Discover Rutherglen Stickies #WorldWineTravel

This World Wine Travel Writer loves a glass of Rutherglen Tokay by the fire

World Wine Travel Writers Share Australia Bits and Pieces
As we prepare to jump from Australia over to New Zealand, we wanted to give our World Wine Travel writers a chance to highlight one more wine from Australia, be it a favorite, a wine from Tasmania, a fortified or sparkling wine. You might even see a preview of a wine from New Zealand. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of links to fellow writers’ posts.

A fire is a perfect pairing for Rutherglen Stickies

Fortified Wines from Rutherglen
I was smitten by the sweet fortified wines of Rutherglen in my WSET Diploma unit on fortified wines. Rutherglen wines go through quite the process from grape to glass. There are two primary grapes in use: Muscat à Petits Grains Rouges, a red grape mutation of the familiar grape used in Italy for Moscato. The second grape is Muscadelle, also seen as a minor blending grape in Sauternes. These grapes are very aromatic and retain their acidity even when very ripe, making them ideal for fortified wines.

Rutherglen has warm daytimes with cool evenings and enjoys a long, dry autumn. The grapes are allowed to hang on the vine until the grapes start to shrivel to concentrate sugars. In winemaking, fermentation is stopped by the addition of a very pure neutral spirit after the must has only reached a one to two percent alcohol. It’s almost fortified grape juice! The wine is aged in barrels in the warm attics of wineries, even under tin roofs. During aging, the wine travels through a modified solera system a bit like that used in Spain for Sherry. The aging process is responsible for many of the aromas and flavors and much of the complexity of the finished wine.

Campbell’s Wines
John Campbell left Scotland for Australia to dig for gold. Along the way, he found more fortune in digging grapevines and Campbell’s Wines was born in 1870. Today they grow grapes and make a wide variety of wines, with their Rutherglen sweet fortified “stickies” one of their trademarks.

The beautiful color of Rutherglen Tokay (now Topaque)

Campbell’s Rutherglen Tokay ($19 at for a 375ml half-bottle) 17% abv
Rutherglen Tokay has been renamed as Rutherglen Topaque after some complaints from Tokaij producers in Hungary. Rutherglen Tokay (Topaque) is produced from the Muscadelle grape.
Eye: Medium amber
Nose: pronounced intensity aromas of ripe apricots, orange peel, tangerine peel, caramel, almonds, vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger
Mouth: Intensely sweet, high acidity hiding under the sweetness, full unctuous body, velvety texture, medium alcohol (for fortified), pronounced flavor intensity, long finish. Flavors follow the nose with ripe apricots, vanilla, almonds, ginger in the forefront.
Observations: Outstanding sweet fortified wine. It’s not for everybody, but if you enjoy an intensely flavored sweet wine after dinner, you will be impressed. I generally prefer it all by itself, though you could pair it with nuts, cheese, or a lightly sweet fruit or cream based dessert. For me, it is dessert all by itself.

Posts from Fellow World Wine Travel Writers
Take a look below at all the great posts from fellow World Wine Travel writers. You’re sure to find something interesting to try! Want to know more or do you have something to share? Please join our chat on Saturday, August 27 from 10-11AM CDT at #WorldWineTravel on twitter.

• Lori is tasting “Tasmanian Sparkling and Egg Rolls” at Exploring the Wine Glass

• Camilla is showcasing “Tasmania + Hawaii: Celebrating with an Island Wine and Island Eats” at Culinary Adventures with Camilla 

• Jeff shares how we can “Discover Rutherglen Stickies” at Food Wine Click!

• Robin is pairing “Sparkling Wine from Jansz Tasmania and a Tassie-inspired seafood curry pie” at Crushed Grape Chronicles

• Kat has a “Surprise!  South Australia Pét-Nat is on the Rise” at The Corkscrew Concierge

• Susannah is featuring “Tasmanian Chardonnay” at Avvinare

• Deanna is popping an “Australian Sparkling Wine from Deviation Road” at Wineivore

• Linda is having “Sparkling Aussie Shiraz as summer draws to a close” at My Full Wine Glass

• Nicole is pouring “Bubbles from Way Down Under: Jansz Premium Cuvée Brut from Tasmania with Lobster Tartines” at Somm’s Table


10 Responses to “Discover Rutherglen Stickies #WorldWineTravel”
  1. I have a bottle of Yalumba Muscat Museum Reserve (South Eastern Australia) I intended to open for this event, but the week got away from me. Your wine sounds amazing!

  2. robincgc says:

    The view, the fire, the stickie…what a magnificent evening you had! I have not had a Rutherglen stickie, and it is on my list.

    I feel Australia is a little behind the rest of the wine world, still using names from other regions. We saw so much “Prosecco” when we visited.

  3. The stickies, the fire, the lake. Sign me up!

  4. Kat Rene says:

    This setting is everything! It’s been a while, but you’ve reminded me how much I enjoy these wines.

  5. Kat René says:

    This setting is everything! It’s been a while, but you’ve reminded me how much I enjoy these wines.

  6. Love the pic of you enjoying the wine by the fire. Seems idyllic! I love good dessert wines, so very happy to read this share. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of these.

  7. Deanna says:

    I will take some fortified grape juice! I had seen a few Australian sweet wines on the shelves but was nervous about trying them, but you have my interest piqued now. Now I’ll have to find some Topaque!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] shares how we can Discover Rutherglen Stickies at Food Wine […]

  2. […] shares how we can “Discover Rutherglen Stickies” at Food Wine […]

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