Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sommelier's Big Day Out

For almost two decades Scott Durietz (pictured) has been the font of all wine knowledge at award-winning Baguette Restaurant in Brisbane's Racecourse Road. This week he swapped his dinner jacket for work overalls, for what some might describe as a busman's holiday.

This week Scott has been visiting the Queensland wine capital to get his hands on what really makes some of the state's top drops. The highly respected sommelier has rolled his sleeves up in the vineyards and wineries just south of Stanthorpe. His working holiday has included picking, pressing and plunging the grapes. But it wasn't all dirty work - he was able to don a white lab coat to test the grape sugar levels. Then there was the barrel sampling of earlier Granite Belt vintages. It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quick, quick, slow: it's a vintage tune

It got off to a flying start, then there was a pause, now it's on again. That's the story of the 2010 vintage on the Granite Belt.

No sooner had the winemakers washed up the glasses from the festive season than the first grapes came in for processing, albeit these first grapes were from hotter areas west of Stanthorpe. Local Granite Belt grapes started to come off two weeks earlier than usual as a result of warm conditions which accelerated the ripening.

Most of the whites have now been picked with some chardonnay still remaining. For those looking for a bit more technical information you'll be interested to learn that yields are lower than in 2009 with both reduced bunch numbers and smaller berry size. However the quality of the white grape crush is looking good with strong flavours. Five days of extensive heat at the end of January was followed by cooler weather and rain which has slowed ripening of the remaining whites to be harvested.

Red grapes will be ready in a few weeks, although some vineyards may be picking Tempranillo sooner than that. Tempranillo is performing well on the Granite Belt and a favourite drop on the popular Strange Bird alternative wine trail.

The chance of continued rain means Stanthorpe viticulturalists are cautious of Botrytis setting in, however Granite Belt vineyards are generally very well protected from the disease.

Granite Belt wines continue to stamp their superiority over other producers in Queensland as evidenced by the results of the recent Parliament House blind tasting in Brisbane.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Titillate your Taste Buds on the Granite Belt

It's not called Fab Feb for nothing. Titillate your taste buds and learn how to pair wine and chocolate - or wine and cheese - during February on the Granite Belt.

These are just two of many free options available as part of your "personal wine experience" on offer at Stanthorpe wineries during the 2010 vintage. (Vintage is the annual grape harvest...but you probably know that!)

The deal is you book your accommodation hot deal online and then your host will talk you through the range of wine experiences available through participating wineries in the region during February.
So whether your fancy tempts you to pair wine and chocolate at Rumbalara Estate, or wine and cheese at Summit Estate, or the chance to schmooze with a winemaker at other leading get to first base you need to book your Fab Feb deal online now.