Rutherglen Muscat

An Australian treasure

There’s something startlingly extraordinary about a wine touching your lips that’s been crafted, nurtured and safeguarded by up to six generations of winemakers...

That said, the mention of fortifieds, like muscat and topaque, can conjure images of dust coated wine decanters and grandparents sipping from small glasses after dinner. Not exactly a consideration for a contemporary liquor cabinet… or is it?

With Rutherglen muscat undisputedly renowned as the best in the world, who better than the Winemakers of Rutherglen to blow the dust off the bottle and share the magic that is Rutherglen muscat? With fresh, colourful cocktails, exciting new packaging and up-close and personal cellar door experiences, over 150 years of mystery continues to unravel.

So why does this generation of Rutherglen winemakers want to reintroduce muscat to the world? Well, there’s a list, and it starts with the House Style. Impossible to duplicate, yet recognisable in a single sip to any skilled winemaker, the House Style is unique to each winery and exists as a culmination of over 150 years of family winemaking. Each vintage, a wine is produced which is added to the other maturing wines, resulting in products comprised of generations of wine, rich with snowballed knowledge and experience.

“It’s one of those generational things you can hang your hat on,” sixth-generation winemaker Amy Sutherland Smith of Warrabilla Wines explains. “I do it because my Dad did and he does it because his Dad did. It’s not an exercise in making money, it’s an exercise of love”.

Scion261

Rutherglen muscat is also totally unique - its unsurpassed richness and lingering complexity is unable to be replicated anywhere around the world due to several factors:

  • Climate: Rutherglen vintage (March, April, May) is typically mild, sunny and stable, resulting in extra ‘hangtime’ for the fruit on the vines. This, in turn, produces extremely high baumes (‘bo-may’ is the measurement of natural fruit sugars) critical to a successful muscat.
  • Soil: Soil influences character in the muscat, with lighter sandy soils producing more perfumed wines with delicate fruit characters, while the deep alluvial red loam soils found on higher grounds build rich, raisin type flavours.
  • The grape: With over 200 varieties in the muscat family, only one is used to make Rutherglen muscat - the high quality muscat a Petits Grains Rouge, or to the locals, “Rutherglen Brown Muscat”.
  • The Winemaker’s Mark: Perhaps the most important contributor to the uniqueness and superiority of the Rutherglen Muscat.

The unique art form of blending the Muscat of Rutherglen style (with each generation adding its own fingerprint) sees wineries employ either a modified solera system (an alternative blending and ageing process to ensure consistency across the classifications) or the solera system (individual Muscat stocks graduate in an ageing process – from one stage to the next – with the young wine introduced at the earliest stage and the mature wine taken from the final stage for bottling.)

The skill and artistry required to craft Muscat of Rutherglen is as rare as the drink itself. The wines have been refined for over 100 years, safeguarded and lovingly tended to with each producers’ house-style reflecting their own personality.

There’s no doubt the illustrious Rutherglen muscats are luscious, rich beyond belief and lingering. The complex blend of youth and maturity is mimicked through the string of skilled winemakers that created them - a rare experience difficult to do justice in words. So, if you’re keen to take the journey yourself and experience the Rutherglen muscats at their finest and visit the cellar doors.  Here, you can taste the very best a house has to offer (many exclusive to cellar door visitors), learn the Rutherglen muscat classifications, tour the age-old barrels, drink in the history and discover the new versatility of Rutherglen muscat.

Scion muscat grape

Nectar of the Gods

If ambrosia was the tipple of the Gods of ancient Greece, Muscat of Rutherglen is surely its closest earthly relative. Rich, intense, sensuous and rare, this storied fortified is unique to this place and critically judged the best in the world.

Rutherglen winemakers have been lovingly crafting this delectable drop that sits somewhere between a wine and a spirit for more than a century, passing their secrets and blending techniques down through the generations.

Only tiny volumes are produced each year from rare wine stocks crafted from a very special, very small red berry, the Muscat á Petits Grand Rouge. It thrives in Rutherglen’s soils and climate and once picked, is aged in barrels for years, sometimes generations, before being blended by hand by winemakers to their own individual taste, style and technique.

Rutherglen is indisputably the world’s Muscat capital and home to a bona fide national treasure. It’s a bucket list experience for anyone visiting this lucky place where cellar doors are ready to roll out the welcome mat and offer a taste of their prized drops.

Campbells Wines muscat glass swirl

The classification

Muscats of Rutherglen

The taste of Muscat of Rutherglen is as hard to describe as it is to create.

Muscat of Rutherglen wines are grouped into a ladder of classifications that mark a progression in richness, complexity, age and intensity of flavour. The classifications exist to ensure drinkers choose the best Muscat for each occasion. Only wines that meet the requirements of this classification system are awarded the much sought-after Muscat of Rutherglen stamp of authenticity.

The four classifications are:

  • Rutherglen Muscat
    Expect an average age of 3-5 years
    The foundation style that provides a solid base to further discover and develop your Muscat preference. Rutherglen Muscat is a lighter style; fresh and youthful with raisin flavours and subtle richness that lingers with each sip.
  • Classic Rutherglen Muscat
    Expect an average age of 6-10 years
    A step up in terms of richness and complexity. Classic Rutherglen Muscat is where you begin to taste the style’s complex and distinctive flavour with a hint of mature wood aged characters.
  • Grand Rutherglen Muscat
    Expect an average age of 11-19 years
    Grand Rutherglen Muscat takes the style’s intensity, depth of flavour and concentration to a whole new level with a significant change in colour and mouthfeel. With a colour similar to dark chocolate, the flavours of spiced fruit, molasses and roasted hazelnuts intensify with every sip.
  • Rare Rutherglen Muscat
    Expect an average age of 20+ years
    The ultimate expression of Muscat of Rutherglen.
    Rare Rutherglen Muscat is only bottled in tiny quantities and those privileged to taste it discover fine wines of breathtaking richness and complexity. Truly history in a glass with a flavour that lingers forever.
MOR 46

Muscat taste sensations

Rutherglen’s new wave of talented makers have challenged the stuffy stereotypes and transformed the way Muscat can be tasted, paired and appreciated by newcomers to fortified wines.

The four styles of Muscat match perfectly with different types of food and are ideal served in any situation, whether as an aperitif, in a cocktail, poured over ice-cream, sipped with cheese or a spicy curry or as a cheeky after-dinner glass of pure, luscious pleasure.

Aged for up to five years, the lighter, fresh and subtle Rutherglen Muscats are delicious on ice or mixed in a cocktail and served with canapes, dried fruit and nuts, fruit-based desserts, panna cotta or sorbet.

Classic Rutherglen Muscat with a blended age of 6-10 years and loves savoury foods like soup, curries and slow-cooked meats and cheese, especially a creamy Brie, crumbly cheddar or pungent blue, it’s a match made in heaven.

Grand Rutherglen Muscat, blended from Muscat wines aged in barrels for anything between 11-19 years, is incredible with the richer flavours of terrine and pate, chocolate and chocolate-based desserts, butterscotch and caramel desserts or as an Affogato.

The pinnacle Rare Rutherglen Muscat, blended from Muscat wines in excess of 20 years of age and in many cases passed down through multiple generations, deserves to be sipped and savoured alone for pure pleasure to appreciate its intensity and its history in a glass! Perhaps linger longer with a strong coffee or the finest dark chocolate.

MOR 12 (1)

The Muscat Mile

More than a dozen Rutherglen wineries offer bookable, interactive Muscat experiences along the famed Muscat Mile.

These behind-the-scenes tours, classes and tastings are a delicious and fun way to learn all there is to know about Australia’s most iconic wine style as well as indulge in some of the region’s most complex and rare stocks straight from the barrel.

Along the way, be guided through the four classifications of Muscat that mark a progression in richness, complexity, age and intensity of flavour - Rutherglen Muscat, Classic Rutherglen Muscat, Grand Rutherglen Muscat and Rare Rutherglen Muscat and taste the perfect food match for each.

Highlights of this sensational Muscat Mile include a visit to Pfeiffer Wines, where maker Jen Pfeiffer has bagged a swag of awards, to learn the fine art of Muscat blending in the century-old barrel room. At All Saints Estate, take a seat in the Private Family Cellar for an immersive blindfolded Muscat experience. At Scion, winemaker Rowly Milhinch offers an exclusive tasting of his contemporary interpretations of the regional classic or head to Campbells to discover the family secrets behind Muscats created by generations of artisan makers.

muscat mile

...and then there’s Topaque

The incredible story of Rutherglen’s fortifieds doesn’t stop with Muscat. There’s also Topaque, one of our best-kept secrets.

Once known as Tokay, this rich white grape wine is made in much the same way as a muscat, fortified and aged to develop its rich, luscious, mouth-filling character with its aromas of malt, honey and tea leaves.

The four classifications used for Muscat of Rutherglen also apply to Topaque with Rutherglen Topaque, fresh and youthful wine with a subtle richness. Perfect chilled in summer and served as an aperitif with hors d’oeuvres, soft cheeses and fruit-based desserts. Classic Rutherglen Topaque is ideally paired with charcuterie and foie gras, hard cheeses, winter soups, poached and marinated fruits or honeyed ice creams. Richer still, Grand Rutherglen Topaque loves aged, pungent cheeses, walnuts or almond bread or Baklava or sticky date pudding. And finally, the pinnacle Rare Rutherglen Topaque deserves to be sipped alone or with nuts or Medjool dates to appreciate its intensity and complexity.

Perfect for warming up on a cold winter's day or as a chilled apéritif in summer, some amazing examples of Rutherglen Topaque can be tasted at Campbells, Andrew Buller Wines and Stanton & Killeen.

topaque & cheese

Can't Find It? Use Our Search

Can't Find It?
Use Our Search

We Think You Might Like

Tastes of Rutherglen

Tastes of Rutherglen will return for the Labour Day long weekend to showcase the very best of the Rutherglen region’s…

More Info

Man with chefs hat and fake mustache

Australian National Busking Championships – Rutherglen Heat

The Rutherglen busking final will commence on Friday May 13 with a concert held in the memorial Hall, featuring well…

More Info

two people riding bikes

Rutherglen Gourmet Amble

Take a walk, ride, or drive on the ‘East’ side of Rutherglen for a leisurely, progressive, sensory regional feast. Visit…

More Info

Pizza and wine at Bonnie with friends

Bonnie

Introducing the new casual eatery from Rutherglen icon All Saints Estate. Bonnie’s wine list by winemaker Nick Brown from All…

More Info

All Saints Estate

All Saints Estate

All Saints Estate is wonderfully imposing as you drive past the elegant gates down the avenue of huge elms, and…

More Info

Lake Moodemere Estate Waterfront

Lake Moodemere Estate and Lakeside Restaurant

North East Victoria’s first and only Certified Sustainable Vineyard, and one of Australia’s Top 50 Vineyards! Lake Moodemere Estate is…

More Info

Group of ladies sharing a wine

Winery Walkabout

Welcome to Victoria’s oldest wine festival. Since its humble beginnings in 1974, Winery Walkabout has grown to be one of…

More Info

Terrace Restaurant at All Saints Estate

Terrace Restaurant at All Saints Estate

The magnificent All Saints Estate hosts the renowned Terrace Restaurant awarded ‘one hat’ by the Age Good Food Guide since…

More Info

St Leonards Vineyard Outdoor Seating

St Leonards Vineyard Café

Open every Saturday and Sunday for lunch, including Public Holiday weekends. St Leonards Vineyard Café offers fresh, seasonal simple dishes…

More Info

Chef in black and white

Footsteps At Cofield Cafe & Restaurant

Footsteps At Cofield Cafe & Restaurant is located within Cofield Winery, showcasing the Rutherglen and surrounds local produce and producers.…

More Info

Café which serves breakfast

Pickers Cafe and Collectables

Pickers Café is established on a love of home-cooked foods and collectables. Pickers Café is the perfect place to catch…

More Info

Cafe Interior

The Pickled Sisters Cafe

The Pickled Sisters Cafe has been part of the Rutherglen culinary landscape for over 21 years. Now in a new…

More Info

Lunch on the Lawn

Rutherglen Seasonal Food Foray

A progressive picnic lunch with a difference, the Seasonal Food Foray is the ideal way to explore Rutherglen and discover…

More Info

Aerial view of building front - Tuileries Restaurant

Tuileries Restaurant at De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate

Tuileries is a name long synonymous with the Rutherglen Wine Region. The original restaurant was established over 30 years ago…

More Info

Joe & Bread

Valentines Artisan Sourdough Bakers

Valentines Artisan Sourdough Bakers specialise in handcrafted European inspired artisan sourdough bread using certified sustainable and chemical free Australian grown…

More Info

The Other Place

The Other Place at Rutherglen

This vibrant cafe serves a selection of breakfast and lunch meals right in the heart of Rutherglen. Enjoy fresh, locally…

More Info

120 Main Street Rutherglen Victoria taken across the road by sinead Monday 17 may 2021 iPhone eleven

Poachers Paradise Hotel

Poachers Paradise Hotel is a country-style pub with a bistro, bar, TAB, outdoor and indoor eating areas. Open for lunch…

More Info

Star Hotel and Eastern Palace

Star Hotel Ruthergen

The Star Hotel Rutherglen was established in the 1860’s and is currently run by Paul and Robyn Davies. The Star…

More Info

Thousand Pound Wine Bar & Store

Thousand Pound Wine Bar and Store

Thousand Pound Wine Bar and Store is ahead of the trend. Victoria’s wine canteens are a rapidly growing regional obsession…

More Info

Gelatina

Gelatina

A visit to Rutherglen would not be complete without experiencing at least one flavour of Gelatina’s delicious gelato, made in…

More Info