Queensland Wines, Sparkling Shiraz and more

By Phillip Arlidge

Wines. Sparkling. White. Red. Shiraz. Queensland. Australian

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Tags: Wines. Sparkling. White. Red. Shiraz. Queensland. Australian

The Bribie Winelander

Over the last twelve months we have looked at many different wine growing regions, grape varieties and growing techniques but there is one important topic we haven’t considered and that is wine production in Queensland. Although Queensland boasts one of Australia’s top wine shows in The Royal Brisbane Wine Show, the wines produced here never seem to receive the accolades some of them deserve, so I have picked a couple out that have been doing some remarkable things recently.

Firstly a small winery down south in the heart of The Granite Belt situated in Ballandean Valley going by the name of Golden Grove Estate recently took out The Best Queensland Red at the show, and a gold medal plus top of class for their Jovan Tempranillo. James Halliday commented their release of the 2012 Grand Reserve Mouvedre was the best Queensland Wine he had ever tasted rating it at 97 points and in his Wine Companion Book, he rates the vineyard as 5 stars’ and The 2012 vintages of Grand Reserve Tempranillo, Barbera, Nero Davola and Durif as worthy of being 95 point wines, and the Malbec 94 points.

Indeed the vineyard was planted in 1975 by Mario and Nita Constanzo who passed on the winemaking tradition to son Sam and wife Grace and in 1991 a cellar door was opened and if you are in the area I think a visit would be well worthwhile. Another winery closer to home at Mt. Cotton going by the name Sirromet is worth the visit if you want to see one of the finest in Australia. Wow what a statement, “one of the finest” here in Brisbane! I have been fortunate to have been to Leeuwin Estate for their famous concerts, to Voyager Estate next door and I can assure you Brisbane has one to equal the best with the natural structure and architecture of the wineries buildings, and views of Moreton Bay.

Sirromet has won over 700 prestigious national and international awards since opening in 2000 and they host numerous outdoor shows, and offer daily tastings of their wines mostly sourced from fruit grown in The Granite Belt. A few years ago I visited The London Wine Fair an event held every year, it is massive covering what seems like acres of ground at Olympia. This is a free to enter show, but is restricted to trade only and is attended by every wine producing country in the world.

I struck up a conversation with a Champagne producer and he mentioned how the quality of our sparkling wines had improved but of course would never match the French, but with a smile he mentioned a sparkling wine that we produced that they didn’t and that was a Sparkling Shiraz, and how he personally enjoyed the wine. The first Sparkling Shiraz was made as long ago as 1881 by a Melbourne Doctor with help from a French winemaker but was in a lighter style.

Wines. Sparkling. White. Red. Shiraz. Queensland. Australian

In 1889 a winemaker named Edmund Mazure developed the style enjoyed by Australian wine drinkers today and then carried the title Sparkling Burgundy which of course we are no longer allowed to use. A good quality Sparkling Shiraz made by the traditional “French Method” starts its life in the same bottle it finishes in. After secondary fermentation happens in the bottle, which creates the fizz, the wine is rested on the dead yeast lees cells that have been formed, and every now and then turned upwards until eventually the dead cells reach the neck of the bottle, which can sometimes take a couple of years.

The neck is then frozen and the bottle cap of the bottle removed causing the plug of dead yeast to be forced out. The wine is then topped up with a liqueur of the same batch then a cork is wired in. If you have never tried this style of wine but enjoy a substantial Shiraz I suggest you give it a go and here are a few examples of the best we make.

  • Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz
  • Bleasedale Sparkling Shiraz
  • Peter Rumball Sparkling Shiraz
  • The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz

Also worth a look at:

  • Morris Sparkling Durif

When one searches amongst the new wine labels appearing on the liquor store shelves you could be forgiven in thinking that The Australian Wine Industry is in a very healthy situation however, in reality, this isn’t the case.

After twenty years of continuous growth the domestic market has been relatively static over the last few years and the bulk price of grapes has declined. The depreciation of the Australian Dollar against The American Dollar and The U.K. Pound has stimulated interest once again in our wines but the Americans are drinking a lot less Shiraz which of course is our mainstay.

Our Dollar hasn’t changed much against the Euro so there are no benefits for exports to mainland Europe and with recent events on The Chinese stock exchange it will probably have a negative impact on sales to China despite the recent free trade agreement. Added to this is the fact that 1 bottle in every 6 bottles of wine sold in Australia today is imported equating to around 80 million litres, which was unheard of 15 years ago, this is mainly the result of our taste for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which is why we need to rediscover Australian white wines again.

Go forth and buy Margaret River Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Clare Valley Riesling, Hunter Valley Verdelho and Chardonnay and do the Australian Wine Industry a huge favour, there are some tremendous bargains to be had because we have so much wine in the tanks!

Look for:

  • Devils Lair Fifth Leg Chardonnay and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
  • Brookland Valley Verse 1 Chardonnay and Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
  • Houghton’s White Classic
  • Evans and Tate Classic Sauvignon Blanc
  • Annie’s Land Clare Riesling
  • Tulloch Hunter Valley Verdelho
  • McWilliams Elizabeth Semillon

Give one of the above a try this month and let me know your thoughts on: [email protected]

Cheers, Philip Arlidge

Is this the end result of true love I wonder? Forget the house, forget the children, I want custody of the red and access to the port once a month! Or After dinner a heavy drinker was offered some grapes with desserts. “ Thank you very much” he said, pushing the plate to one side, “ but I am not accustomed to taking my wine in capsules”!

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.