As a massive fanboy of the Granite Belt, I’m absolutely ashamed to admit that I’ve never tried one of the first wines that really put the region on the map decades ago – the Ballandean Estate Sylvaner.
A truly delightful afternoon (where did the light go?!) with Mark Ravenscroft of Ravens Croft Wines chewing the cud over vintage, winemaking, gossiping about the industry and going through his barrel samples, all with the rather alien sound of rain pattering down on the winery roof. Sadly no picturesque vistas this time due to the rain and fading light!
Despite a month in the southern hemisphere, it’s still very much #SummerVibes for me, with mid-20s and clear blue skies here in Brisbane, despite the locals insisting it being called “winter”. So I’m cracking open this new release 2021 Vermentino from Golden Grove Estate – because it’s still warmer here than the British summer.
Another special wine smuggled all the way back to the UK from the Granite Belt is the Ravens Croft 2019 Pinotage. With only 8 out of about 6,000 vineyards growing Pinotage in Australia, this has to be one of the rarer Strangebirds (alternative varieties) seen in the Granite Belt.
An absolute honour to hang out all day with Brad Rowe from Boireann Winery. You see, Brad’s got some pretty big shoes to fill, as he’s taken over as winemaker from the original owner, Peter Stark since his retirement in 2017.
Today we’re back in the Granite Belt with Tobin Wines and their new 2018 Elliot Reserve Merlot. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this one progress from barrel to bottle over the last 18 months, and a beautiful end result.
Really excited about getting into this Grüner Veltliner, one of the Granite Belt’s newest alternative varieties, or “Strangebirds” as they call them here. Once thought to be Riesling’s poorer sibling, Grüner tops many restaurant lists being a very food friendly wine. So Queensland restaurants now have no excuse not to stock local. It’s also got an umlaut in its name, so it’s also instantly cool.
Adrian Tobin is one of the many I see who epitomise Granite Belt wine country. Easy going, loves a friendly chin-wag and nuts about what he does. Passion over profits and hectolitres, he crafts with meticulous detail, eagle-eyed and in tune with his vines, the terroir, the weather…all for only couple of precious barrels.
One of my favourite alternative varieties from the Granite Belt (or “Strangebirds” in local parlance) has to be Saperavi. Normally a native of Georgia, this grape has really found a second home in here in the high altitude granitic soils. While an alternative variety in Australia, it’s definitely no stranger to the spotlight, holding their own in collecting awards back in the homeland in Georgia!
Those who know me will know I always bang on about the Granite Belt, Australia’s smallest wine region and two hours’ drive from Brisbane, Queensland – the town where I grew up.