Smoking with a Century-Old Tawny
Posted: June 14, 2013
In our throwaway world it isn't often you get a chance to commune with things that are truly antique—100 years old. So when we sampled the latest vintage of Seppeltsfield Wines century-old Tawny, we decided the best way to do it was with accompanying cigars.
If there was any disappointment at all, it was that we couldn't rustle up any centenarian cigars to go with it. We settled for the best in the box at the time and sat down to contemplate a wine that was made when Woodrow Wilson was president, World War I had not yet begun and trains had just started rolling through New York's Grand Central Terminal. For this writer, the Tawny had even further significance as it represented the birth year of his mother.
We've had superannuated spirits before (Scotch whiskies in their 60s and rum five decades old), but this Tawny made everything else seem like youngsters. Set and setting are the bywords for enjoying a tasting like this. As much as such, shut yourself off from the modern world. Turn off all cell phones and mp3 players and disconnect the doorbell.
Just as this incredibly viscous wine is in no hurry to pour out of the bottle, you should let time slow down as you sit and puff away in reverence to a simpler era.
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The company that brings you this opportunity is no stranger to time-capsule experiences. Seppeltsfield, an Australian winemaker famous for its Centennial Collection, started the custom of laying aside wines for hyperaging in 1878 and has released 100-year Tawny when it became available ever since. This fortified wine is made like Port, a style highly praised for pairing with cigars. However, as it comes from Australia and not Portugal, it can't be classified as Port.
Now Seppeltsfield has a library of Tawny in its Centennial Cellar at its winery in Australia's Barossa wine region and each year releases a new 100-year-old vintage. Seppeltsfield is the only winery in the world to release century-old products on such a regular basis. This year's was first released in February and is called 1913 Para 100-year-old Vintage Tawny.
As well as offering wines at such an extraordinary age, Seppeltsfield also supplies it from any special year in the past, whether it be meant to commemorate a birthday, anniversary or special date. The wines come in presentation boxes, numbered and customized with a certificate of authenticity that indicates the customer for whom it was bottled.
Visitors to the winery can enjoy a small sample of the 100-year-old as well as their birth-year Tawny for $85.
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