Published on January 6th, 2015 | by Ruben1
Moscatel Toneles (Valdespino)
Moscatel Toneles is the oldest Moscatel wine on the market, said to be around 100 years old
Moscatel Toneles is one of the mythical wines of the sherry region, produced by Valdespino. It is an extremely old, powerful Moscatel that was long forgotten, because there was simply no market for it.
Nowadays it’s better known, especially after receiving the full 100 points in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
The name Toneles refers to the large cask type called tonél, which can hold around 1000 liters. The solera row of this wine is made up of just one of these toneles. The age of the bottled wine is almost impossible to determine: the minimum would be 80 years old, but it’s probably as old as 100 years on average. Only 100 half bottles are extracted from the solera cask every year.
Whenever the wine is bottled, the solera system is topped up with wine from the Moscatel Promesa solera.
Although such an old wine would deserve the highest age statement, Moscatel Toneles is not labeled VORS – age designations simply don’t exist for Moscatel. They simply call it Moscatel Viejísimo.
Moscatel Toneles (15%, Valdespino)
Nose: surprisingly punzante and even slightly alcoholic at first if you think this is only 15%. Breathing helps. It could be mistaken for a PX, but it’s less viscous. Sweet liquorice and burnt sugar, Lots of figs, with chocolate and mocha. Hints of Early Grey tea, with some orange peel notes as well. It has a big spicy side too, with star anise and cinnamon and an oriental touch that comes close to curry spices. Sweet coffee. Dark honey. Hints of leather.
Mouth: starts sweet but a tremendous acidity takes over. Very concentrated. After the sweet and sour side, which is in perfect balance, it becomes darker, with huge notes of Belgian, thick pear syrup made in Liège. This moves to burnt sugar (the top layer of crème brûlée) and very dark chocolate (including the slight bitterness). Intense coffee beans and walnut syrup in the finish, but a lemony acidity as well.
Availability: hard to find. Easily € 120 for a half bottle. There used to be full 75cl bottles as well, but they seem to be gone (or at least even harder to find).
Summary: Moscatel Toneles is certainly a top class sweet wine, which couples thick sweetness to biting acidity. This is level 11 on an intensity scale of 1 to 10. Nonetheless if we're splitting hairs, I prefer old PX from the neighbouring D.O. for being more elegantly balanced.