I owe this wine discovery to a particular cellar hand at Primo Estate who, as I was paying for my order and just about to walk out the door, said 'Did you try the Fronti?'. I had just completed the 'Joseph Experience' tasting at Primo Estate in McLaren Vale and the Fronti V wasn't in the line-up on that occasion, but luckily I was given a quick taste and immediately added two bottles to my order.
This unique wine is a blend of old fortified wines from around Australia, however the base wine is from a 1981 vintage of Frontignan that I am told by Primo Estate insiders was found by accident in a shed years after they pulled up all their Frontignan vines in the mid 1980s. Other wines in the mix come from Rutherglen and Barossa Valley and the average age of the wines used is said to be at least 30 years.
The wine is a darkish, nutty brown colour and is slightly cloudy. I generally don't waste much time with aroma on fortifieds so let's skip straight to taste. It has the elements I expected, being toffee, sultana/raisins etc but also shows a very slight hint of vanilla and a noticeable, but pleasant, warm alcohol finish. I expected it to be similar to muscat, and while it no doubt has muscat in it, it does have a character all of its own that is unlike any fortified I've tried to date. A truly enjoyable wine that no doubt will appeal to most wine lovers.
Primo Estate 'Joseph' The Front V
Price - $50 from Primo Estate
Region - The base wine is from McLaren Vale, blended wines come from Rutherglen and Barossa Valley.
Final Sip - It's a pretty dangerous wine... because I find myself going through my supply far too quickly!