RL Buller Fine Victoria Tawny
Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Evaporation plays an all-important role in the Muscats of Rutherglen. On average the maturing casks of Muscat lose 5% of their volume each year to the sun. This makes the production of Rutherglen Muscat a costly business, but without this concentration of the Muscat through evaporation these would not be the world's richest wines.
Rutherglen Muscat is a wonderful and versatile accompaniment to food, and the many styles of Muscat produced in the region allow innovative combinations of wine and food. The lighter Rutherglen Muscats are superb aperitifs - a perfect way to prepare for a hearty meal. In the warmer months they can be chilled without loss of flavor. The richer Classic Rutherglen Muscats are excellent complements to a wide range of flavorsome, terrine, soups and stews, spicy Asian cuisine and sauced meats. They are sublime matches to dessert dishes with caramel, toffee, chocolate and marinated fruits or rich ice cream - giving them a reputation as probably the greatest dessert wine style of the world.
Today Andrew is winemaker/manager of RL Buller & Son's Rutherglen vineyard and winery operation. He is a member of the Winemaker's of Rutherglen, the Rutherglen Muscat Network, the Rutherglen export group and the Vignerons Association.
Since 1921, the Buller family has produced heavyweight Muscats from their "Calliope" Vineyard - using the age-old techniques of basket presses and open fermenters, to make the Muscats they call their 'sleeping giants'. Found 4km East of Rutherglen this non irrigated is 32 Ha and is the source of the most premium Muscat's and Tokay's from RL Buller.
Nestled into the tip of its southeastern coastline, Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state, second most populous and third largest wine producer. Victoria includes the cool regions of Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong, made famous mainly by impressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The more inland Heathcote and Bendigo lead the way for complex and textured, full-bodied reds. Rutherglen’s fortified wines compete among the best on the planet.
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.