Like all great wine families, Campbells of Rutherglen starts with an adventure. Gold Fever brought John Campbell to Australia in 1857. But it was liquid gold – wine that kept him in Rutherglen.Campbells of Rutherglen like the other wineries in the Victorian North East prospered. By the 1880’s Rutherglen was producing approximately a third of Australia’s wine. Campbells won awards but the boom times were soon followed by Phylloxera (a root-sucking aphid) and production declined across the region.
John’s son David and daughter-in-law Isabella re-planted and re-built and the third generation saw the introduction of sheep during the Depression because of ‘valueless’ wine. Scottish persistence and dogged determination won through with Malcolm and Colin Campbell winning international awards and cementing the label’s reputation across the globe.
In 2009 Australia’s First Families of Wine was formed to respect the heritage and the provenance of the country’s historic family vineyards. Brown Brothers, d’Arenberg, De Bortoli, Henschke, Howard Park, Jim Barry, McWilliam’s, Tahbilk, Taylors, Tyrrell’s and Yalumba have a collective history of 1,380 years of winemaking.
As one of Australia’s First Families of Wine, Campbells is a perfect example of the essential ingredient to make great wine: family. Five generations of tradition and learning. Winemaker Colin Campbell and viticulturist Malcolm Campbell’s Rare Rutherglen Muscat, Merchant Prince was the first Aussie wine to be awarded a perfect score.
Known for their crisp whites and stunning reds, the Campbell brothers have consistently trialled new varieties that love this tiny pocket of north-eastern Victoria. Summer days are long and hot but cool nights come courtesy of the airflow from the Victorian Alps’ foothills. The long, dry autumns are perfect for the late-ripening varieties like Durif and Trebbiano to slowly develop and the Muscat and Topaque grapes to reach maximum complexity and flavour.
Campbells of Rutherglen make their history and the provenance of good winemaking available through their cellar door experiences and Back Vintage Wines. These stocks are released at the peak of development firstly to their Cellar Club Members and some at the cellar door and online.
In 2018, Campbells still make Rutherglen’s signature fortifieds – outstanding Topaques and Muscats as well as exceptional whites and reds. Their 2017 Rosé is so delightful it will outlast summer both on dinner tables and as a celebratory starter. Best served well chilled it holds up well against aromatic and spicy foods.
Winemaker Julie Campbell says the wine was inspired by their ‘treasured’ Sixties Block. The block includes some lesser known varietals including Touriga Nationale, Graciano, Lagrein, and Tannat. Not as pale as Provence Rosés and with a nose of strawberry it finishes long, crisp and dry.
Rutherglen Muscat is so unique it has its own classification. “The Muscats of Rutherglen are considered the ‘World’s Richest Wines’ and bear a mark of authenticity”. The oval logo with a stylised ‘R’ is only applied to the most outstanding wines drawn “from the great Muscat vineyards of the region”.
Everything that makes for a great Muscat is in this bottle. Starting with fresh fruit aromas, then richer fruit, the wine is complex with ‘licoriced’ raisins. Perfect with cheese and fruit after dinner or could be chilled as an aperitif. A little bit of Rutherglen sunshine in every bottle – guaranteed.