Tag Archives: fortified wine

5 wineries in Stanthorpe you must visit

People don’t often think of Queensland and wine in the same sentence, but about three hours south-west of Brisbane is a place called Stanthorpe – with amazing wineries.

The region is at it’s best during the cooler months with beautiful autumnal foliage painting the town in oranges, browns and yellows. But… onto the good stuff – wine!

To be honest, the region is loaded with amazing wineries, but here’s a short list of our favourites from the ones we had time to get to. I’m not a wine connoisseur so I’ve used the label descriptions for each of the wines we bought.

Stanthorpe grapes

Symphony Hill Winery

The Granite Belt has an alternative wine trail they call ‘Strange Bird Alternative Wine’. This is a list of wineries that make wine from grape varieties that are different from your usual Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.

Symphony Hill has some wonderful Strange Bird selections, along with a welcoming and beautiful cellar door. The staff are super friendly and full of knowledge, not just about their wines, but also the region.

Here’s what we bought from Symphony Hill:

  • Gewurztraminer – 2015

A beautiful white wine, light and delicious, their signature white and winner of many awards. It’s easy to see why once you let the wine dance over your tongue.

Label description: ‘Exotic lavender and rose petal notes peek through a peacock’s fantail of wild musk and Turkish Delight aromas. Exquisite lip smacking flavours of lychee and spice dance delicately with perfectly balanced acidity all complemented with a talcum powder texture. Best enjoyed with spicy dishes where pleasure will then go up yet another level.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $40.

  • Shiraz – 2013

I’m a big fan of full-bodied red wines, though I have to admit this region broadened my wine wine taste buds.

Label description: ‘Gorgeous aromas of violets and spicy plum with a hint of blueberries and a touch of anise. The palate delivers rich sensual warm overtones of raspberry and chocolate with a splash of coconut harmoniously balanced with seamless acid and velvet like tannins.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • Tempranillo – 2013

I was first introduced to Tempranillo in Peru back in 2008, I wasn’t familiar with any of these varietals as we didn’t seem to have them in Australia (or maybe we did and I didn’t know about them!). So I took a stab at ordering and learned I liked Tempranillo and Malbecs. So of course, I knew I’d like this drop.

Label description: ‘Complex aromas of raspberry and anise push through an array of floral notes. Delicious flavours of savoury cherry like nuances with a hint of sarsaparilla notes balancing delicate velvet like tannins and seamless acidity.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe grapes

Summit Estate

Talk about welcoming! Summit Estate’s owner opened the cellar doors for us when there wasn’t any other visitors and took us through his entire collection. A sprawling cellar door with tables set up for big tour groups – this is a well established winery.

  • The Pinnacle – 2014

Label description: ‘A blend of Marsanne, Chardonnay and Viognier which co-exist beautifully in the glass. This dry, crisp style has subtle fruit driven character that will complement a variety of cuisine from fresh seafood to chicken dishes. This is a fine wine that will cellar well.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $22.

  • High Country white – 2014

Label description: ‘This wine has the familiar grapefruit and citrus notes of Sunny Queensland. Enjoy drinking his wine with your favourite salads, seafood dishes and Asian style recipes.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $22.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot -2013

Label description: ‘Unexpectedly complex. Replete with hiden charms. Surprisingly persistent. Qualities which define this impressive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is an elegant style of Cabernet with structure and finesse. Ideal accompaniment to roast dinners and BBQ meats.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • The Anchorage Tawny Port

I find it hard to go past a port. I really just love it, so naturally, a bottle of this sticky, delicious drop had to come with us.

Label description: ’10 year old Tawny with typical rancio character, matured in French oak hogheads. Luscious and highly aromatic, with nuances of spice, toffee and plump raisins. Perfect as an after dinner indulgence with matured hard cheese.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe - Ridgemill

Ridgemill Estate

We actually stayed at Ridgemill Estate, they’re one of the few places with cabinets right in the middle of the vineyards! It’s only 10 minutes south of Stanthorpe, which puts you directly between the two major wine towns of Stanthorpe and Ballandean. You also get to wake up to this view:

Stanthorpe - Ridgemill view

And play with these little guys!

Stanthorpe - goats 2

Stanthorpe - goat

Anyway… the wine:

  • Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot – 2010

I got to be honest, I’m really not a fan of Merlot, but this Cabernet, Malbec mix is delicious.

Label description: 3 Bronze medals
Strong deep red colour with crimson hues on the edges. The palate is soft and rounded with black olive, blackberry and dried herbs; finishing with well-balanced acid and plush tannins.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $28.

  • Pinot G – 2014

I’ve really grown to appreciate the taste of a Pinot Gris over the years (a big achievement for a non-white wine lover). This one is wonderful.

Label description: Gold, 2 Bronze medals
The aromas leap from the glass, exhibiting floral and exuberant fruits with Nashi pear to the fore.The palate is full and textural whilst being framed by the bright acidity giving the wine drive and length.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • Sly Dog

This was probably my favourite way to end the trip! Sly Dog is  a white fortified wine. Or as the label reads: Drinks like a wine, kicks like a port! A sticky delicious drop!

Label description: ‘Our sly. dog has rose gold and sherry hues with long legs. Aromas of nougat, raisins and nuts while on the palate if tastes like plump sultanas, dried apricots with fresh spirit and persistent flavours. We put “sly dog” in a half bottle for your own protection.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe - bottles

Heritage Estate

One of the first wineries we stopped in at, Heritage Estate is placed in a beautiful old church with a wonderful breeze (it was very hot that day).

  • Fiano – 2014

I adored this white and absolutely couldn’t leave the building without it. I can’t bring myself to open the bottle until we have a nice occasion for it.

Label description: ‘This ancient Mediterranean variety is suited perfectly to our high altitude vineyard on the northern Granite Belt. Ripe stone fruit and notes of paw paw, citrus and spice combine to produce a lovely aromatic style. The palate is lusciously fruity and textured – balanced by a vibrant line of acidity. Enjoy cool climate Granite Belt wine.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

Stanthorpe - leaves

Tobin Winery

I had to leave the best for last… and we almost missed it if it weren’t for us checking Trip Advisor for the last couple of wineries to hit before we headed out of town.

The owner is a unique person, a purist in the wine industry! Very knowledgable and amazing wines. I don’t even like Chardonnay… and yet, this was absolutely the best white wine I’ve ever tasted. I wish I’d bought two.

  • Lily Chardonnay

Label description: ‘Elegant and graceful aromas of wild fig and rockmelon ease through hints of butterscotch and vanilla. Complex, rich layers of melon and peach are harmoniously balanced with restrained acidity and surreal texture..’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $65.

Stanthorpe - vineyard

What are some of your favourite Queensland wines?