"The '15 season was clearly a watershed for Scion and its Durif"
Our elegant reds have just landed in the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion with 94 - 96 points! Below are the reviews re-published in full.
Scion Durif Viognier 2015 - 96 points
Winemaker Rowly Milhinch grows powerful durif but his grand goal is to give it an elegant turn. Here he hits pay dirt. This release boasts a churning complexity: deep, dark fruit, smoky peppery notes and firm but ultra-fine tannin. It will keep the faithful fans of Rutherglen Durif happy and also help win over a new audience; it takes muscular fruit and lands it softly on the palate. This is the wine that Scion has been striving for.
Scion Durif 2015 - 94 points
A fine mesh of tannin is woven through deep, dark fruit; chocolate, blackberry, kirsch and iodine flavours the most obvious. The '15 season was clearly a watershed for Scion and its durif; this wine is clean, powerful, immaculately well balanced and - ultimately - authoritative. Tannin here is al dente and so the wine can be enjoyed now, but it will respond well to the passage of time.
Scion Syrah 2016 - 94 points
It's mostly made with fruit grown on the rejuvenated Terravinia Vineyard, located in the Gooramadda district, 9km northeast of Scion at Rutherglen. It saw 10% stalks, 1% viognier and 20% new French oak. It combines elegance and power, its dark tar-laden, blackberried fruit studded with spice, wood smoke, rust and saltbush notes. There's plenty going on and yet it works simply as a mouthful of flavour, too. Viognier shows on the finish more than it does on the nose; it sends the wine merrily on its way.
Why do we call Scion’s Shiraz by the varietal’s French name, Syrah? Because everything sounds sexier in French, right? While you may agree with this sentiment, it’s actually all to do with the style of wine we make from this popular varietal.
There is no difference between the grape varieties Shiraz and Syrah – they are the same thing. The wonder of Shiraz/Syrah is that it can be crafted into many different styles – and therefore tastes. This is dependent on location, climate, soil and winemaking.
In Australia it’s generally accepted that Syrah is lighter, more elegant and much finer structure and style, whereas Shiraz is typically richer, bolder, deeper and darker.
Wine commentator Clare Burder explains in her book TIPSY (2015):
“Que Syrah, Syrah... In its homeland in France (mainly the Rhone Valley), Shiraz is called ‘Syrah’, and it’s typically made into medium- (sometimes full-) bodied, dense, elegant and fragrant wines. In Australia, we tend to make bolder, riper wines and call them Shiraz. Both are wonderful! There is, however, a movement of Australian producers making French-style wines and calling them ‘Syrah’ to identify that they are different to the traditional bold style. They might be softer, spicier and less ripe…”
We love how writer Christine Austin personifies Shiraz/Syrah in an article published in the Yorkshire Post (15 March 2017):
“I like to think of this grape as two distinct personalities. While Shiraz is the chap you might find leaning up against a bar in the local pub, somewhat loud, brash and full of character, you will find Syrah dining in a restaurant, still with bags of personality, but he takes some time to get to know. Winemakers around the world decide whether their wine is the guy in the bar or the one in the restaurant depending on the style of the wine they have made. I like both, depending on my mood and the occasion. “
Try our local spin on the classic Negroni cocktail, featuring After Dark (Scion's semi-sweet fortified Durif) + small-batch gin.
We're loving ours with Death Gin, a refreshing small-batch gin conceived in Rutherglen!
All you'll need to complete this cocktail is a bottle of Aperol, available at most bottle shops... or in the back of your drinks cupboard!
Mix 30ml After Dark + 30ml Gin + 30ml Aperol over ice and garnish with a wedge of orange.
It's the perfect aperitif cocktail, best enjoyed with a bowl of local kalamata olives!
Creamy desserts and citrus flavours pair beautifully with Scion Muscat Nouveau. One of the most memorable dishes we've eaten with our single vintage muscats has to be the Crema Catalana at Melbourne's Anada restaurant - Spain's glorious answer to Creme Brulee, spiced with citrus peel and cinnamon. The team was kind enough to share their recipe after Winemaker Rowly ordered a second serve!
Image credit: Australian Gourmet Traveller
Anada's Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana is traditionally prepared in a cazuela, a clay ovenproof dish (available at Spanish delicatessens and good kitchen stores). Otherwise wide ramekins will do the trick!
Start this recipe the day before or in the morning.
750 ml (3 cups) pouring cream
250 ml (1 cup) milk
finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 cinnamon quill
9 egg yolks
175gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
Preheat oven to 160C. Combine cream, milk, rinds and cinnamon in a saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer to infuse (15 minutes). Strain (discard solids) and keep warm.
Whisk yolks and sugar in a large bowl to combine well. Gradually whisk in one third of cream mixture, then remaining mixture, and pour into a clean saucepan. Stir continuously over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (5-7 minutes).
Divide among six 200ml-capacity ramekins, place in a large roasting tray lined with a tea towel, pour in enough hot water to come halfway up sides of the ramekins, bake until custard just sets (35-40 minutes). Remove from pan, cool to room temperature, refrigerate until chilled and set (minimum 6 hours to overnight).
Remove ramekins from fridge, scatter an even layer of sugar over each Crema Catalana, caramelise with a blowtorch (you can pick these up at Bunnings!) or under a preheated grill and serve.
When we’re not behind the Cellar Door, we love going on food adventures in our region! Winemaker Rowly was even featured in a Delicious magazine article last year, talking about some of our favourite Rutherglen haunts (click through the image gallery to read the article).
But wait, there's more! If you haven’t already checked out these new-ish spots below, we recommend adding them to your next North East Vic itinerary.
CELLAR DOORS & DISTILLERIES
James & Co Wines Cellar Door in Rutherglen
James & Co Wines (Rutherglen)
The super lovely and talented Ricky and Georgie of James & Co. Wines have opened a Cellar Door in the Main Street of Rutherglen. It’s a welcoming, contemporary space and we must say we’re just a touch partial to their new Sparkling Rosé! Drop in for a tasting or a glass of wine and a choose-your-own-adventure cheese and charcuterie board.
Rutherglen Estates Cellar Door & Gallery (Rutherglen)
These are exciting times for wine and art lovers in Rutherglen! Rutherglen Estates has a brand spanking new Cellar Door and Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery in their iconic 1880s winery complex. The project was a collaboration between the winery and major Aboriginal arts collector Hans Sip, and the result is beautiful.
Andrew Buller Wines (Rutherglen)
Another of Rutherglen’s newest boutique wineries is Andrew Buller Wines at the historic Cannobie Estate, owned and operated by third-gen winemaker Andrew Buller. Taste their range of sparkling, whites, reds and fortifieds made from estate-grown fruit at their Cellar Door set among majestic shade trees.
Reed & Co Distillery (Bright)
Rachel Reed and Hamish Nugent (formerly of hatted restaurant Tani Eat & Drink) have opened an artisan gin distillery in Bright, where they make Remedy Gin (a dry gin influenced by their landscape, flavoured with mountain pepper, eucalyptus and fresh pine needles, among other botanicals). While you're there enjoy Victorian meats cooked over the grill and other seasonally-inspired food from their custom-built oven. Local coffee roasters Sixpence Coffee operate from the same space.
Brunch at Beechworth's Press Room Wine Bar
Zest Studio (Rutherglen)
This main street cake and dessert studio has expanded their menu offering to include a wider selection of savoury and sweet breakfast and lunch items to enjoy in the shop, main street courtyard or takeaway. Be warned their croissants are slightly addictive!
Lake Moodemere Estate (Rutherglen)
Not new as such but a summer favourite for the lakeside vantage point and lovely hosts Belinda and Michael Chambers! Go for lip-smacking estate-grown lamb (we can't go past it!), casual platters and the majestic location. The seasonal menu also features their own heritage citrus, honey and free-range eggs.
St Leonards Vineyard (Rutherglen)
St Leonards’ café is now open every weekend with a delicious menu designed by Terrace Restaurant chef Simon Arkless. We love the relaxed vineyard setting down by the Murray River.
Press Room Wine Bar (Beechworth)
As well as their popular evening tapas, Press Room is now offering a brunch menu, packed with regional produce and regionally roasted Honeybird Coffee! Grab a streetside perch.
Republic Cafe at the Old Beechworth Gaol (Beechworth)
A community consortium purchased the Old Beechworth Gaol in 2016 and a new café has opened in the front courtyard, serving regionally roasted Sixpence coffee, a selection of cakes and simple lunch options from a 1967 Airstream Caravan. Time your visit with a morning tour of this fascinating piece of history.
As a light and fresh style of Muscat, we serve Scion's Muscat Nouveau chilled.
Our Muscat is also great mixed in cocktails. Here are some recipes you might like to try at home with our Muscat Nouveau (or Rose Muscat from previous vintages would also do the trick).
MUSCAT NOUVEAU SPRITZ
The beauty of this cocktail is its simplicity, which means the varietal flavours of the Muscat still shine through. The lime's acidity cuts through the natural sweetness. Refreshing!
90ml Scion Muscat Nouveau per serve
MUSCAT NOUVEAU & STRAWBERRY FIZZ
With some beautiful strawberry farms on our doorstep in North East Victoria, we were inspired by the classic combination of rose water and strawberry for this cocktail. It's easiest to make this cocktail as a batch - this recipe makes about 6 cocktails.
1 x 500ml bottle of Muscat Nouveau
2 tsp caster sugar
Monster Kitchen & Bar at Canberra's Hotel Hotel kindly supplied this recipe, which their bartender created for a Rutherglen Muscat Mixology event at their venue. If you don't have any apricot liqueur hanging around in your cupboard, we suggest just adding an extra splash of Muscat Nouveau.
30ml Scion Muscat Nouveau
20ml apricot liqueur (Monster recommends Vedrenne brand)
15ml freshly pressed lemon juice
prosecco for topping up
basil sprig for garnish
If you’re planning a trip to Rutherglen soon, here are some boutique accommodation spots we love!
MOUNT OPHIR ESTATE
A short drive out of town, Mount Ophir Estate was established in 1891 as a winery and farm. Its iconic buildings are being lovingly restored into accommodation and private event spaces by the Brown siblings (All Saints Estate & St Leonards Vineyard).
There are six accommodation options on the estate, with five now bookable.
Fancy staying in a luxury French provincial tower and immersing yourself in a unique architectural landmark in Australian winemaking history? Originally built in 1903, the recently renovated Tower is the perfect indulgence for couples visiting Rutherglen.
The Pickers Cottage
Built for the original workers on the estate, this large cottage can sleep twenty people comfortably. The house has six bedrooms and six ensuites, as well as a large living area and new kitchen.
The original estate homestead enjoys views across the stunning Rutherglen plains and features a fully equipped country 'entertainers' kitchen, large lounge and dining room. The house accommodates up to ten people in five bedrooms.
The Winemakers Cottage
An intimate and cosy cottage with a loft bedroom and views looking out onto the orchard.
A four-bedroom townhouse with stylish interiors situated on the southern side of the estate.
We love our bush camping, but this new glamping experience on site at Cofield Wines sounds like a beautiful way to experience a working vineyard in a picturesque rural setting. Choose from two bell tents fully furnished with king size beds. The experience is a partnership with The Pickled Sisters Café, so you can expect delicious breakfast hampers and optional dinner hampers/platters as part of your stay.
Photo credit: @departmentofwandering
Find out more about Grapevine Glamping.
Located a short drive from Rutherglen in Corowa, this luxury boutique hotel and day spa is housed within the historic art deco environs of the former Rural Bank of NSW. There are three luxurious suites featuring designer furniture and art pieces, super attentive service in a relaxed and refined atmosphere PLUS a luxurious Asian-inspired day spa. Guests have a spa credit included in their tariff but non-guests can also book treatments.
Find out more about Circa 1936.
MOODEMERE LAKE HOUSE
Situated on Lake Moodemere Estate, a working vineyard and farm, this self-contained guest house has uninterrupted, private views of Lake Moodemere. Abundant bird species and native wildlife are regular visitors to the property, and the sunsets are incredible! Provisions for a cooked and continental breakfast with estate-grown and made preserves are included. Super lovely owners Belinda & Michael Chambers also rear their own lambs, so make sure to leave space to enjoy the lamb lunch special at their on-site cafe!
LA MAISON ST ARNAUD
A boutique, traditional B&B in the Rutherglen township with two beautiful suites to choose from. Warm and welcoming host Kellie-Anne cooks a delicious gourmet breakfast for guests. With lovely views out to the ranges from the rear of the property, the house is not far from Main Street amenities. As a bonus, this B&B is pet friendly!
If bed and breakfast accommodation is more your style, then check out Amberesque B&B, hosted by a fun and energetic couple Amber and Shannon! They’ve put their own touches on the historic property and Amber has a passion for cooking, with a repertoire that extends from French to Spanish to Melanesian! Prime location next door to our favourite wine bar, Thousand Pound, too!
THE WICKED VILLA
Part of the Wicked Virgin Olives property, The Wicked Villa offers quirky self-contained couple's accommodation in a repurposed 100-year-old Still House. With sweeping views down across the olive grove, the upstairs balcony offers stunning sunsets. A cheese platter and a fridge of breakfast goodies await your arrival.
You can browse more Rutherglen accommodation on region's destination website: www.explorerutherglen.com