At Chalmers we love a bit of variety and have always been intrigued by the many and varied Passito-style sweet wines of Italy where grapes are dried before fermentation to concentrate the sugars and flavours. It’s this love that set us on the path to make a Chalmers Appassimento. After early attempts beginning from 2005 with hand picked Moscato Giallo laid out to dry in the mid-row or hung indoors on a wire, our first official dried-grape dessert wine was from vintage 2009, titled Aurora it was made from 80% Malvasia and 20% Picolit. At the time we were busy establishing our new Murray Darling site in the Merbein irrigation district, a region with a strong history in dried fruit production. Our property came with historic sultana drying racks, which we renovated, allowing us to naturally sun-and-air dry the Sagrantino in 2013 and Lambrusco Maestri in 2017 for our following two Appassimento wines. In 2021, the planets aligned and after all these years we had the opportunity to take a great parcel of estate grown Moscato Giallo from our Heathcote site and finally bring Bruce’s dream alive – a Moscato Giallo Appassimento.
This labour of love resulted in a wine that is luscious and exotic, with yellow box honey-soaked dried Muscatels, treacle, bacon maple, super lifted aromatics of orange blossom, perfumed wattle and coriander seed. The mouth is opulent, with baked figs, burnt English toffee, caramelised onion, short crust pastry, shitake mushroom and umami. It’s a food pairing delight, perfect with those baked desserts, pear tarte tatin, spit roasted pineapple and a mouldy cheese match made in heaven. The finish is uber long and unrelentless, balance nicely with a weft of bright tangy citrus. This will age very well, the longer you keep it, the more savoury it will become, masking the sugar into more of those umami, bacon and mushroom notes.