This week the Granite Belt region staged a wonderful tasting for Sommeliers Australia Queensland chapter.

The focus was on some well-respected wines which remained a secret among some of the wine selling community. It was time to tell all.

Commentator Robert Hicks outside Ortiga Restaurant

The presenter was well known Melbournian Robert Hicks who had poked around the outskirts of Stanthorpe town (the vineyards are no more than 25 km away) looking for candidates to show the Sommeliers.

His clutch was good. I came away from the tasting thinking just how suitable the array of varieties grown have with food pairings-there is so much savouriness, minerality and palate cleanness to fit with the bistro foods of today.

Robert pushed forward wines which were fruit expressive-not simple by any means-just plainly varietal yet contained, not oozy or over-syrupy (as ones sees in Mclaren Vale) just plainly neat. That says drink me with ease-and the second glass will taste like the first.

As a backdrop to understanding the wines and their expressiveness one has to remember that the growing elevations are double the Adelaide Hills, three to four times the Yarra Valley and over ten times the Hunter Valley.

The first red bracket went: mourvedre, tempranillo, shiraz, shiraz pinot noir, monastrell tempranillo and malbec.  Eclectic.

Pyramids Road Mourvedre 2010-succulent


Two wines drew my focus:

Pyramids Road Limited Release Mourvedre 2010; 14%; (USD 32); ++++1/2; deep cherry, black, aromatic, cherries, cherry cola in the confectionery stream, low oak, wonderful savoury characters, subtle black fruits, slight reductiveness along the funky trail, mild oak on the palate yet sensous, savoury then finally some grip. Taken from barrel, six made, a powerful wine yet also restrained.



Ridgemill Estate Monastrell Tempranillo 2009; 13.5%, (USD 26.75); ++++; deep cherry purple in the glass, pippy as in berry seeds, smells of concentrated fruits, must be good, has depth, the palate is weighty, the mataro pushing out the tempranillo, black fruits, high acid, low oak level leads to that final savoury finish, minerality, warm in mouth. A take on two Spanish varieties more often made separately.

The final bracket comprised cabernet sauvignon, cabernet malbec merlot, shiraz, shiraz and cabernet merlot.

Jester Hill Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2008-yum

One wine shot my fire.

Jester Hill Touchstone Cabernet Sauvignon2008; 14.1%, (USD 26.75); ++++1/2; medium colour but deep purple for the age, subtle but persistent cabernet nose lift, blackcurrants and mild leafiness, juicy, spice, oak has the cedar notes, delicious mouthfeel, nice drying tannins but in harmony, an easy drink-and more than a single glass.

The full tasting comprised 18 wines: Symphony Hill Pinot Gris 2010; Ballandean Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010; Ridgemill Estate Pedigree Chardonnay 2010; Golden Grove Vermentino 2010; Tobin Isabella Semillon 2008; Symphony Hill Tempranillo 2009; Twisted Gum Shiraz 2009; Summit Estate The Pinnacle Shiraz Pinot Noir 2009; Golden Grove Malbec 2009; Ridgemill Estate Pedigree Cabernet Malbec Merlot 2008; Pyramids Road Shiraz 2008; Hidden Creek Shiraz 2008; Lucas Estate The Partners Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006.


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