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Best of Canberra – Local wine

By Bec Cuzzillo - 23 June 2015 29

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I can think of no better way than to spend a Sunday hopping from cellar door to cellar door in and around Canberra, tasting wine and chatting to our local winemakers. This week’s taste off topic is one for the wine connoisseurs among us, as well as everyone else who just enjoys a good glass or two. 

The Canberra district wine region is big and varied and not constrained by the territory’s border. There are 140 vineyards and more than 33 wineries in the region, spanning from Bungendore, Wamboin and Lake George, right through Canberra and Hall, and out to Murrumbateman and Yass.

The region is well known for its cool climate wines, but with large variation in elevation, temperature and soil type across the area, variety is the name of the game in the Canberra district. Whether you like a nice red or you’re more into white, if you like a crisp dry wine or something a little sweeter – whatever your preference, the Canberra wine region has you covered.

This week I am looking for the Canberra region’s best wine and I want to know, who makes your favourite?

To vote, let me know your favourite Canberra wine in the comments below. I’ll try the two most popular places and let you know the verdict in next Monday’s Taste Off article.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Best of Canberra – Local wine
batmantrilogy 3:47 am 13 Nov 15

Hey Bec,

There is local canberra mob who specializes in sale of canberra wines and also does the wine tasting. We did attend one of the wine tasting and it was pretty good.

I have got them bookmarked as well http://actwine.com.au/

Cheers.

mmmich 8:00 am 26 Jun 15

Mount Majura, Eden Rd, Clonakilla and McKellar Ridge for me! Worth visiting as many as you can though, we’ve got a great number of hidden gems.

rubaiyat 7:56 am 26 Jun 15

Milly Withers said :

It’s nice how the reputation of Canberra’s wine region has come a long way in recent years. I remember about a decade ago that it was a bit of a faux pas to admit to buying or liking local wine!

In my opinion, you can’t beat the tempranillo from Mount Majura. It’s my go to wine for thank you gifts, and also for general drinking.

I agree, I am becoming a big fan of Tempranillo and Mount Majura is an excellent choice.

Pod Food at Pialligo has a fantastic wine list featuring local wines amongst the Australian and imported wines.

I tried the Mount Majura Reisling there and it is truly superb but short of driving out to the winery it is hard to get local wines, locally.

rosscoact 9:47 pm 25 Jun 15

wattsie said :

@pajs and @rosscoact
As a relative noob to Canberra, you’ve given a great list for me to check out over a long period of time (clearly you’re two of the local experts!)…but what would be your top one or two that you would vote for as the best in the region? 🙂

A damn fine afternoon can be had by calling into Eden Road about 11, proceeding along the Barton and turning right, going past Clonakilla turnoff and stopping at Four Winds for a tasting then pizza and a glass for lunch. Head back to Clonakilla for a post prandial tasting and then finish off at Helms for a few laughs with Ken.

Take your wallet and a desi.

Russ 6:59 pm 25 Jun 15

Eden Road and Clonakilla are reasonably close to each other, so no reason why you wouldn’t visit both, and you’ll be tasting some of the very best Canberra wines. If you’re on the other side of Canberra ’round Costco way, Mt Majura Vineyard is well worth a visit – as mentioned by others, the wines are up there with the best in the district.

There’s a heap of other cellar doors, some a bit further afield – for example, Four Winds has a lovely vibe, Yarrh has an amazing building and really pretty surrounds, but if you only have time to visit a limited number, the three above are the go.

Krazee 2:40 pm 25 Jun 15

The Quarry Hill 2008 Sparkling Shiraz is my favourite local wine. Not really the weather to be tasting it now though.

wattsie 2:27 pm 25 Jun 15

@pajs and @rosscoact
As a relative noob to Canberra, you’ve given a great list for me to check out over a long period of time (clearly you’re two of the local experts!)…but what would be your top one or two that you would vote for as the best in the region? 🙂

rosscoact 12:12 pm 24 Jun 15

astrojax said :

clonakilla for me, too.

though i never did get an email about the release of a 2009 wine i tried there with my dad, who wanted to buy a case for my son to lay down til his 21st…

If you want to buy 2009 SV, O’Riada or Jack Reidy they are available from quite a few places (not cellar door unless you ask very nicely).

astrojax 4:21 am 24 Jun 15

clonakilla for me, too.

though i never did get an email about the release of a 2009 wine i tried there with my dad, who wanted to buy a case for my son to lay down til his 21st…

luci 8:28 pm 23 Jun 15

You have to go to Murrumbateman Winery, they do a white port which is amazing, and their riesling and pinot gris is great! The guy who owns it’s is great for a chat as well. I always grab a few bottles when I’m going interstate/have interstate visitors.

In my opinion it’s the best wine this region has to offer! 🙂

rosscoact 11:48 am 23 Jun 15

Agree mostly with pajs list with a few changes

Top tier: Clonakilla, Eden Road, Ravensworth, Collector Wines, Nick O’Leary Wines, Mount Majura.
2nd rung: Maipenrai, Helm, Lark Hill
3rd rung: Quarry Hill, Four Winds, Capital Wines, Gallagher, Yarrh, Brindabella Hills, Sassafras (new kid on the block)
4th rung: Wallaroo, Wily Trout, Pankhurst, Surveyor’s Hill, Sapling Yard, Tallagandra, Jeir Creek, Dionysis, Barton Estate, Lake George, Affleck, Little Bridge, Shaw, Wimbaliri.

Best Cellar door for value is Clonakilla where everything is on tasting but can be sold out and a little cramped on occasions
Eden Road is a great cellar door but I think some wines are not on tasting, I could be wrong about that though. Best glasses too
Mt Majura is an excellent cellar door, convenient and with great staff
Lark Hill is good too but can be a little ‘interesting’ on occasions. Has a restaurant worth going to
Helms is worth going to just for Ken’s banter
Capital is good as a cellar door but it’s been a while

pajs 11:27 am 23 Jun 15

Top tier: Clonakilla, Eden Road, Ravensworth, Collector Wines, Nick O’Leary Wines, Mount Majura.
2nd rung: Capital Wines, Brindabella Hills, Helm.
3rd rung: Quarry Hill, Four Winds, Lark Hill, Gallagher, Maipenrai, Yarrh.
4th rung: Wallaroo, Wily Trout, Pankhurst, Surveyor’s Hill, Sapling Yard, Tallagandra, Jeir Creek, Dionysis, Barton Estate, Lake George, Affleck, Little Bridge, Shaw, Wimbaliri.

Mount Majura do sit-down, ‘tutored’ tastings, so a different model to how you taste wines at Clonakilla and Eden Road. No cellar door for Ravensworth, Collector, Nick O’Leary, Quarry Hill, Maipenrai & Wallaroo.

Clonakilla v Eden Road or Capital Wines (cellar door is next to Grazing in the Royal Hotel at Gundaroo) v Mount Majura would both be good match ups.

BombaySapphire 10:40 am 23 Jun 15

I know you have asked for wines, and I’m not sure if a sticky counts, but the Jeir Creek Botrytis is a DELICIOUS sticky. Rob (the winemaker) is fascinating as well, and happy to talk about the craft of making wines.

http://jeircreekwines.com.au/the-wines/botrytis-and-muscat.aspx

As far as local reds (my penchant) go, it is hard to go past Clonakilla.

Holden Caulfield 10:07 am 23 Jun 15

Have to give Helm’s a gig.

If it was a faux pas 10 years ago to admit liking local wines, well these guys had still been around for 30 years back then. They almost deserve a gig in the test for the pathway they helped build for so many other wineries to follow.

Milly Withers 9:50 am 23 Jun 15

It’s nice how the reputation of Canberra’s wine region has come a long way in recent years. I remember about a decade ago that it was a bit of a faux pas to admit to buying or liking local wine!

In my opinion, you can’t beat the tempranillo from Mount Majura. It’s my go to wine for thank you gifts, and also for general drinking.

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