River­sands liqueur crowned grand champ

Balonne Beacon - - FRONT PAGE - Joshua Macree joshua.macree@west­ern­

RIVER­SANDS Win­ery in St Ge­orge is rais­ing a glass of its Golden Liqueur Mus­cat.

That’s be­cause the cel­e­brated wine has just picked up the gold medal at the 2018 Queens­land Wine Awards in Bris­bane.

The Golden Liqueuer, which took out the for­ti­fied wine cat­e­gory cov­er­ing ports, sher­ries and all forms of liqueurs, con­tin­ues a rich le­gacy for the River­sand Win­ery when it comes to pro­duc­ing for­ti­fied wine.

River­sands Owner, David Blacket said the award was made sweeter by the dif­fi­culty of the achieve­ment with Queens­land known for pro­duc­ing some out­stand­ing wines.

“It’s al­ways a thrill win­ning any award in­clud­ing this one – they don’t come easy,” he laughed.

“It con­firms the Balonne as a good area for grow­ing for­ti­fied wine which we’ve known for a long time but these awards are al­ways con­fir­ma­tion that we can still punch above our weight in the west, that a small win­ery of our size can still mix it with the big boys.”

As with most wine com­pe­ti­tions, the judges were given a blind tast­ing of each wine with the judges lik­ing the sweet­ness of the Golden Mus­cat.

Mr Blacket said the key to pro­duc­ing good wine and specif­i­cally the Golden Mus­cat, partly lied in the geo­graphic lo­ca­tion of the win­ery in south­west Queens­land, with heat play­ing a huge part in the over­all taste.

“With any for­ti­fied wine, the se­cret is to hang the fruit un­til it’s heav­ily raisoned,” he said.

“The Mus­cat is car­ries very con­cen­trated flavours and you need a lot of heat to do that and we cer­tainly get the heat out in the west which is why we can get good for­ti­fied wine.

“The heat does a great job of ripen­ing the fruit and can get re­ally high sugar lev­els so with the Golden Mus­cat, we let it hang right un­til the end of the sea­son so that when you try the fruit, it tastes just like raisins.

“That’s why when you try the wine, you got those rai­son flavours plus a hint of honey and ly­chee and a bit of but­ter­scotch flavours which come partly from the fruit and partly from the age­ing of the oak bar­rels.”

Mr Blacket said For­ti­fied wine could only be pro­duced in warmer re­gions – which was why the south­west had a rich le­gacy.

“You have to have a rea­son­ably warmer cli­mate that can get the fruit to

❝It con­firms the Balonne as a good area for grow­ing for­ti­fied wine. — River­sands Owner, David Blacket

pro­duce very highly con­cen­trated sugar lev­els which is why you won’t get for­ti­fieds from Tas­ma­nia or New Zealand - it is just too cold,” he said.

“You cer­tainly get plenty of warmth out here most years which is why Ro­mav­illa was renowned for for­ti­fied wine through its ports and liqueurs be­cause they shared sim­i­lar con­di­tions to us down here in St Ge­orge.”


GOOD DROP: English worker Sarah Mil­lar with the Golden Liqeuer Mus­cat which was awarded Grand Cham­pion in Bris­bane at the Queens­land Wine Awards.

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