A wine’s texture is what makes a wine memorable.

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As a winemaker, I continuously remember back to my first major wine experience. I was 12 years old, and it was in Rutherglen with my Dad and an old friend of his. They had been buying fortified wine for many years from Mick Morris of Morris Wines, taking it home, bottling some, and topping up a barrel they owned. Mick was one of those enigmatic type winemakers, producing some of Australia’s most revered wines in the Rutherglen Fortified style. Muscat’s, Tokay’s and Vintage Ports (as they were known then) of world class quality.

Mick took us on a tour of his winery, and we wandered through the large format oak vats listening to the stories he told of what was in them, and where it was destined. Some of the vats were decades old. Then we came across what seemed like a secret place, where a small barrel lay in a dark corner in between two huge oak vats. As he opened up the barrel he regaled the story behind the wine that was in it. He told us about the generations of Morris’ that had been before him, and of the wines they had made. He then pulled out a wine thief, stuck it in the barrel and proceeded to suck the end of it to draw the liquid into the tube. I remember this as if it was yesterday He looked at me, then Dad, and said “This is a Tokay that was made here, and I think its about 110 years old.”

Holy crap!!! For all the effort he had just put in trying to get this liquid out of the barrel, only about 30mL dribbled into the glass. It was green in colour, and like honey in form. To taste it was like going to another world, another time, simply mind-blowing. Even at 12 years old, the texture of the wine struck me. I knew I was experiencing something very special!

The flavour of the wine was spectacular, the aroma was ultra-complex, but it was the texture that has stuck with me all these years. The sensations that were experienced when the wine was rolling around in my mouth. When I look back at my wine drinking life now, and the wines that I have tasted that I remember vividly, it is always the ones that have layers of texture, details that tell a story, that connect with the consumer. Great winemakers are able to create this sensation. Its what makes their wines interesting. It’s what makes wines great. Sure, there are wines that look great, that smell great, and that taste of loads of fruit, but it’s the texture that comes from great terroir, that great winemaking highlights, that turn good wines into memorable experiences!