Wine Articles --> Australian Stickies
Over the top dessert wines
Australian "Stickies" The wines of R.L. Buller & Son 97 Point & 100 Point Muscats!
Australians love to end a meal with dessert wines they call "stickies." And, we just took delivery on some of the finest. But first, here's a little background on what a stickie is...
Everything the Aussies do seems to be just a little over-the-top. Bigger and riper have been the byword for most of their red wines. So, when they make dessert wines, one method is just is not enough, they need all three! The "Stickies," Liqueur Muscat and liqueur Tokay, are hybrids that combine all three techniques typically used to make dessert wines. First, they late harvest, allowing them to shrivel in the warm, dry climate, a little like the Germans do with their Trockenbeerenauslese. Then, they fortify them with alcohol to arrest the fermentation process, leaving substantial residual sugar and alcohol levels in the 18% to 20% range, like the Portugese do with Port. And finally, they use the solaera aging system used for Sherry in Spain. The resulting wine kind of has it all... the sweetness of a late harvest, the high alcohol of a port and the nutty complexity of an aged sherry. A little excessive? These are not dessert wines for the timid of palate!
If you are not familiar with the solara method, it combines the older oxidative wines with the younger fresher ones. It is a system of fractional blending, in which a specific amount of wine is drawn off the oldest casks and is replaced systematically with wine from the next oldest casks and so on throughout the entire system. Each year, a portion of the new harvest is added and the batches are blended. Often as many as 15 to 20 vintages are included in the blend. This results in complex, unctuous wines filled with flavors and aromas of dried fruits and nuts that almost defy description.
The finest of these stickies are made in tiny quantities by a number of small producers in the Rutherglen region of Victoria in Southeastern Australia. And, one of the best producers is R.L. Buller & Son. After years of making the stickies for wine giant Yalumba, the Bullers have begun producing under their own name. You may have tried some of his wines under the Yalumba Antique Tawny or Museum Release Muscat labels that have received consistent 90 to 97 point scores in the wine press. Robert Parker reviewed these wines first in October of 2002 and again in August of 2003 and gave them an almost unbelievable string of 90 to 100 point scores. So, for the first time in Indiana, here they are...
R L Buller Calliope Rare Muscat Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia $89 What the Wine Critics Thought: Wine Advocate 100 Points Pure perfection, the Calliope Rare Muscat boasts a deep, dark amber color as well as layers of flavor and constantly changing aromatics of brown sugar, fig, molasses, and Lord knows what else. An amber colored nectar with extraordinary perfumes, incredible richness, and a finish that lingers on the palate, seemingly forever. It is an extraordinary beverage. These Australian treasures are fabulous to drink at the end of a meal. Moreover, once opened, they will hold for several weeks, sometimes longer. 150 cases made 8/2003 (I only have 18 bottles and am trying to get more - one per customer please) R L Buller Premium Fine Muscat Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia $16 What the Wine Critics Thought: Wine Advocate 97 Points A nearly flawless Muscat with a deep amber color. Fabulously perfumed and unctuously textured, it offers incredible notes of prune, honey, molasses, roasted nuts, etc., etc., etc. The average age of this cuvee is approximately 10 to 15 years. 2000 cases made. 10/2002 R L Buller Premium Fine Tokay Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia $16 What the Wine Critics Thought: Wine Advocate 92 Points The medium garnet-colored non-vintage Premium Fine Tokay is a knock-out, revealing smoky, spicy, nutty notes intermixed with caramel and marmalade characteristics. These Australian treasures are fabulous to drink at the end of a meal. Moreover, once opened, they will hold for several weeks, sometimes longer. 2000 Cases made. 8/2004 February 18, 2004
July 30, 2008