Rutherglen is famous for fortifieds that take decades to perfect. But there are also many table wines to appreciate, such as shiraz and durif, writes Jane Faulkner.
Campbells Classic Topaque $42
CLASSIC topaque is amber coloured making this very enticing, but that's only part of its allure. It's also full of citrus nuances (fresh mandarin, candied orange and zest), spicy and fragrant with topaque's distinct character - cold, strong, black tea. Perhaps that's why I enjoy drinking topaque in the afternoon with cake and tea. Tastes of raisins soaked in toffee-sugar syrup but not at all mawkish, with a silky luscious palate. Partners well with hard cheeses, but try serving it slightly chilled with sponge or madeira cake. Once open, drink within a few months, if it lasts that long.
Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat $124
THE Merchant Prince is one of the most complex wines and by extension so too is its sibling, the topaque Isabella. Both are jewels in the Australian wine crown. Merchant Prince is a gorgeous molasses colour with an olive-green hue that glugs into the glass with such viscosity, it's awesome. Gloriously syrupy, intricate yet intense just like a prize-winning CWA fruitcake plump with raisins, currants and nuts yet exquisitely balanced and harmonious. This wine is close to perfection. It is so complete it needs no partner.
Campbells 1870 NV Sparkling Shiraz $66
TO celebrate 140 years of family winemaking, Campbells released this sparkling wine made from current and museum stock of the Bobbie Burns shiraz. Lovers of sparkling reds will be thrilled because it's deep and rich but incredibly fresh. Since the bead in sparkling shiraz dissipates quickly don't leave this lingering in the glass. There's plenty of mousse on the palate, it's earthy, a touch ferrous with plenty of structure, layered over spice and sweet leather notes. Not really one to put away. Get this while you can - it's a one-off.
Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz Rutherglen 2009 $23
THIS '09 marks the 40th vintage of Bobbie Burns shiraz and is on the cusp of release, though the terrific 2008 is still available. Expect a fresh red full of spice, sweet dark plum, blueberries and raspberries too, so plenty of tangy cleansing acidity alongside floral notes, and on the fuller side of medium bodied matched to supple tannins. Needs time for the oak to integrate, as it's somewhat raw, so put it away for a few years. While not overly complex, this Bobbie Burns will mellow nicely for at least 10 years. To drink now, decant for a couple of hours and enjoy with chargrilled T-bone.