Andrew over at Spittoon “tagged” me to take part in a meme started by Beau at Basic Juice. The idea of the meme is that you nominate the best wine that you have had in the past 30 days and then pass the baton on to a fellow wine blogger as well as a food blogger.

This has come to me at an opportune time as I recently had the good fortune to try a piece of Australian wine history.

The wine in question is the very special Seppelt 1905 Para Liqueur Vintage Tawny.

The story goes that the owner and winemaker at Seppelt, Benno Seppelt wanted to commemorate the opening of a newly constructed stone cellar at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. He decided that he would put aside a barrel of the finest wine for that vintage and declared that it should remain unbottled for 100 years.

This was in 1878 and each subsequent year a barrel has been put aside to be untouched for a minimum of 100 years. Wine is bottled only on demand and Seppelt still has unbottled stock for all years back to 1878. This makes Seppelt the only company in the world to have significant stock of unbottled wine laid down in consecutive vintages for what is now 127 years.

Unlike a solera system, where vintages are blended together, the Seppelt 100yo Para is a true vintage wine with 100% of the wine being from the specified vintage.

This particular vintage of 100 year old Para is a blend of Mataro, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Malbec.

Tasting Note: There aren’t strong enough superlatives to do justice to the concentration and viscosity of this wine. Swirling ever so gently left a thick coat of wine along the sides of the glass for over five minutes.

An impenetrable glowing dark mahogany in colour with glimpses of olive yellow, honey and maple throughout.

Impossibly complex bouquet, one feels that you could dedicate weeks to sitting and smelling this in awe and still not unravel all the layers that it has to offer. Toffee, caramel, butterscotch, tobacco, rancio and spirity characters each as fully intense as if they were the only aromas in the wine.

On the palate you are treated to the unbelievable viscosity of the wine as it flows ever so slowly down the side of the glass and past your lips. You almost feel like you are able to chew on the wine it is so dense. The flavours are like an explosion in your mouth – Toffee, caramel, maple syrup, roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, cigar box – but enough acid to keep a semblance of balance.

The finish is glorious and the astonishing aftertaste remains with you for hours, if not longer.

Verdict: 100 points. No tasting note can do it true justice.

As mentioned, the wine is bottled on demand from vintages ranging between 1878 and 1905. Each vintage costs the same to bottle, $575AU for 375ml and $1050AU for 750ml. Expensive, but an unique part of Australian wine history. For those of us not quite willing/able to part with that much hard earned money, at Seppelt’s Barossa Valley Cellar Door you can take a guided tour of the winery and then taste Seppelt’s premium wine range followed by a cheese platter and a taste of the 100 year old Para for $50 per person.

Now, to pass the meme along, I nominate from the wine blogging side Mike from ShirazShiraz and for the food blogging side I nominate Niki at Esurientes

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. wow, what an amazing sounding wine.

  2. I posted a link to the Meme page at Basic Juice.

    Imagine that – drinking history. I’m with Andrew; amazing indeed.


  3. Who do I have to sleep with to get a glass of this?!

  4. I’m guessing someone with the last name of Seppelt 🙂

  5. Ancient Aussie

    It’s likely that most wine drinkers, if asked, would place Australia in the New World camp. Well, what would you think if I told you that our friend Cam of Appellation Australia recently tasted a 100 year old Australian wine?

  6. Wow…that is probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever read about. THAT is truly a piece of history…and you’re a lucky man.

    And I’m a jealous one.

  7. For my 21st birthday 44 years ago I was given some bottles of 100 year old port, a gift from an Oxford don who said the staff were clearing out some of the old stock to make room for the ports that are no doubt now lubricating the dons’ after dinner conversations.
    I had my suspicions, the bottles had no label, and the crust inside was 1 cm thick. But the clear thick liquid that flowed from within was the most perfect wine I have ever enjoyed. The aftertaste remains with me to this day.

  8. Thank you for sharing your own experience Antony.

    For all others who commented, thank you as well, if you are ever in South Australia, the Seppelt tour is one not to be missed.

  9. […] Best Fortified Wine: 1905 Seppelt 100 Year Old Para Liqueur Vintage Tawny (Barossa Valley, South Australia) $550 (375ml) – I have written about this wine at length previously here and not much more needs to be said. Most fortified wines in Australia are a blend of previous vintages, but this is entirely from 1905 grapes and is the most wonderful experience. […]

  10. […] Beau started the Meme and tagged Lenn. Lenn tags the Wine Chicks. The Wine Chicks tag Wine Cast, Tim tags Andrew at Spittoon, He spits his game then tags Cam at Appellation Australia, who tags our mate Mike at Shiraz Shiraz, Who whacks me on the back, informing me I’m it. (I wasn’t picked last! Thanks Mike you are now a friend for life.) […]

  11. I have a para liquer numbered 101 and a 104. could you please tell me what year they are, it does not seem to be on the bottle
    Thanking you

  12. Martin,

    The para numbered releases are multi vintage blends so they are not any particular year. 101 was released in 1976 and 104 in 1980.

  13. This brings back great memories for me. Around 15 years ago I did a cheap tour of the Barossa with a mate. We were in a tent and tried to avoid as much as possible the big, corporate wineries. We did a quick tour of Seppelts, then headed into the hills behind to find smaller cellars. We came across two small vineyards whose cellars backed onto each other. One was empty, and both winemakers were chatting in the other, so we joined them and did some tastings. When we mentioned we’d been to Seppelts they asked if we tried the 100 year old port. Not at $50 a glass we said. One smirked and disapeared for 5 minutes, returning with three glasses. ‘Taste’ he said, and tell me which one is $50, which is $5 and which is 50 cents. The 100yr old was very distinctive, and easy to pick, the other two not so easy, the two of us disagreed. I can still remember the feeling I had drinking one of the finest wines in the world, but I walked away with a very nice bottle (the cheapest one) and a bottle of white port from the guy next door, which was also very nice.

  14. Can anyone advise what value a bottle in its box (101) or (104) would be worth on the market

  15. I have a 750ml bottle of this, what would it be worth?

  16. Current auction value for the 1905 in 750ml would be around $2000-$2500 assuming it is in good condition (before seller commission etc.) – would suggest talking to someone at Wickman’s if you are in SA or an auction house like MW Wines or Langton’s if you are in the Eastern states.

  17. Ok thanks Cam, your estimate seems very low considering your write up and the retail being $11600/ 750ml.
    I guess an auction will determine its value. If any….

  18. Hi Stuart,

    Good luck!


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