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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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