Trying something new has borne fruit – and awards – for Lerida Estate, but the journey took three years.
For the Collector-based winery, sheltered in the lee of the Cullerin Range, the road less travelled meant planting riesling grapes.
“In 2019, the decision was made to take out some other grape vines that we didn’t like as much and plant our own,” winemaker Jacob Law said.
“This was the first wine made from those vines that we grew ourselves.
“We’ve made rieslings for a very long time, but we’ve always bought the grapes from elsewhere.”
The rewards and awards came when the 2023 Lerida Estate Cullerin Riesling took home the trophies for Best Canberra Riesling, Best Riesling, Best White Wine of Show and Champion Wine of Show at the 2023 Canberra and Region Wine Show.
“It is quite aromatic – there’s a lot of typical lemon and lime characters you get from rieslings, with a lot of florals, orange blossoms and that sort of thing on the palate,” Mr Law said.
“You do notice the residual sugar, so it’s got a little bit of sweetness, but it’s got a perfect amount of acidity, too.
“I would call it a light-bodied wine.”
While the grapes were grown in Canberra, Mr Law said its inspiration is undeniably European.
“It’s a typical style from Germany, where I’ve spent a couple of years,” he said.
“I thought it was something we could achieve at Lerida because of the site the grapes are grown on.”
Mr Law said the winemaking process came down to the special climatic conditions at Collector.
“It is in a style that’s not necessarily common in the Canberra district, but it was the style we wanted to make,” he said.
“We are a little bit cooler than Murrumbateman, and I thought that would lend towards a riesling that had a lower alcohol content and be less sweet.
“Germany is so much cooler [than Australia], and so I thought if we’re going to achieve this style anywhere in Canberra, it would be at Lerida Estate.”
Their gamble paid off – and they have the medals to prove it.
Mr Law put it simply: the success of the wine “exceeded our expectations”.
“It’s so gratifying to see industry reward you like that when you’ve put in so much hard work and effort,” he said.
“It’s very exciting and puts a jump in your step – everyone’s walking around with big smiles on their faces.”
Mr Law says those keen on picking up a bottle of the 2023 Cullerin Riesling will not have to wait.
“We’ve had a lot of interest – almost too much – since we’ve had people wanting to buy cases of it,” he said.
“There is a very small quantity, so we’re limiting it to three bottles per person because there just isn’t enough to go around.”
The 2023 Cullerin Riesling is available for purchase through Lerida Estate’s website.
Lerida Estate is located at 87 The Vineyards Road in Collector, NSW. Cafe Lerida is open daily for lunch from 11:30 am to 3 pm daily (the drinks menu operates from 10 am to 5 pm). Bookings recommended.