Simon’s Wine of the Week is Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat
This week’s WOTW is a super sticky sweetie. It might not be quite the sweetest wine I’ve ever tried (that honour must surely go to Pedro Ximenez sherry with its 300 grams per litre of sugar), but it is certainly the stickiest. You could catch flies with this stuff.
I must admit to a personal association with this wine before I say anymore. I once found myself at Campbell’s Winery a good few years back, and sat down to a tasting of their wines with none other than Colin Campbell himself. After tasting around 30 wines, some of which have Port-like levels of alcohol (I say tasting, I mean drinking; I was with the great man himself and it would have been rude not to), I had to be decanted into a taxi to take me the short drive to my hotel as I seemed to have temporarily lost the use of my legs. My tasting notes started in-depth, insightful, and beautifully written. They ended as barely legible scratches.
Rutherglen Muscat is Australia’s only unique wine. Climate, soil, grape, and winemaking all come together to create a wine not found in any other wine region on the planet. The long, hot, dry long autumns of Northern Victoria allow the Muscat a Petits Grains Rouge grape extra ripening time. These super-ripened grapes make a young wine which is very sweet. These young wines are blended over time with very old wines in a Solera ageing system, similar to those used to make Sherry. These Soleras consists of racks of casks on top of each other, each filled with wine. Wine from the lowest barrels is run off and taken for bottling. These barrels are then filled with wine from the barrels in the rack above, and them from the rack above, until you reach the top rack of barrels which is filled with the newest wine of the vintage. This allows for the wines to age over many years so that perfection is reached in the final stage prior to bottling. This system ensures a level of consistency of style and quality year to year.
The resulting wine is a thick, luscious, rich nectar that has to be tasted to be believed. Their standard Rutherglen Muscat is an all-time classic. Dark tawny coloured with flashes of amber, it’s so viscous it seems to take a while to pour into the glass. The aromas are intense and powerful with rum and raison, Christmas spice, fresher orange marmalade and hints of vanilla from the oak ageing. In the mouth it is very full-bodied, deep, sweeeeeeeeeet, and powerful with spice, roasted walnuts, raison, oak-aged rum, pine cone and cedar oak. Truly delicious.
If you’ve got a Christmas pudding or cake coming up, then this is one of the wines to choose. Also absolutely perfect with a chocolate pudding with salted caramel.
Have a great week,