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.
In fairness, with such small quantities only in a few good years, it’s so easy to miss when you’re not in the country at the right time. Thankfully, that has changed today.
Sylvaner is another “Strangebird” variety which hails from Germany and the Alsace. Sadly, it’s had a bad rap since the 60s and 70s, being a main component of “Liebfraumilch” (if you’re not familiar, check the bottom shelf at your favourite “Germanic discount supermarket” for an idea of its quality). However, its relatively neutral flavour allows the terrior and skilled winemaking to be expressed – much like Chardonnay. And like Chardonnay today – there are some cracking examples of Sylvaner.
Leeanne and Robyn at the cellar door were lightning quick to point out that Tom Stevenson, famed wine critic and author of “The Wines of Alsace” declared “the greatest Sylvaner he had ever tasted” was from right here, in Queensland. And from the trophies and medals it’s won over the years, I suspect he’s on the money too.
Being a sensitive variety and susceptable to rain, this sweet-style Sylvaner has only been made in a few ideal years since 1991 and grown only on 1.5 acres on the estate. Cane-cut before harvest to concentrate sugar, then frozen twice to remove water, reduces the volume by 40%, leading to intense fruit flavours and aromatics while maintaining crisp acidity. A lot of effort and commitment for the minute quantities made.
This Sylvaner pours a nice pale amber-gold, with aromas jumping out of the glass.
👃: On the nose are pear and eucalyptus drops, tinned peaches, honey suckle and wet slate.
👅: Crisp, juicy acidity with a honeyed texture on the palate, with lemon tart, stewed apples, nectarine. A crisp, clean long finish with tinne peaches and caramel on the end.
Perfect with creamy desserts – crème brulee, cannoli or custard tart.
(Note: Photo taken well before Queensland lockdown since 29/6/21. Stay safe kids!*)
Check it out:
Ballandean Estate Wines: https://www.ballandeanestate.com/
354 Sundown Rd, Ballandean, Granite Belt, QLD 4382, Australia [Google Maps]
Open: 7 days, 9am-5pmFri-Sun 10:30am-4:30pm