Interview with Vigneron, Stanton and Killeen Wines, Rutherglen, North East Victoria

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Historic Rutherglen is renowned for its many boutique wineries

Historic Rutherglen is renowned for its many boutique wineries [©Winepros/VisitVineyards.com]

Rutherglen in Victoria's High Country produces an outstanding range of fortified wines
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Vigneron, Stanton and Killeen Wines, Rutherglen, North East Victoria [©VisitVineyards.com]

The Rutherglen area of Victoria is world famous for its fortified wine and although the area does big bodied reds it's still the fortified wine that keeps people coming back.

Stanton and Killeen, one of the most well known winemaking families in Rutherglen, has been making wine in this area for well over 100 years with some of the original vineyards planted by Jack Stanton in 1921 still in production.

It wasn't always good times though for Rutherglen with all the vineyards in the area wiped out in the 1800s by phylloxera. "We have since planted on American root stocks which has solved the problem," says Stanton and Killeen vigneron.

"Muscat, tokay and port are the three big fortifieds that we do; we don’t do any sherry, but other people in the area do. Of our reds, durif is a big winner, a big bodied, full bodied red; we sell out of it every year. Two thirds of the vineyard is planted with fortified with the rest red wine and a little white wine. A lot of the reds can be either fortified or table wine.

"It’s not uncommon for people to come in here and buy a couple of thousand dollars worth of wine, and some of those wines are quite expensive, but then again, the younger ones are quite reasonably priced. Well I guess even the older ones are reasonably priced if you consider that they’ve held them in the barrel for 25, 30 years, and you lose 5% out of the barrel each year, which makes it quite an expensive proposition to make the fortified wine. However, we believe in it. I think as far as the cost of it, you have got to taste it to appreciate it.

"Fortified wine is 18 percent alcohol, or thereabouts; your average table wine is anywhere from 12 to 14 percent, so there’s quite an extra bit of kick in fortified wine."

"We’ll pick, keep it separate until vintage is over, then we’ll taste it, make up our minds what we are going to do with it, whether we are going to put it in a blend, in a good blend, like a premium blend, or it might go to a barrel blend, which is probably the lowest quality. So you can have your good years, and you might get them all in the premium blend, or you could have a poor year, and they might all go for barrel. But generally you’ll get a bit of each, and there’s probably 3 or 4 different blends. Of course, the big money ones will be in the premium."

The barrel blends may go out after 3 or 4 years but muscat can be anything from 12 to 25 years in the bottle right up to where only the very best vintages from the past 40 years have been blended to produce a superb and luscious muscat.

 

Regions

  • North East Victoria (VIC)
  • Rutherglen (VIC)

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October 05th, 2009
 
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