Chambers Rosewood Muscadelle Special (375ML half-bottle)
Fringed by the beautiful Alpine Region and the Murry River, Chambers Rosewood Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery nestled on the edge of the charming town of Rutherglen. Rutherglen is a hamlet in North East Victoria, renowned for its wine-growing terroirs. The company is known worldwide for its Muscat and Muscadelle grapes and flagship fortified wines. Today, the winery delivers both top-notch bottled and bulk wines on both national and international fronts.
Since establishment in 1858 in Victoria's famed Rutherglen region, winemaking duties at Chambers Rosewood have been handed down through six generations. Relinquished in 2001 by Bill Chambers, one of Australia's most respected wine personalities, the aging and blending practices that shape these inimitable fortified wines are now entrusted with son Stephen. Recognized the world over for their complexity, intensity and balance, Chambers' Rare Muscats and Muscadelles are a national treasure; wines expertly blended from unctuous material that has matured quietly in the family cellars for more than ninety years.
Stephen collects berries for his wines from century-old vines, enriched with appropriate flavors and aromas, along with some newer young vines. He grows a wide range of varieties, Muscat and Muscadelle being at the forefront. Many other varieties include fruity Palomino, Roussanne, Riesling, Traminer, and Shiraz. The estate also uses the unique and rare Gouais grape, a parent of Chardonnay and Riesling, along with top-quality Tempranillo, Durif, Mondeuse, and Cinsault (Blue Imperial) to produce luscious wines. In the vineyards, they nurture precious vines as old as 110 years.
Located in the warm and dry northeastern corner of the state of Victoria, bordering the southern side of the Murray River, the Rutherglen region bears a long history of fortified wine production.
Rutherglen's main variety, Muscat blanc à Petits Grains (also known as Brown Muscat or Muscat à Petit Grains Rouge for its often pink- or red-tinged berries) flourishes in the region’s deep, moisture retaining, alluvial, red loam soils. To make the distinguished and aptly named fortified, "Rutherglen," these Muscat grapes are harvested after left to semi-raisin on the vine. Fermentation only reaches a few degrees alcohol before the juice is fortified with grape spirit and aged in a barrel system resembling a cross between a Sherry solera and a Madeira estufagem. Rutherglen wines boast great concentration and fine aromas hinting at orange flowers and spice, and are capable of astounding quality.
The Rutherglen region grows second grape, called Muscadelle (confusingly unrelated Muscat), which also produces a quality fortified wine. Historically Australians called the grape “Tokay” and believed it to have Hungarian ancestry but when the French ampelographer, Paul Truel, identified it as Muscadelle in 1976, the name had to be changed. Today varietal wines made from Muscadelle can be called, “Topaque.”
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.