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Voted a Wine Champion in our 2018 blind tastings to find the best of our best for drinking now, this is a gloriously rich, lusciously sweet fortified Australian muscat. Its deep colour and complex flavours are the result of lengthy maturation in barrel. It oozes raisins, treacle, grilled coffee beans and nuts, and would cap off any meal in style. A style that exists nowhere else in the world.
Product Code: AU10522
View all products by Stanton & Killeen
North-east Victoria in Australia is famous for fortified wines and one of the family firms at the forefront of production there is Stanton & Killeen. The Stanton family are originally from Suffolk and had their beginnings in the wine trade, like many others, during the gold rush of the mid-18th century. In 1864 Timothy Stanton established a business supplying victuals to the miners and in 1875 sold the first vintage of his fortified wine. They have been producing their vinous gold ever since, through seven generations, and 2015 sees their 150th anniversary as winemakers.In 1925 Jack Stanton built a new winery, in true pioneering spirit employing re-used materials, and in 1948 the Killeens joined the family when Norman Killeen married Joan Stanton. Until the 1960s the family produced nothing but fortified wines. That decade saw a brief pull back from wine as wool prices soared around the world and some of the vines were grubbed up, but the 1970s saw a renewed optimism in the Australian wine industry and the family were not slow to recognise it. These days red wines are also made but it is the fortifieds, which represent 70% of Stanton & Killeen's production, which are the flagship wines, and they are increasingly prized around the world.Grapes come from some 86 hectares divided between eight vineyards, and the oldest vines are nearing a hundred years of age, basking in the hot continental climate of this region. In the area around the town of Rutherglen it is easy to partly raisin the grapes on the vine, intensifying the sugars and flavours. To make their wonderful Liqueur Muscat, aromatic muscat blanc à petits grain grapes (known in Australia, with characteristic bluntness, as 'brown muscat') are harvested, crushed and fermented on the skins for just a day before the fermentation is stopped in its tracks with pure grape spirit. After clarification the wines spend two or three years in large old oak barrels until the best parcels are selected to spend a considerably longer time in smaller oak barrels until the desired style of wine is achieved. The process shares some similarities with madeira production in that heat plays a part in the maturation process by helping to concentrate the wines, and the Spanish solera system whereby older wines are blended with younger versions.These rich, sweet and silky wines are unique to Australia, indeed to this corner of Australia, and they are one of the wine world's great treasures.
Victoria is the southernmost state on the Australian mainland and contains within its borders a diverse collection of terroirs, perhaps the most varied within Australia. This diversity has helped the state to earn an enviable reputation for the quality of its wines, the areas that they hail from and its wineries.It has a long history since the first settlers in the region planted vines, but the catalyst for expansion was the gold rush of the mid-19th century which saw many a vineyard established. This promising start was stalled dramatically by the arrival of phylloxera in the 1870’s and to this day the Victoria produce less than half the amount produced in neighbouring South Australia despite having many more vineyards. Despite its small size (it is the smallest state other than Tasmania) it has an amazing diversity of terroirs, from the dry, torrid north-east where fortified wines are king, to the positively chilly by comparison Mornington Peninsula due south of Melbourne on the coast. It also embraces a fair chunk of the Murray Darling region where irrigation makes the vast expanses of vineyard a possibility and from where three quarters of the state’s grape yield derives.The Yarra Valley is a short car ride to the north of Melbourne, and has a wide selection of tourist diversions to prove it. It also has an array of excellent estates and vineyards at various elevations and in a variety of soils, from clay and sand to volcanic. Rediscovered in the 1960s and prized for its cool nights and warm, sunny days, it has become synonymous with excellent pinot noirs and elegant, intense chardonnays that are doing much to reclaim Australia’s reputation for the variety. Shiraz has also proved a success in a more restrained style.To the south of Melbourne, and benefiting fully from an unrelenting oceanic influence on its doorstep is the Mornington Peninsula. Surrounded by the Southern Ocean and Port Phillip Bay on three sides, and moderated by the breezes these expanses of water generate the summer climate on the peninsula is for the most part temperate. This is a region of small estates producing some of the most elegant and refined pinot noirs in the new world let alone Australia. The soils vary from volcanic deposits to sandy clay and after pinot noir there is fine chardonnay and an increasing volume of pinot gris. Close to Melbourne the area of Geelong enjoys a windy, maritime climate but is slightly warmer, making plump pinot and some delicious shiraz and chardonnay.In the north-east lies one of the great wine regions of Australia, though it is not shiraz, or chardonnay nor riesling for which it is famed, but rather the muscat grape, made into a fortified treasure that is unique to the area and which is one of Australia’s great vinous jewels. Rutherglen Liqueur Muscats, and Muscadelles, can hold their head up in the company of any great port, sherry or Madeira for their rich, complex, silky and concentrated character. The summers here are torrid, the landscape arid and the grapes full of sugar. And the red table wines made are dense, brooding examples that are improving all the time. But it is the joyous fortifieds that steal the show.
"An amazing wine, really concentrated with complex flavours of raisin and treacle, has a great depth of flavour and a long finish."
"To put it quite simply, you will not find anything better to accompany your Christmas pudding."
"Absolutely delicious. Incredibly sweet, but balanced by such a rich treacle flavour. Too sweet to drink much on its own, probably best with something like a fruity pudding or cake."
I would recommend this wine
"An amazing wine, really concentrated with complex flavours of raisin and treacle, has a great depth of flavour and a long finish."
"To put it quite simply, you will not find anything better to accompany your Christmas pudding."
"Delicious. Tried this as a result of a Financial Times weekend supplement magazine recommendation."
midweekwines.co.uk 13th Mar 2019
"Dessert wines can be
one dimensional unless they include mitigating acidity. Happily, this
Australian example does so yet still offers a density reminiscent perhaps of PX
Enjoy, though, the deep, dark (yet perfumed) richness of [this wine] reflected
nicely in its very sweet date and fig flavours and the suggestions of mocha and
honey that accompany them. - Brian Elliott"
The Evening Standard 24th Dec 2018
"This is Christmas in
a glass – full of sweet spice, raisin, fruit, coffee and nut flavours, all
wrapped up in brown sugar. What’s not to like?"
IWSC 19th Dec 2018
"Christmas pud? Mince
pies? Look no further than this glorious Muscat made from an average of
12-year-old wines, with delicious lightness aromatically, with leafy notes but
fabulous full richness (over 270g/l of residual sugar) on the palate. Viscous
and filled with sweet, dark and chocolaty flavours with that raisin
lusciousness and good supporting acidity, this will take all sweet things
Christmassy in its stride. - Tom Cannavan"
Decanter 28th Jun 2017
"Decanter Gold 2017:
Complex nose of roasted coffee, hazelnut, candied peel and macerated cherries.
The sweetness is very prominent but in attractive balance with the appealing
savoury-sweet caramel flavours."
Scottish Field 5th Apr 2017
"'Unique' is a word
that's overused in the drinks industry, but there's no other wine like
Rutherglen Muscat. The grapes are left on the vine to shrivel up, concentrating
the remaining sugars. A very short fermentation leaves tons of sweetness,
before the wines are left in oak barrels to mature in the Australian heat. The
result is an ideal match for a sticky toffee pudding, with rich syrupy treacle,
cinder toffee and caramel flavours. - Peter Ranscombe"
Scottish Field 7th Nov 2016
"No one does
'stickies' like the Australians. This fortified wine is chock full of treacle,
coffee and dried fruit flavours, making it an ideal match for either Christmas
pudding or Christmas cake if you're looking for sweetness with the volume
turned up. - Peter Ranscombe"
Kent & Sussex Courier 26th Mar 2015
complex dessert fortified wine… liquid fruitcake… There is a cornucopia of
aromas and flavours here, including liqueured raisings, melted toffee and
tinges of honeysuckle, dried fruit cake, marmalade and treacle. The strata of
flavours are myriad, truly something that all winelovers should experience at
least once in their lives, with distinctive rancio and cut to the protracted
finish. Very sweet, crisp, rich and viscous, it's a spectacular sticky delight
and one of Australia's wine treasures. Scrumptious served lightly chilled with
Roquefort, rich chocolate tarts and dark and milk chocolate, half a bottle of
this ingenious and super-concentrated wine really goes a long way. - James Viner"
Wine-pages.com 4th Dec 2014
"This is a glorious
Muscat made from an average of 12-year-old wines, with delicious lift and
lightness aromatically, quite different from their neighbours, Campbells, with
its leafier notes, but fabulous full richness (over 270g/l of residual sugar).
Viscous and filled with sweet, dark and chocolaty flavours with that raisin
lusciousness and good supporting acidity, this will take Christmas pud in its
stride. 93/100 - Tom Cannavan"
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The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
We always include the abv (alcohol by volume) in our wines online, in our Lists and in our offers. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
It is generally accepted that over the last 20 years or so alcohol levels in wine have been increasing. There are many reasons why, including but not limited to the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most strip the flavour as well as the alcohol, and we don't buy wines made in this way.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Our tasting notes should be able to give you an idea of the style and fullness of an individual wine.
We are committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows you to make your own informed choices.
An additional figure used on some labels (including all our Society and Exhibition wines) is the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content (so a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units ).
For more information, please get in touch with us or visit drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork. As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years. Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
If the product page says:
...then our advice would be:
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Ready to drink now but will keep until the year shown.
We recommend keeping longer before opening. For example, a wine will be ready to drink in 2020 but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
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For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.