green rim. Clean and concentrated nose, moving towards some savoury elements. Again, cheese straw or like a dry Madeira. The nose is open and attractive with very good poise on entry. Immediate, clean and pure. Linear, with lovely freshness and balance. This is still very lively and there is absolutely no rush to drink. This is on a plateau and unlikely to improve but enjoying an eternal drinking window.

On today’s showing, the vintage of the decade.


Deep appearance. Less obvious graduation but shows some green hints to the finish. The nose shows some advanced characters. Broad, savoury nose which is also a little earthy. Well textured entry. Simple favour profile but it evolves well on the palate. Very good fresh acidity. Savoury again and moving towards the Madeira-like profile of middle age. The acidity carries the finish which also makes the wine appear drier than it is. Still very good, if overshadowed by the 1983.


Mid-depth. Distinct green-yellow appearance through the core of the wine. Lovely nose. Very pure. Clean, with notes of toffee apple. Gentle and understated, with real freshness on entry. Great sweetness/acid balance. This is certainly a wine defined by its acidity. There is a gentle complexity developing behind with hints of toffee and hazelnuts. Persistent finish. Absolutely no rush to drink.


Polished. Very deep appearance of copper/orange, with a hint of green to the rim. Great graduation of colour. The nose is somewhat restrained. Toffee, with a lovely freshness on entry. Very clean and pure with a great acid profile. Juicy, racy with some positive phenolic grip which only adds to the overall textural complexity of the wine. Persistent. Carried by acidity. Very good.


Mid-depth. Very good graduation. Orange/bronze, towards green at the rim. The nose is a bit earthy and grubby. It shows better on the palate. Firm. Mature and falls a bit short. Simple toffee flavours. The acidity carries the finish. Unlikely to improve.


Very deep copper appearance. It shows little or no graduation to the rim. A bit grubby and rustic on the nose. Earthy, with some Spanish brandy notes. The palate is distinctly bruised apple, Calvados or Pommeau. The wine is simple and carried to the finish by the retained acidity. Unlikely to improve.

NOTE: Two bottles tasted together in July 2019, just after the wine was re-launched/re-conditioned:

Deep, orange/gold. Bright. Attractive nose. Old Cognac-like. Still very clean and fresh. No sign of the rot associated with this vintage. There is even some citrus hints behind the delicate, honeyed finish. Rich on entry. Slightly high toned. Lovely freshness and balance. Racy acidity. Excellent freshness and length. Liquorice to finish. Persistent.

It shows the level of bottle variation one can come to expect with wines of such age.


Polished. Light appearance. Yellow/orange. Good graduation. Clean on the nose, if a little closed and not very expressive. The palate is much more open, with a faintly high-toned presence. Racy acidity, the volatility adds to the overall complexity. A little phenolic grip to the finish. This is a surprisingly light and delicate wine for what was, for the time, a very hot vintage.


Very deep and concentrated appearance. Bronze/copper. Great graduation to the rim. The nose is dense, concentrated and complex. It shows some old Cognac and toffee/caramel notes, with elements of Calvados and apples too. Orange marmalade and a positive hint of struck match. This is really lovely. High toned, which only adds to the overall complexity. Racy on entry, with more notes of caramel and toffee. White truffle and Champignons de Paris. The finish is very long, carried by the positive volatile elements of within the acidity. Great wine.


Opaque appearance. Certainly note clear. Mid depth appearance. Pale orange with very little graduation to rim. Quiet on the nose and shows a little simple, with some oxidation to the palate. Firm and a touch phenolic. Grippy. Firm acidity.

NOTE: Two bottles were open, the second slightly better than the first, but neither showed the real quality I have experienced in this vintage over the years. This is a top quality wine but where I believe we have been disappointed by two bottles which are below par.


Polished. Very good graduation: orange/bronze/copper. Green to rim. The nose is really lovely. Complex and evolved. White truffle and ceps. It becomes even more complex with time in the glass. Broad, but delicate. Toasty. Exceptional freshness and poise. Great structure, concentration and length. This is still very fresh and alive. The acidity is still very much present and helps carry the wine to a persistent finish. Racy. Excellent.


Interestingly, this was a bottling for Sainsburys in the UK and labelled as ‘Anjou’ rather than Coteaux du Layon.

Mid-full appearance. Very good graduation. Orange to a pale hint of green to the rim. Delicate and very attractive nose. Almost smoky. Complex. Toffee/caramel. Delicate and refined on the entry. Great structure. It builds well to a powerful, complex finish, with more toffee/toffee apple flavours. Persistent and will continue to hold.


The oldest vintage commercially available. This was only released as recently as 2018, since it was always deemed by Jean-Marie Touchais as not worthy of being sold. Pressure on him to find a wine to celebrate 50th anniversaries saw him relent and the wine was put on the market. Bottled in 1969, it was considered at the time to be second-class and bottled in a collection of misshaped overruns, so the wine comes in a number of different guises: shapes, colours and sizes…

Mid-pale. No real graduation. Simple orange appearance. The nose is simple and touch earthy with some reductive notes. Rustic. This is echoed on the palate, with some additional ‘maritime’ notes of oyster shell. Phenolic. Not a bad wine, but little to distinguish it either.


Very deep appearance. Orange/copper/gold, moving to green at the rim. Still very clean on the nose, showing great complexity: caramel / toffee / coffee / chocolate. All this, but still very understated. There are some apple and Calvados notes behind. The palate is really lovely. Taut and focused. This is still incredibly youthful, with a positive phenolic grip. It builds well to a persistent finish. More toffee notes to the finish. The raised acidity to the finish just aids the overall impression of the wine. The 1964 rightly claims its place as the vintage of the decade.


Such was the quality and copious nature of the 1959 vintage that the cellar was still offering this vintage commercially as recently as 2006.
Mid-depth, opaque. Orange centre with very little graduation to the rim. The nose is incredible. Refined, delicate and complex. It shows every expression of great sweet Chenin. Delicate on entry, it is extremely poised and refined. Notes of brandy and Calvados, coffee/mocha. This also shows some positive phenolic grip. Persistent to the point that this flavour lingers for several minutes after tasting. Great wine.


Polished. Very deep. Complex orange/copper/bronze appearance. Distinct green at the rim. Broad, concentrated nose. Almost a straw wine-like concentration. The palate is broad but quite dull with a notable phenolic grip. Powerful. Notes of dill-weed and Gravad Lax on the mid-palate. Not particularly subtle, even a touch lactic, but retains an incredible freshness for the age.

La Réserve du centenaire – XIXème

Bottled by Joseph Touchais soon after the Second World War after decanting all the pre-1900 vintages into barrel to form one 19th Century blend. The oldest certainly pre-dates the 1850 vintage, but no one is really sure.

The wine shows deeply complex graduation that finishes with an almost luminous green rim. The nose is concentrated and powerful but shows great delicacy too. Ditto the palate. The palate is difficult to define, given the level of complexity. One thing is sure, the wine is outstanding.