Rusden Wines – A Drop to RememberRecently a neighbour of mine had a party. One lady brought wine from her dad’s vineyard, with no label. She found out that I was a wine guy, so she asked me to taste it and see what I thought.
Now you can believe me or not, but I tasted the wine and immediately knew who the winemaker was – Christian Canute of Rusden Wines. I asked her if he’d made the wine and as it turns out I was right.
I tell this story partially to blow my own horn, because it was pretty bloody cool to be able to pick the winemaker just from the flavour. But I’ll come clean here – I’d never be able to do this with another winemaker. Christian makes a very particular style of wine, and it’s a style I know well because I love it.
I’m not alone. When I worked in retail, a customer came in on Father’s Day to buy something for his dad. I sold him a bottle of Rusden ‘Ripper Creek’ (their Shiraz/Cabernet blend, $30 direct). An hour or so later, the dad came into the shop holding the empty bottle, raving about it, and bought
three dozen on the spot. And an ex-colleague described them as the best wines he tasted all year.
These wines are magnificent, and they’ve also been reduced in price a bit over the last few years. Plus, if you get on their mailing list (go to www.rusdenwines.com.au) you’ll be emailed specials from time to time.
The ‘Ripper Creek’, mentioned above, is their signature Shiraz/ Cabernet. A typical Australian blend, it is also made in the typical Rusden style, with a unique ele- ment to it that jumped out at me at that party. If you want to see if Rusden Wines will be your thing, this is definitely the drop to start with.
That said, the one that I have a special relationship with is the ‘Chookshed’ ($49). It is the wine I chose to celebrate my 30th birthday. It’s made from a grape named Zinfandel. Most people don’t know this grape, but if you do, you’ll probably be thinking of American sweet rosés. This is nothing like that. This wine is big, thick, rich and complex, with notable hints of vanilla, cedar and spices. If you like your big reds, this will knock your socks off.
And then there are a bunch of other interesting reds – a Malbec (‘Good Shepherd’, $38), a Grenache (‘Christine’s Vineyard’, $49) and even a Mataro (‘Full Circle’, $49). Move up from there and you hit the ‘Boundaries’ Cabernet ($65) and the ‘Black Guts’ Shiraz ($85), along with the super premium ‘Sandscrub’ ($390 per bottle). All are stunning. Make sure you mix up a range of wines when you buy.
And don’t forget the other end of the scale. The ‘Driftsand’ Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro ($22) is perfect for everyday drinking with that unmissable Rusden style, and you’ll even find a white called the ‘Christian’ (Chenin Blanc, $28), which is an incredibly textural wine that I can never get enough of.
So do yourself a favour and order half a dozen mixed Rusden drops. They are quite the experience – unforgettable, you might say.