"Treasure in the soil

When Rutherglen fortified wines age, they look like syrup in the glass - golden syrup, liquid toffee, molasses. They perfume the air with caramel, dried fruits and honey, with some surprisingly fresh floral notes as well.

In April this year, producers from Rutherglen held a tasting at All Saints Estate of some of their rarest and oldest wines. These were the finest examples of the fortified wines that once represented 80% of Australia's consumption (...).

'It's important to remember what the classification does and doesn't do' explains Dan Crane, winemaker at All Saints Estate. 'What it doesn't do is tell us how much we can charge, or the bottle format. You can have additional names on top.' (...) Crane says the classification does outline the kind of characters each level should have. (...) As for how they're made, Crane says that some wineries work on a strict solera system and some work with a modified solera system. 'It's all to do with style.' He adds that the group does a regular classification tasting between themselves, to ensure that the classification is being maintained stylistically. 'It's self policing' he says. 'There should be daylight between the youngest-looking Classic and the oldest Grand."

Meininger's Wine Business International, Felicity Carter, September 2013

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