"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.
We asked wine educator and author Clare Burder (The Humble Tumbler & Vintuition) to share her tips on how to get the most out of cellar door visits. And Clare should know: In the last year alone she has visited 11 Australian wine regions, as well as international wine destinations as diverse as Central Otago, Napa and Stellenbosch. Check out Clare’s hot tips below...
Cellar Doors are a magnificent tradition in Australia, which might be considered the windows to the soul of any wine region. It’s a privilege to be able to visit a producer and taste their wines, meet the people and experience their winemaking approach and way of life. There are more than 1,200 cellar doors in Australia, so there’s almost no end to places to visit, and you just never know what gems you’ll discover.
TIP 1: Plan, plan, plan – but leave room for local recommendations!
Before I go I do loads of research, whether it be Gourmet Traveller Wine mag, a social media call-out for recommendations or other peer review sites like TripAdvisor. When I arrive in a wine region, my general approach is to start at a notable cellar door and then ask them for the local gems – I find that a personal recommendation is worth more than any guide. Secondly, I generally aim for three to five venues per day, maximum – being in a hurry defeats the purpose; I’d much prefer to amble along with the locals and enjoy the scenery.
TIP 2: Make appointments
Some of the most incredible experiences I’ve had have been at wineries that only open by appointment. This enables you to get up close to the producer, giving you a richer experience and time to really explore their wines and their approach to winemaking. In recognition of this generosity of time, I personally think there is an (unspoken) obligation to buy when you’ve made an appointment – even if it’s just a bottle to show to your appreciation.
TIP 3: It can pay to pay
Many producers now offer both a free tasting and a paid option. I always try the paid option as it’s almost guaranteed to be something memorable – whether it be older releases, some inventive food or cheese matching, or just the chance to taste the premium range.
TIP 4: Ask questions!
All of those things you’ve always wondered about wine can probably be explained at the cellar door, so go forth and ask all the questions. It is, after all, the point of visiting a winery… you never know what you might learn – and most cellar door staff love questions and conversation!
And a few more things:
Vintage at Scion is off to a (wonderfully) slow start! Thanks to a wet winter/spring, cool nights and only a handful of really hot days, vintage is very slowly unfolding. This generally makes for excellent sugar/flavour balance in harvested fruit. With additional ‘hang time’ for grapes on the vine, we're expecting good complexity and flavour intensity. Our bird nets are on, vines have a generous leaf canopy and are well set-up for the long haul.
This season reminds us of 2006, which saw Durif harvested in early April and just so happens to be one of my favourite wines. Being a full 25 days behind the harvest of 2016, we have only hand-picked Orange Muscat so far. This fruit is showing vibrant citrus characters along with hallmark orange blossom aroma.
Cheers from Winemaker Rowly!