I love a good wine tasting any day of the week no questions asked, but this weekend Canberra really turned on the weather and gave us the perfect conditions for a little wine tour of the region.
When we put the call out for your favourite Canberra wine last week, a number of different wineries from across the region got a mention. Some worth noting include Eden Road, Helm, Capital and McKellar Ridge, but there were two clear front runners with few votes separating them – Mount Majura Vineyard and Clonakilla Winery.
Once the fog cleared up and the sun came out on Saturday afternoon, my partner and I set out to put the two to the test.
First up was Mount Majura Vineyard located out near the airport on Lime Kiln Road in Majura. Open Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, the Mount Majura cellar door is top notch. There are two options for their wine tasting – you can stay standing or you can opt for a more leisurely sit-down tasting. We took a table next to the window in the sun, ordered a cheese plate and enjoyed our tasting with a great view of the vineyard.
My pick of the Mount Majura whites was the Molli, a Pinot Gris-Riesling blend. I’m a bit of a Riesling girl, so I was pretty disappointed to find they had sold out of their 2014 vintage and I couldn’t try it. But if you’re anything like me, take note, the 2015 Riesling is coming out at the end of next month. I’m already planning a visit.
When it comes to the reds, we enjoyed most of what Mount Majura had to offer. Our favourite was their flagship wine, the Tempranillo. It’s a deliciously rich, smooth red wine that you should definitely get your mouth around. Unfortunately they’ve sold out of the regular-sized 750mL bottles of the Tempranillo, so we bought a bottle of the TSG instead. The TSG was our second favourite and is a gorgeous blend of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Graciano.
We then crossed the border and drove out to Clonakilla Winery, located on Crisps Lane in Murrumbateman. Clonakilla has a cosy little cellar door that’s open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon we had the place to ourselves, but it quickly filled up with a number of different groups vying for a taste.
We enjoyed all the wines at Clonakilla. It was a hard pick, but I think my favourite white was the Viognier, a really rich and flavoursome white wine perfect for the winter months. I also really enjoyed the Viognier Nouveau, which is still full of that great Viognier flavour but lighter and more suited to warmer summer weather.
But really, the reds were the star of the show at Clonakilla. Clonakilla are best known for their Shiraz Viognier and it really does live up to the hype. It is their flagship wine, fruity, spicy and absolutely stunning. It is definitely worth the drive for a little taste of this one.
Picking a winner for this week’s taste off hasn’t been easy – both Mount Majura Vineyard and Clonakilla Winery dish out some top quality wines and you cannot go wrong with either. While I think Mount Majura have the better cellar door providing the opportunity to sit down, eat cheese and enjoy the tasting at your own pace, I think Clonakilla have it over them when it comes to the wines themselves. It’s a big call to make, but this week Clonakilla Winery take out the top spot for Canberra’s best local wine.