Rusden Wines Pty Ltd:
In 1979 Christine and Dennis Canute purchased 40 acres of run-down vineyard in Vine Vale; white sand over red clay country in the heart of the Barossa. Grapes were not a precious commodity at the time, but the idea of a 'hobby farm', with room for the kids to run, seemed adventurous and was to become a serious labour of love. Dennis continued his profession as a teacher to provide the funds ... Read more
In 1979 Christine and Dennis Canute purchased 40 acres of run-down vineyard in Vine Vale; white sand over red clay country in the heart of the Barossa. Grapes were not a precious commodity at the time, but the idea of a 'hobby farm', with room for the kids to run, seemed adventurous and was to become a serious labour of love. Dennis continued his profession as a teacher to provide the funds for Chris(tine), a 5th generation Barossa grape grower, to slowly rejuvenate the old vineyard. As with many ventures, a few mistakes were made along the way including ripping out some very old Grenache, Mataro and Semillon bush vines (most of which were half buried in drift sand). Thankfully the old Shiraz and some old Grenache survived the tragic 'vine pull' of the early 80's. The Canute grapes were sold to local wineries. The 70's and 80's were tough times. The large companies used the Barossa as a blending ground for fruit from all over South Australia. Grape prices were laughable unless you were crying! Always believing in the quality of the fruit grown (and not being able to afford a decent bottle of red) Dennis, with friend Russell, decided to make a barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon for personal consumption and enjoyment. It was good enough to put a label on so the name RUSDEN (the shortened forms of Russell and Dennis) was born. That was 1992. In 1994 the home-made Shiraz was consumed with relish and the decision was made to carry out some serious 'research and development'. The attitude of the larger wineries to Barossa fruit (which was 'We'll grow the quality, you grow the quantity!') stiffened the resolve to prove that fruit grown on the Vine Vale sand could produce wine that had the capability of standing alone; not only as Barossa Valley wine, but as a single vineyard product. So in 1997, 5 second-hand barriques were purchased and experimentations with the varieties Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon began. The pressings and free run from the Cabernet and Shiraz were kept separate to note the different maturation processes of each wine in different styles of oak. Chris and Dennis' son, Christian, who was working at Rockford wines at the time, became an essential part of the team during this vintage. While working at Torbreck in 1998, Christian encountered Dan Phillips of 'The Grateful Palate'. Dan was a wine writer in the U.S. and a soon to be legendary importer of Australian wine to the States. Barrel samples of the 1996 Cabernet and 1997 Grenache, sent to the U.S., led to the sale of 11 cases and a review by Robert Parker Jr., which started the phones ringing. This brought about the inspiration to get stuck into the vineyard; at that time fully mechanized. The tedious but incredibly rewarding process of bringing back vines from their 'machine-deathbed' began, starting with the 40 year old Shiraz. Slowly the old vines were pruned back, block by block. Gradually the quantity of wine produced increased, but more importantly, the improvement in the vineyard led to the improving quality of the wine itself. In 1998, 7.5 tonnes were crushed and a white wine was made for the first time out of lowly Chenin Blanc, picked ripe and barrel aged. This was released in mid '99 and named 'Christian' as it was his 'baby'. 1999 saw a crush of 10 tonnes, including Zinfandel (from 40 year old grafted vines) and Mouvedre (good old Barossa Mataro). Though around half of the Canute vineyard crop is still sold to a local winery, we intend to steadily increase the amount of fruit used for the RUSDEN label. The current crush is around 60 tonnes a year for the RUSDEN label. All fruit is sourced from our own vineyard and all wine made on-site. RUSDEN is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery, determined to grow slowly and to produce only top quality hand-made wines. RUSDEN sells direct to independent bottle shops and restaurants in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Alice Springs and the Sunshine Coast (Australia) and also exports to 8 overseas destinations. Our mail order list is steadily growing and we value the opportunity to meet and get to know everyone interested in what goes on with the wine, and behind the scenes. Newsletters come out once a year to mail order customers. The present range of RUSDEN wines includes: Black Guts Shiraz, Christine's Vineyard Grenache, Boundaries Cabernet Sauvignon, Chookshed Zinfandel, Full Circle Mataro, Christian Chenin Blanc, Ripper Creek Cabernet / Shiraz blend and Driftsand Grenache / Mataro / Shiraz blend. All of these wines are released in September / October of each year. Read less
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Food Pairings for Rusden Zinfandel Shookshed
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