Looking back over another month of tasting notes, some regions seem to appear quite regularly: Yarra Valley, McLaren Vale, Bendigo/Heathcote and Barossa Valley have been frequently on the menu at our homes. One region though that repeatedly comes up in conversation as a must revisit is Rutherglen.
For a (relatively) small region, the variety and quality of the wine being produced is really amazing. While the region is most famous for its fortified wines (with good reason – 9 of the 10 best fortified wines in Australia come from Rutherglen) don’t be too quick to dismiss the other wines on offer. This includes white wines. Here we look back at some of our favourite Rutherglen wines.
Warabilla 2016 Reserve Grenache: We had this wine suggested to us by the waiter at Taste in Rutherglen one night and it proved to be excellent advice. The 2017 is also excellent, but the 2016 is pure delight! The browning at the edge of the glass is closer to gold than brown in colour and the deep ruby red colour in the rest of the glass is simply beautiful to behold. There is a lot of oak in the nose(!) which then comes through again in the palate, giving a biscuit-like flavour to the dark cherry of the Grenache. This is one powerful wine!
Campbells 2016 Shiraz Durif: Priced as an entry-level table wine, this was our first experience of the blend and wow did we all like it – a lot. The cherry-black colour is a beautiful sight which we have since come to expect from Rutherglen red wines. The nose is powerful, as we have since learned it is the Durif that dominates, despite being the minority grape in the blend. The black fruits in the palate are intense but the Shiraz flavours manage to integrate nicely. We hope this will cellar well for 5 to 10 years because we love it.
Campbells 2015 “Bobbie Burns” Shiraz: The colour is lighter than the Shiraz-Durif blend, but the clarity is much greater on this wine which, combined with the cherry-red deep Shiraz colourings make for a very inviting sight in the glass. The Shiraz bouquet is very typical of the variety but the mouthfeel is somewhat softer (absence of tannin perhaps) than expected. All in all a very nice wine, but in our opinion not as interesting as the Shiraz-Durif blend.
Warrabilla 2014 Reserve Marsanne: We LOVE Marsanne as a variety and it is currently our most common white varietal in most of our cellars (largely thanks to Tahbilk having sales…) but we genuinely love this varietal and are yet to find one we don’t like. The Warrabilla offering is unusual in a few ways; firstly, the wine has been aged in 100% NEW American oak puncheons (320 Litres) which for a wine that retails for less than $20 a bottle is rather unusual. The wine is typically aged Marsanne with a beautiful gold colour in the glass with a hint of green. Although 5 years old, it drinks like a 10 year old Marsanne. Again, this is only a good thing as Marsanne is well known to cellar well for many, many years.
Warrabilla 2017 Reserve Riesling: When compared to the Marsanne, this wine is LIGHT in colour. Almost WHITE. The mouthfeel is pleasantly complex with good amounts of acid present. The finish on this wine is amazingly long, with flavours continuing to come in waves. It was a split decision as to whether we preferred this to the Marsanne which just goes to show how good a wine it really is.