Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wine #23: Rutherglen Muscat (Sweet/Australia)

Hi all,

Busy week with Unit 1 (Business of wine) and Unit 6 (Fortified wines) exams yesterday. Thought it'd be nice to (hopefully) close this last two exams of revisions on a sweet note. 
My 2012 fortified wine 'coup de coeur'. I love it so much my heart aches (although my teeth will probably drop first): the Campbell's Rutherglen Muscat.

A sweet fortified wine made from brown Muscat in Rutherglen area in South-East Australia.

Appearance: light brown with orange and red tinges and long thick legs 

Nose: complex with notes of fruit cake, caramel, toffee, raisins
Palate: round,lusciously sweet, complex flavours of raisins, dried figs. High alcohol 

Score: 8-9/10

You'll like it if you like: Muscat; sweet, sweet caramelised desserts e.g. Sticky toffee pudding.

Have it:
On its own on one of the nice, warm Spring/Summer days we are bound to have a few of soon.
With a nice Tarte Tatin or a apple, pear or peach-based cake or pastry, Sticky toffee pudding or chocolate
On ice cream e.g. butterscotch and vanilla.

Find it:
1) In your local shop e.g. Oxford Wine Company - £11.99
2) Chris Piper Wines / Slurp / Other online shops - £10-12
3) Tesco - Croix Milhas Rivesaltes Ambré - £8.49 - Same colour, not as complex but still very pleasant. 6-7/10

Did you know?
> Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains is indeed a grape with little berries and pips but isn't only white. It can be any colour from white, pink or brown like the Muscat from Rutherglen.

> The wine's creation is unique: the grapes are left to dry in the hot, dry South-Australian until they become semi-raisin. In this process, the water evaporates, the grape shrivels and the sugar and flavours concentrate. 
The grapes are then harvested, pressed and fermentation can start. But contrary to normal dry wines, the winemaker does not let the wine ferments all the sugar and stops the fermentation by adding a spirit that will kill all the fermenting yeasts left.
The wine created is then matured in old wood in hot and dry conditions but also regularly blended to create the best combination and more complexity. The Rutherglen Muscat is essentially baked and blended. This is what creates the delicious baked caramel, spicy notes you can find in the wine.
The more time the wine spends maturing in cask, the more complex and richer the wine: 
  • Rutherglens spend less than 5 years ageing
  • Classic Rutherglens spend 5 years in oak
  • Grand Rutherglens spend 10 years in oak
  • Rare Rutherglens spend 15 years in oak.

> The whole wine-making system does command higher prices but the wine is a relish. Who's up for a rare Rutherglen at $120/bottle?

> Campbell's is a family-owned wine-making company established in 1870 and is part of Australia's First Families of Wine, a group of family-run wine estates meant to represent the Australian terroir.

> This Rutherglen won the Decanter & International Wine Challenge Gold Medal in 2007. Robert Parker, a modest wine critic and occasional trend-maker from the States also scored this wine 95/100.

Here's to all the sweet tooth! Enjoy!