Scion in Rutherglen is one of my favourite and one of the best boutique wineries in Victoria. Vigneron Jan Milhinch is one of the most illuminating people in the wine industry that I have met. She is extremely welcoming at the cellar door, and has a manner unlike most other winery owners or staff. Some Cellar door staff seem only interested in sales and not in communicating to their customers. Jan sells the story of Scion as much as she sells wine, and it is the uniqueness of this approach that makes visiting Scion so much fun.
Other cellar doors don’t challenge wine tasters, and seem resigned to receive some visitors who have poor potential to become customers. Jan asks insightful questions about what her customers like about wine, and what they taste in her wines. She does so in a manner that is not confronting but which encourages drinkers to learn more, to question the winemaker and to understand their own palate.
Scion make a fantastic Durif, which is the variety most associated with Rutherglen. What I enjoy most however are their other wines. I recently opened their new 2007 Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet (GSC) and enjoyed it enormously. By far the most delicious and exotic wine Scion produce is their sweet Durif, which is unlike anything else you would have tasted (though I recently discovered Cape Horn’s late picked Zinfandel). It is not as sweet and syrupy as a muscat, or as strongly fortified as a port. It is a delicate sweet red that is the perfect match to dark chocolate.
My other favourite is their Fleur, made from Orange Muscat. It’s a fresh fruity slightly sweet delight that is a great food match. It’s also fascinating to compare this with similar Victorian wines, because there are only two I know of. It’s not as sweet as the Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora (Milewa), and not as dry as the Orange Muscat from Amulet (near Beechworth). Jan does not cringe like most other vignerons do when you make such comparisons, and does not feel the need to immediately become defensive as I have seen some others do when I make a comparison.
After first tasting Scion’s wine at the monthly Victorian Wine Regions Showcase at Federation Square, I’ve visited Scion twice at Rutherglen, and will do so again soon.