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Gloriously rich, lusciously sweet fortified Australian muscat – a style that exists nowhere else in the world. 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.
Product Code: AU10522A
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.
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The Simple Things 1st Mar 2020
"[Matching a recipe
for rhubarb jelly and custard] The rhubarb's sharpness is cushioned by the
custard - a great combo. This dessert wine is sweet and rich, so won't be
dominated by the jelly's tartness, while the honeyed side of this wine adds to
the texture, making for a wonderful melding of textures in the mouth. "
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