Rutherglen is traditionally king of the Durif variety - except for this cool climate offering from Golden Grove Estate.
This is a big boy - thick set, black fruits are bold and rich. A lick of fruit sweetness adds some charm and although there is a firm tannin presence, it's ability to warm the soul can't be denied. Fennel, aniseed, plus a sprinkle of spice to finish, hearty winter dishes and this would make great friends.
Drinking well now though I'd like to see it in another couple of years. Long term cellaring is certainly on the cards.
This is a big boy. Whilst the 2013 was quite measured, this has brut strength.
Bold dark fruit, specifically red plums, blackberries and mulberries, puckering tannins dry out every drop of saliva from the mouth. I almost get the sense that the tannin is sprayed finely around the mouth to coat it.
It's a meal on its own and needs a chunk of steak to cut through.
This is Ballandean's first Durif coming off 7 year old vines. As with all their reds, this too is sealed with ProCork
Juicy dark cherry and black fruit plus a smattering of dried Mediterranean herbs. Some purple flowers have a presence in the background. The thing I like about this Durif is that you are not clobbered over the head with power as many tend to do. This weighs in at around 14% Alc.
Blackcurrant leafiness comes to the fore at the finish. Sapping and drying tannins come in late. This is something to cuddle up to on a cold winter's night.
I reckon it will be drinking best in a couple of years but it is still a more than decent drop now.
Swirl Sniff Spit is a proud group of Queenslanders who get together on the third Tuesday of each month to learn and share in wines from many regions and of various varieties. The time had come to dip into our own backyard and see what is kicking around on the Granite Belt.
The Granite Belt is Queensland's premier wine region and boasts some of the highest (most between 850-950m) and coldest vineyards in Australia. Last week the temperature dropped to -9C! I recently enjoyed an excellent weekend in the region. Check out my adventure here.
Poor granite soils dominate the vineyards and the vines struggle to produce their fruit, yet the fruit which is the result delivers a handy product.
Getting the word out about the Granite Belt is a struggle at times too as the vast majority of wineries rely on Cellar Door sales to move the wine to the consumer. Quantities produced by the wineries are small compared to southern counterparts and therefore it is hard to get into the big players in the retail sector. Recent years have seen more and more Granite Belt wineries creeping into the retail market which is a pleasing sign for them.
We were privileged to have the company of two winemakers on the evening - Glen Robert from Bent Road Winery and Warren Smith from Pyramids Road Wines. Both shared their tremendous knowledge and passion on various topics through the night including the use of oak, wild yeast, blending, and more. Much more. Many thanks to you both for your company and sharing your valuable time.
The wines selected for the evening were done to showcase the region and wines with a point of difference.
Many eyebrows were raised through the night and the quality of the wines shone through. Big thanks to the wineries who sent through samples and for being so keen to participate.
Cypress Post Viognier Marsanne 2011http://www.cypresspost.com.au/
Nose of apricot and paw paw. Apricot and peachy flavours on the palate. An oily feel on the palate too which adds some interest. A great food wine (14% alc).
Ridgemill Estate Chardonnay 2011http://www.ridgemillestate.com/
Funky as!! Wild ferment, taken off lees to remove buttery characteristics. Mustard seeds, oyster shell, toasted almonds, and herby characters all on the nose. The palate was awash with stone fruit flavours. A Chardonnay with a difference and very yummy!
Ravens Croft Chardonnay 2011http://www.ravenscroftwines.com.au/
Fruit sourced from Bungawarra Wines at Ballandean. A tight and toasty nose with butterscotch. Lees stirred. 25% was wild fermented and 25% Malo. New oak was used (50%) and of this, it was an even split between French and American. Cashews leap out. It was likened to a Pinot Gris by some. Fruit screaming loudly. Lean, pear and even apple. Well made and some serious delish factor!
Ridgemill Estate Tempranillo 2009http://www.ridgemillestate.com/
A good whiff of oak, dark cherries and herb. Minimal acid, A lovely rounded palate with juicy fruit and good length. Impressive.
Hidden Creek Tempranillo 2009http://www.hiddencreek.com.au/
Plummy and savoury with enjoyable length. A little firmer tannin mouthfeel. Bold style typical of Spain. Winemaker Jim Barnes has spent vintage time in Spain and modelled his Tempranillo on that experience. This won plenty of fans.
Boireann La Cima Barbera 2008http://www.boireannwinery.com.au/
Cherries, plummy, rounded with a touch of spice. Soft and very approachable. Acid noticeable. Have a plate of salami handy and load up!
Summit Estate Queensland Cabernets 2009 http://www.summitestate.com.au/
A fruit salad of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Fragrent violets prominent. Intense concentration of blackberry fruit on the palate. A big wine yet classy with a long, lingering finish.
Witches Falls Prophecy Syrahhttp://www.witchesfalls.com.au/
Soft yet has an acid edge which points to plenty of aging potential. Fruit abundant with oak adding to the profile nicely. Spice, pepper, cherries all kicking on. Tannins complement the wine very well. Many stood up and took notice.
Bent Road Syrah Cabernets 2009http://www.bentroadwine.com.au/
Soft and elegant with complexity. Super long and delicious finish. Fruit punches through very well. A well made wine in a tough vintage. Value deluxe at $19!
Golden Grove Durif 2010http://www.goldengroveestate.com.au/
Big black fruit flavours. Sexy earthiness. American oak creeping in. The palate is coated with softness and a savoury finish to wrap it all up. Super drinkability.
Pyramids Road Wines Mourvedre 2011http://www.pyramidsroad.com.au/
Has only been in the bottle six weeks. A European style Mourvedre - bright nose, acid driven, bone dry and finishes with chalky tannins. Very impressive and the best of it is yet to come. The crew LOVED it!
Ballandean Estate Sylvaner 2005 http://www.ballandeanestate.com/
Late harvest. Rated the best in the world by some judges. Honey, apricots and citrus peel nose. Canned tropical fruit, marmalade and rockmelon palate. Clean finish. Damn fine!
Witches Falls Botryis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008http://www.witchesfalls.com.au/
Oh sweet mumma! This is super delish and it is hard to stop sipping. A good whiff of stone fruits and citrus. Palate of apricots and peaches. Well balanced. Palate flush with sticky goodness. It would be rude to not lick the glass.
This is value deluxe right here!
I've been told about the Deen DeBortoli range of wines by several people but never got round to getting my hands on them. Thanks to the lovely Carrah at DeBortoli who was kind enough to throw me a sample.
Fruit is sourced mainly from the Riverina and a small amount from the King Valley (17%). A great wine on many levels but the price is what keeps stunning me.
Fruit is deep purple and inky. Nose of some earthiness, lifted blackberries, chocolate and obvious savoury oak. This full bodied wine (13.5% abv) has a palate that is well rounded with firm tannins and a deliciously long finish.
Sit it on the table and try and convince your mates you only paid 10 bucks. Stunning value.