As one of Australia’s oldest grape-growing regions, and host to the Seriously Shiraz Festival in November each year, Victoria’s Grampians is a wine aficionado’s dream. Keen to celebrate its glory, we reveal our top quaffs of the region with a tour, tasting notes, hot on the heels of the Seriously Shiraz Festival.
TAKE OUR GREAT WESTERN WINE HOP
Stop at Seppelt in the Great Western region for a tour of the Drives, 3km of State-heritage-listed tunnels hand dug through decomposed granite by out-of-work gold miners in the late 1860s. It’s said three million wines were stored underground. Great parking and easy turning.
Visit 36 Cemetery Road, Great Western
BEST'S GREAT WESTERN
Best’s Great Western is another local pioneering vineyard established in 1867 and owned by the Thomsons since 1920. Home to the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world, the vineyards contain unidentified plantings in the Nursery Block. Sample new and museum releases, enjoy history and a self-guided tour through its Concongella Cellar. Easy access and turning, lots of parking, picnic tables, toilets.
111 Bests Road, Great Western, VIC 3374
A new kid on the block, Mountainside Wines is a 10-minute drive from Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard on the side of Mt Cole. Owners Jane and Shane Goninon leverage the property's terroir to grow Shiraz, viognier and nebbiolo, taking a minimalist approach to produce 1000 cases per year. Stick around for a few days and rent The Blue House (the old local post office) for deep relaxation and device-free serenity.
Visit 197 Mount Cole Road, Warrack
GRAMPIANS TOP TASTES
Sampling is central to Seriously Shiraz festivities so we put in the hard yards and compiled notes from two of our favourite vineyards in the region.
MOUNT LANGI GHIRAN VINEYARD
The Mount Langi Ghiran cellar door on the east granite peak of Mt Langi Ghiran is a striking landmark 25 minutes from Ararat. The vineyard’s originators, the Fratin family, founded their pocket of Veneto in the Grampians in the early 1960s with the early Shiraz vines used in the iconic Langi Old Block Shiraz, one of Australia’s finest cool climate wines.
Chief winemaker Ben Haines and his team produce wine at various price points from the stellar Langi Shiraz that competes against Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace; to the Spinoff range, where the team plays with different varieties including Sangiovese Barbera, chardonnay, pinot noir, and late-harvest viognier; to the Cliff Edge and Billi Billi ranges.
Five wines are offered and rotated at tastings with museum and limited releases occasionally offered on long weekends and at special events.
The Mount Langi Ghiran cellar door opens daily from 10am to 5pm, except for New Year’s Day, Anzac Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday. There’s ample parking for vans with an easy turnaround area. Bring a picnic and enjoy the breathtaking scenery, or for groups for more than eight people, book a private lunch.
Visit 80 Vine Road, Bayindeen
Cliff Edge Riesling 2015
Citrus blossom and rose on the nose, slippery smooth with acidic flavours of lime and orange zest with kiwi fruit and mineral notes. Mouthwatering. RRP $24
Langi Riesling 2015
Hand-harvested from the Langi Old Block Riesling vines planted in 1975, and just released. Effervescent in the mouth, rosewater and kaffir lime flavours with lean flinty undertones, deep and pure acidic. RRP $35
Langi Riesling 2004
Toasty cherry flavours, quite intense apple and lime, weighty oaky mouthfeel with still racy acid. Impressive, and shows how well these Rieslings will age. RRP $50
Cliff Edge Pinot Gris 2017
Pinot Gris was first planted at Langi in the early 1990s on a steep, east-facing slope. The grapes are natural acid, so no flabby pinot gris here! Savoury spicy pear and rosewater on the nose with a hint of flint. A textured palate with juiciness and crunch, clean finish. RRP $35
Cliff Edge Shiraz 2015
The year 2015 provided near-perfect grape growing conditions at Mount Langi Ghiran. The long, dry summer with warm days and cool nights facilitated slow and steady ripening, for a complex, spicy Shiraz for which Mount Langi Ghiran is known. Vivid red and blue fruit on the nose. Elegant and supple palate with heady violet, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper with a touch of ras-el-hanout and subtle oak. Fine chewy tannins with a long and persistent finish. RRP $30
Cliff Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Made with Mt Langi Ghiran's final pickings sourced from 55-year-old vines, this classic cabernet enjoys a fragrant lavender and herb nose, bright blackcurrant and violets with cedar and dark chocolate spice. Fine and silky tannins. RRP $30
The Montara cellar door is five minutes from Ararat with views across to Mt Langi Ghiran. The McRae family established Montana, planting the first vines on the frost-free east facing slopes of Mt Chalambar in 1970. The Stapletons, a exuberant, musical family, have owned the vineyard since 2006, and now regularly host Wine Down Fridays.
Winemaker Simon Fennell makes a staggering variety of wines, from the Chalambar Road Reserve range through to the cheap and cheerful Raven Park.
The Montara cellar door is open Friday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Most wines are on tasting, and you can enjoy a local produce platter from the cellar door cafe in the shady picnic areas surrounded by gorgeous vines.
Direct street access with a small turning area, limited parking at the cellar door but an easy walk up.
Visit 76 Chalambar Road, Ararat
Lili St Cyr Prosecco 2016
Fruity and fragrant with a mineral backbone of citrus, pear and apple. RRP $15
Grampians Rose 2017
Inaugural release, rosewater and strawberry characters with lifted spice and the fresh acidity true to a sangiovese rose. Drink now. RRP $27
Grampians Riesling 2015
Citrus and elderflower on the nose, with a plush palate demonstrating hallmark regional lemon and lime characters. Sweetish, but nicely balanced with acid. RRP $27
Grampians Shiraz 2014
Dark forest fruit on the nose with spicy oak, rich stone fruit and cedar finish. RRP $30
Grampians Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
This is a great cab sauv with dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrant and plum. French oak offers up savoury spice and balance to the ripe fruit. Wine guru James Halliday rated it at 93 points, so our advice is to pop this one away in your cellar for a while. RRP $30
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #572. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!