Rutherglen Wine Region

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The Rutherglen Wine Region in North East Victoria has achieved iconic status with its fortified wines. It has also been associated with big long-lived red wines, a style that has gone out of fashion.

Many wineries around in this wine region have been in the same family for several generations and are housed in historic gold era buildings that provide an appropriate setting to taste the venerable wines. The winery buildings at All Saints, Gehrig Estate, Mount Prior and Pfeiffer are well worth visiting for their architectural interest, quite apart from the superb table and fortified wines.

Rutherglen wineries

The region is centred around the town of Rutherglen and is bounded on the north by the Murray River. Other towns within the region include Wahgunyah and Chiltern, and immediately across the river in New South Wales is the substantial town of Corowa. See map of the region and wineries.

History of Wine in Rutherglen

The wine industry was established in the middle of the nineteenth century. Unlike many other Victorian wine regions, Rutherglen escaped the Phylloxera pest, and was able to survive the fall in popularity of table wines by developing a specialty in fortified wine.

These wines are undoubtedly of world class quality. The ports and sherries match it with all but the best of the Iberian wines of those styles. But the region's unique gifts to the world are the muscats and tokays which have no equal.

In mare recent years a range of new varieties and styles have been made, with considerable success.

As the big, robust and highly tannic red wines characteristic of Rutherglen have become less popular a few wineries have begun making sparkling red wines. This style has not attracted universal approval, but it certainly has its enthusiasts. Hungary

Rutherglen Wines Renamed

Names such as Port, Sherry and Tokay are no longer used for Australia as they infringe on international rules about not using words that imply a false geographic origin.

The 'Tokay' that winelovers have come to know and love over the decades is made from the Muscadelle grape. But the name Tokay is derived from a region in Hungary which makes a different style of wine called Tokaji. Australian Tokays will thus have been renamed to Topaque.

Sherry is a protected name in that it is derives from the Spanish town and wine region of Jerez. Wines in the sherry style made in Australia are now called Apera.

If you used to enjoy Rutherglen Port you will now have to look for wines labelled Fortified Shiraz, or Fortified Red Wine or something similar.

Rutherglen Muscat does not have to change its name. It is named after the Muscat grape variety (more correctly group of grape varieties) a practice which is permitted under international trade rules.

Grape varieties in Rutherglen

The warmish climate means that many of the mainstream wine grape varieties are commonly grown. Among alternative varieties Durif has long been popular in this region since its introduction in 1908. It is used for port style fortified wines, dry red table wines, and in recent years for sparkling reds.

Some Rutherglen Region wineries that are using alternative varieties include

All Saints Estate Cabernet franc, Chenin blanc, Durif, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Orange muscat, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Tempranillo |
This page recently updated to include new wineries listed in
James Halliday's Wine Companion 2014
Anderson Winery Chenin blanc, Durif, Muscadelle, Petit verdot, Pinot gris, Sangiovese, Saperavi, Tempranillo, Viognier | Bull Paddock Wines Sangiovese | Bullers Calliope Biancone, Durif, Marsanne, Mondeuse, Muscadelle, Tempranillo, Vermentino | Calico Town Durif, Trebbiano | Campbells Wines Durif, Malbec, Muscadelle, Pedro Ximenez, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet, Tempranillo, Trebbiano, Viognier | Chambers Rosewood Caracosa, Cornifesto, Cinsaut, Durif, Gouais blanc, Graciano, Mondeuse, Muscadelle, Palomino, Roussanne, Tinta Cao | Cofield Wines Cabernet franc, Chenin blanc, Durif, Gamay, Malbec, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Sangiovese | Drinkmoor Wines Durif, Chenin blanc, Petit verdot | Gehrig Estate Chenin Blanc, Durif, Muscadelle, Trebbiano | Jones Winery and Vineyard Fiano, Malbec, Marsanne, Pedro Ximenez, Roussanne, Trebbiano | Lake Moodemere Biancone, Cinsaut, Durif | Lilliput Wines Petit verdot, Viognier | Morris Cinsaut, Durif, Muscadelle, Palomino, Trebbiano | Mount Prior Durif, Muscadelle | Murdering Hut Creek Vermentino | Olive Hills Estate Durif, Malbec, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier | Pfeiffer Wines Cabernet Sanzey, Gamay, Malbec, Marsanne, Muscadelle, Palomino, Tempranillo, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao | Platt's Gewurztraminer | Rutherglen Estates Arneis, Durif, Fiano, Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo, Viognier, Zinfandel | Scion Vineyard Durif, Grenache, Orange muscat, Viognier | St Leonards Cabernet franc, Chenin blanc, Orange muscat, Viognier | Stanton and Killeen Wines Durif, Muscadelle, Souzao, Tempranillo, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, Touriga, Viognier | Trahna Rutherglen Wines Durif, Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Viognier | Valhalla Wines Durif, Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Viognier | Vintara Cinsaut, Dolcetto, Durif, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petit verdot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier | Warrabilla Wines Durif, Marsanne, Moscato, Zinfandel | Watchbox Wines Durif, Sangiovese, Tempranillo |

A reader's story about a weekend in this region, you can read it comment on it or send in your own.

Christobelle Anderson of Anderson Winery reports on the difficult 2007 vintage in this region

Dan Crane is winemaker at All Saints Winery and St Leonards Winery. In this article he describes how he softens the tannins in Rutherglen Durif by using a longer period of maceration.

Some Images of Rutherglen

I have gathered some images of Rutherglen and its wines onto my Rutherglen Wine Region Pinterest board. You might like to add some pictures of your own, or repin some of mine.

Where can I get some Rutherglen wine?

I like to use the Snooth Service to find where to buy wines. If you add in your location the service returns retailers with physical shops in your area, or online stores.

Snooth does not actually sell wine, but it can tell you where to find it. While you are there you can download Snooths Digital Wine Guide App.

So why not give Snooth a try?

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Wine regions covered by vinodiversity

New South Wales Wine Regions

Victorian Wine Regions

South Australian Wine Regions

Western Australian Wine Regions

Queensland Wine Regions

Tasmanian Wine Regions