Rusden Wines: full-flavoured, traditional wines from the Barossa Valley
In 1979, Christine, a 6th generation Barossa grape wine grower, and her husband Dennis, purchased 40 acres of run-down vineyard on the white sand over clay country in the heart of the Barossa. The idea was just to buy a ‘hobby farm’, but the rest is pretty much history. In 1992, a Cabernet Sauvignon experiment led to the first barrel and name Rusden (the shortened forms of Russell and Dennis).
With an annual crush now of 80 to 100 tonnes, Rusden are still traditionalists. They aim to make wines that harness the power of Barossa fruit, yet highlight the floral aromatics and spice characters so evident in wines produced from grapes grown in sandy soil. All grapes are sourced from their own vineyard and all wines are hand-made completely on-site. This gives their wines a unique character with balance and structure – fruit-driven, with unique flavours, everything is made and grown the same way in the same soil. Rusden is a “vigneron” in the true sense of the word – they grow the grapes, make and bottle the wine and sell the wine themselves.
The real focus at Rusden, which you will learn during a cellar door visit, is their red wines – the predominant grapes for the quality wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro and of course Shiraz. All of their wines are full-flavoured, but not overly rich, with a good level of acidity. Whilst visiting, we highly recommend sampling a few of our favourites!
The 2019 Chookshed Zinfandel has a full-flavoured and complex mix of red fruits, dried peach and sweet tobacco notes. Zinfandel is a variety of black-skinned wine grape most often found in California, USA. Rusden’s Zinfandel vines are some of the oldest around, grafted from some neighbours cuttings from the early ’70s!
The 2019 Ripper Creek Shiraz/Cabernet is a traditional blend from the ’60s and ’70s. They have blended these two varieties together after open fermentation, basket pressing and ageing in old casks in the family winery – just like they were made back then. With an old school flavour, expect rich fruit characters of blackberry, plum, some liquorice and spice, with a cedar oak finish.
Finally, Rusden’s most celebrated wine, the 2018 Black Guts Shiraz is deep but refined, with notes of black cherries, liquorice, dark chocolate and spice. Beautifully balanced to drink now, but pop it away in your cellar for the next 10 years, and you will be duly rewarded!
Rusden wines really take a minimalist approach to winemaking, which results in an honest representation of the variety. They really do make new world wine made in an old school style, which produces a fruit-driven wine with dimension, character and balance. Bums on Seats Adelaide offers group and private tours, which can include a visit to Rusden – their cellar door is open Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday). For tour bookings, check out our Adelaide winery tour options, or flick us an email for a more personalised tour.