Morris Malt Whisky
The Dozen Vol. 27 No. 01

The Dozen – Toasting 2023

Starting the New Year with wines from Abruzzo and whiskies from Australia


Happy morning after!

Some of the Morrises who left England came to the United States, as my ancestors did a couple of centuries ago. Other Morrises traveled to Rutherglen in Australia, where they began producing wine and whisky over a century and a half ago. Today the Morris whisky brand is one of the leaders in ensuring Australia is part of the conversation whenever great sources of spirits are being discussed.

Personally, I haven’t explored to see how close our Morris family connections are. Still, we will start the 2023 edition of The Dozen by toasting Morris whiskies with two expressions of Morris whiskies.

We also want to pay special note in this The Dozen to the many fine wines coming out of Abruzzo with a look at four very good ones from Ciavolich.

So raise your glass, whether you have fine wines or fine spirits.

2022 Viña Leyda Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc Reserva ($15). Typical grassy aromas and flavors with a medium body.

2021 Chateau Maris Vin de France Orange Wine ($18). A very pleasant aperitif, almost dry, with peppery citrus flavors and a raspy texture.

2021 Viña Leyda “Garuma – Coastal Vineyards” Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Very herbal, garrigue-like flavors with dark lime notes – more savory than most Sauvignons.

2019 Ciavolich “Fosso Cancelli” Trebbiano d’Abruzzo ($40). One of a number of exciting Trebbianos being made in Italy today, this one has fresh peppery, tropical fruit with good structure, a lean finish, and a long aftertaste.

2019 Ciavolich “Fosso Cancelli”  Colline Pescaresi Pecorino ($41). Quite a different taste, but good different, with exotic fruity and savory flavors, almost curry-like with a cheesy underlay with a mango-like finish.

2021 Ciavolich “Fosso Cancelli” Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo ($39). A good rosato food wine – fresh strawberry flavors, medium body, good finish, light tannins.

2019 Chateau Maris Minervois “La Touge” La Livinière Minervois ($22). Lovely Syrah and Grenache blend with mulled flavors of mature fruits – plums, cranberries – smooth tannins and an almost creamy lilt to the finish.

2017 Ciavolich “Fossi Cancelli” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($58). Very juicy and lightly spritzy with good cranberry flavors, a hint of oak, and good tannins.

Morris Australia Single Malt Whisky ($60 – 700 ml). Lightly smoky aromas and flavors – very smooth – with tastes of dried and wet grains, shortbread, vanilla, and caramel. (44% ABV).

Pursuit United “Oak Collection” Bourbon Finished With Toasted American and French Oak ($75 – 750 ml). Smooth and enticing with creamy, honeyed oak flavors and a black-oak finishing kick. (54% ABV).

Pursuit United “Oak Collection” Rye Finished With Sherry French Revere Oak ($75 – 750 ml). A lovely and complex whisky with a very viscous texture and spicy, floral flavors blended with the sorghum-like notes of Pedro Ximinez and light caramel. (54% ABV).

Morris Australia Single Malt “Muscat Barrel” Whisky ($90 – 700 ml).  Very smooth with spicy cracked grain flavors, light molasses from the Muscat, and an elegant, lingering finish. (48% ABV).         

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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