Unique Wine Finish on MGP Rye
Sagamore based out of Baltimore has been releasing MGP barrels for the past few years blending both their 51% and 95% rye mash bills to make a product uniquely their own. They have a line of bottles called their “Reserve Series” finished in various types of casks from Calvados to Tequila.
This 4 to 5 year old MGP rye was finished for an undetermined amount of time in a Moscatel cask.
Nosed and tasted in a Laddie Dram glass. Rested for ~10 min with no dilution. A dark burnt umber color with thin legs in the glass.
That plume of funky fermented wine hits you right away with a wonderful grape aroma. Plenty of fruity notes – sweet grapes, sultanas, prunes. There’s a tart berry scent in there too a bit on the green and leafy side. Underneath the sweet fruits there’s a more robust oak that ties the wine to a fragrant and familiar MGP rye. Yeasty bread like a cinnamon raisin loaf. Clove, nutmeg, and ginger. Almond extract. Pralines. The alcohol vapors are sharp with a chemical note. Very wine and fruit forward nose.
The wine cask dominates on the palate with the rye character seemingly overwhelmed. Rich cocoa with a chai spice kick to it. Figs, dates, and familiar raisin bread flavors. Tobacco, leather and barrel char with a slight touch of salinity even. The spirit plays with your palate bouncing between the sweet fruits and chocolate to a more bitter tannic oaky flavor. Notably missing is the rye characteristics you’d typically find in MGP. You occasionally get a hint of that rye but it’s quickly washed away in favor of the wine.
On the finish you get a welcome dark chocolate flavor. The old oak tannins really pump up the wet tobacco leaf notes. The dark fruit and spices coat the tongue like a heavy syrup in a compote. Winter honey. Cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Oddly metallic. Leans into the bitterness at the very end.
This is a desert dram in every sense of the word. You have to be in the right mood for it and also not expect the boisterous herbal notes of typical MGP rye. I think this to me tastes closer in profile to a young armagnac. Very grape fruity forward flavors with deep oak notes. I’d recommend this bottle but expect to bring this out only for a specific desert pairing. This isn’t a bottle you’re going to want to sip often but for the times you want a sweet dram, this is stellar.