Fine Fino for the Buying

When Birks Chip Dry Fino – a sherry-style wine – won an award at the 2010 Royal Sydney Wine Show, it was one of those David and Goliath stories. This micro-boutique wine was aged in barrels in the cellar of Andrew Birks’s suburban home in Wagga Wagga and was strictly for home consumption, not commercial sale. But it won the JCM Fornachon Memorial Trophy for the best fortified wine of the show, beating many of Australia’s top wineries. Later that year it won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge, in London, against Spanish competitors. Birks started the solera in his home 25 years ago when he was head of wine science at Charles Sturt University. Until now, it’s been available only to family and friends. But he’s now offering 1000 half-bottles for sale at $25 each. It’s quite an aged fino style, with a deep-yellow hue and very complex, mature, nutty and spicy aromas with the yeasty-sea breeze tang imparted by the flor yeast, and it’s rich, full and, yes, lipsmackingly dry in the mouth. Orders: 6931 9955,

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