After indulging in so many fine wines over Christmas, the challenge isn’t finding wines to write about but choosing which to spend time on! A particularly good small grower Champagne was tempting, but the best wine of the period was this one, a spectacularly lovely Rutherglen Muscat. The wine is so good, and the style so terminally daggy, I feel some Full Pour attention is deserved.
Those unfamiliar with the wide variation between house styles may be surprised to learn how different a wine this is from, say, the same grade of Muscat from Morris. Whereas the latter pursues a rich, treacled expression of the style, the Chambers wines are always at the light, delicate end of the spectrum. There is no sacrifice in intensity or complexity, however. These are just less full bodied styles, arguably allowing nuances of flavour to more clearly express themselves. Certainly, the Chambers Muscats and
Tokays Topaques Muscadelles are amongst my favourites of the region.
To the wine, then, this presents complex, floral aromas that surprise with their freshness and vivacity. Plum pudding, spice, fresh berries – the list of flavours goes on, and is less interesting than their tight integration and subtle expression. There’s just a lot going on here but, aside from its complexity, there does not at first seem much to differentiate the aroma from some of the lesser Muscats made with younger material.
It’s only on the palate that the wine’s quality becomes fully apparent. The nose’s complex flavours are articulated with utmost clarity and impressive impact, making sense of the aroma profile in retrospect while adding whole dimensions of interest. This has the thrust and drive of all the upper echelon Rutherglen fortifieds, but its charm lies in its transparency. This seems totally effortless; it simply unfolds in the mouth and does its impressive thing. No cloying sweetness, nor sticky mouthfeel, nor distracting alcohol, nor roughness. It might be the closest these wines come to elegance, and indeed that may be off putting to some. For me, it’s just one more reason to love both this house and the regional style.
At $50 or so for a half bottle, this isn’t cheap. But it’s several times cheaper than its Rare stablemate ($250 for 375mL) and about as good a wine as one could reasonably want.
Price: $A50 (375mL)