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Wine Diploma - Unit 6 Australia Rutherglen Muscat
Terms in this set (10)
- North (east) part of North East Victoria Zone.
- There were 23 producers in 2014.
- Warm, high levels of sunshine with wide diurnal range and long dry autumns.
- Same heat degree days summation as the Clare Valley in South Australia (1770) - Makes grapes develop full flavours;
- Sunshine hours - higher than other areas (NOT HOTTER) - significant part in producing the lusciously ripe fruit that make Rutherglen fortifies outstanding;
- Very continental climate ie there is a big range of temperature variation between the warmest and coldest months as well as in the daily temperature range (diurnal range);
- Cool nights, warm days and a normally long dry autumn - achieve high levels of sweetness and flavour and high quality;
- A long dry autumn - slow and even ripening. The result is that fruit remains in good condition and with a good sugar/acid balance.
- Deep, moisture retaining (impportant when hot and dry), alluvial red loam;
- The predominant subsoil is classed as medium heavy clay.
- The lighter sandy soils following the Murray River often produces more highly perfumed wines with delicate fruit characters.
- The grey/brown Rutherglen loam found on higher grounds generally results in richer, heavier and headier wines.
- Loam on the lower slopes of the gentle local hills.
- Fine sandy loam which is found closer to the Murray River.
- A very dark-skinned strain of Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, called here Brown Muscat - Rutherglen Brown Muscat
- Dark-skinned, small-berried Muscat (300ha)
- Light-skinned, small-berried Muscat (increased to 800ha).
- Unique winemaking process involves a slow and oxidative barrel ageing which imparts a complex array of flavours variously described as caramel, coffee, butterscotch, sweet spices, molasses, tea liquor, and cassis liquor.
To make the world's richest wine it stands to reason that you need ripe fruit. Very ripe fruit. Rutherglen enjoys a particular advantage in this regard.
- The long and dry growing season allows for grapes to shrivel and achieve 17-18 baumé, the grapes are semi-raisinised on the vines.
- Dry farming (relying entirely on natural rainfall) is very common.
- The period around vintage (March, April, May) is renowned for being mild, sunny and stable in and around Rutherglen. This allows the muscat fruit an extra period of 'hang time' on the vine. The dry climate makes the botrytis affection impossible.
- Fermentation only reaches a few degrees of alcohol before the wine is fortified to about 18% abv with a highly rectified grape spirit, assure to have >180g/L residual sugar level;
- The wine is then aged in various sizes of old oak casks frequently in very hot conditions, most employ a modified solera system, a graduated ageing process where wine is transferred slowly from barrel to barrel over a number of years before finally being bottled;
- Evaporation, heat and oxidation all have an important part to play in the final style and quality of the wines;
- Sometimes, Estufagem and Canteiro can be used in maturation. The result wines are very concentrated, full-bodied and sticky which have dried fruits flavours (raisins, citrus peel, apricots, prunes, marmalade, caramel and toffee, nuts);
- Rutherglen Muscat is rarely bottled as a single vintage wine. More often it will be a blend of many vintages that have been ageing in the winery;
- Blending (sometimes including solera system) is vital to maintaining the style and consistency of a producer's brands, (the wines do not benefit from bottle ageing).
A voluntary system is operated by the Muscat of Rutherglen Network, 4 categories exist:
- Rutherglen Muscat: is the foundation of the style; displaying the fresh raisin aromas, rich fruit, clean spirit and great length of flavour on the palate which are the mark of all the Muscats of Rutherglen. Average age 3-5 years. Residual sweetness 180-240 grams per litre.
- Classic Rutherglen Muscat: displays a greater level of richness and complexity, produced through the blending of selected parcels of wine, often matured in various sizes of oak cask to impart the distinctive dry 'rancio' characters produced from maturation in seasoned wood. Average age 6-10 years. Residual sweetness 200-280 grams per litre.
- Grand Rutherglen Muscat - takes the flavour of Rutherglen Muscat to a still higher plane of development, displaying a new level of intensity, depth and concentration of flavour, mature "rancio" characters, and a complexity which imparts layers of texture and flavour. Average age 11-19 years. Residual sweetness 270-400 grams per litre.
- Rare Rutherglen Muscat - is rare by name and by nature. These are the pinnacle Rutherglen Muscats, fully developed and displaying the extraordinary qualities that result from the blending of selected parcels of only the very richest, and most complete wines in the cellar. Rare Rutherglen Muscats are only bottled in tiny quantities each year, but for those privileged to taste them, these are wines of breathtaking complexity, texture and depth of flavour. Minimum age 20+ years. Residual sweetness 270-400 grams per litre.
The muscat of Rutherglen Network
- Established in 1995.
- Works with the falling of sales and consumptions of the Muscat Rutherglen.
8 members: All Saints Estate, RL Buller & Son, Campbells, Chambers, Morris, Pfeiffer, Rutherglen Estates, Stanton & Killeen.
- It is the operators of these companies who have chosen the classification levels and operate the system whereby Muscat is allocated into the different niches of Muscat hierarchy.
- Code Practice: wines have to be no lower than 17% abv, and finished wine Baume 9 -15 degrees ）
- Long tradition of fortified wines production;
- In steady decline since the 1960s but at one time dominated the industry in Australia;
- 2009, the Fortified Sustainability project reported on ways to revive the domestic market;
- Report required name changes for some of the wines (Sherry / Tokaji) in the light of agreement with the EU;
- Port and Sherry style wines are made throughout Australia but the most famous internationally are Rutherglen Muscats;
- Region is also known for a similar style of wine made from Muscadelle (white grape), They used to be called Liqueur Tokay but now are called Topaque.
- Originally labelled Tokay in mid-1800's (most likely due to similar characteristics of Hungarian Tokaji). For many years Australian's believed this was indeed the grape Tokay.
- But, in 1970's it was discovered to be the same as Muscadelle, however no need to change the name as they'd been making it under that name for 120+ years;
- In the 21st century, had to change the name due to labelling agreements for countries within the EU;
- Research was taken and Topaque was selected
- Phase out of name not enforced until 2016
- Lighter and finer in style, Flavours of candied fruits, honey, toffee and cold tea (as opposed to chocolate and raisin flavours of Muscat);
- The production style is nearly identical.
This set is often in folders with...
Unit 6 WSET Dip - Fortified Wines
WSET Level 4 Diploma Unit 6 - Fortified - Sherry
WSET Level 4 Diploma Unit 6 - Fortified - Port
WSET Level 4 Diploma Unit 6 - Fortified - Madeira
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