Sunday, October 26, 2014

Strangebird on the loose - Cabernet franc

Cabernet Franc is a  thin-skinned red grape originally from the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions of France.  Cabernet Franc has fine tannins, spicy aromas and peppery accents, and is an ideal candidate for blending with other varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, although, more producers are starting to sell Cabernet Franc as a single varietal.

Lucas Estate and Kominos Wines both make Cabernet franc. Louise from Lucas Estate :

I don't grow Cab Franc, I now buy it from Zambelli Vineyard in Ballandean and the first time we made it as a red varietal we bought grapes from Golden Grove. I always enjoyed drinking the variety and my husband wanted us to make a Bordeaux Blend. We already were making a dry Rose from Cab Franc so knew it was available in the Granite Belt.The Cab Franc is only 20% of our Blend so I was able to make a straight varietal as well. The variety is very popular, we are currently sold out but I have wine maturing on oak so there will be another release.

Professional Friends of Wine (online @ have an interest in the family tree (or vine) of wine, and taught me a new word today: 'ampelography' . Recent studies in ampelography have determined that cabernet franc is one of the genetic parents of cabernet sauvignon (the other is sauvignon blanc). Cabernet franc was also found to be the common ancestor among other grapes of Bordeaux, including carmenère, malbec, and merlot.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Strangebird on the loose - Barbera

Congratulations to Mark Ravenscroft. An article featuring Mark and Raven's Croft Wines appeared in the October-November edition of Queensland Smart Farmer.

'Most of my wines are made as natural as they can be. I use only the best quality grapes, thereby ensuring minimal use of sulphur. I also use a lot of wild yeast fermentation and do not add any powdered tannins. No animal products are used and my wines are therefore vegan friendly' Mark told Peter Scudamore-Smith.

The new Strangebird and wine trail map has been released at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show, so the Information Centre staff have been finding out a bit about some of the alternative varieties. 
Alternative varieties are defined as those that represent not more than 1 % of the total bearing vines in Australia This week we asked Peter from Boireann and Sam from Golden Grove to tell us about Barbera.

'Barbera is an Italian variety from the Piedmont region. It makes a deeply coloured wine with intense flavours. It is high in natural acid but low-ish in tannin consequently it is a good match for some food that would also go with white wine. It is a great match also for Italian dishes that don’t necessarily involve meat. We decided to grow Barbera because it’s Italian and we love all things (wine and food) Italian. We also have other Italian varieties - Sangiovese and Nebbiolo' says Peter.

'I decided to plant Barbera because of its Italian origin- I was looking at Italian varieties and decided to plant this one. There were a number that I could have chosen. The performance of this variety looked impressive and I was not wrong.It has performed really well for us here at Golden Grove' says Sam.

Wine-searcher (online @ reports that Barbera-based wines were a favourite with Savoyard army officers, who considered the wine a ‘sincere companion’, which helped them maintain their courage in battle. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A visit to Twisted Gum- a blog from Amanda at Cooker and a Looker

Amanda from the blog 'Cooker and a Looker' wrapped  up her tour around Southern Queensland on the Granite Belt with a visit to Twisted Gum winery. Here's what she had to say about this local gem:

Michelle and Tim’s enthusiasm for wine is infectious.  During spring, Michelle hosts sunset walks through the three acre vineyard.  Gus the vineyard dog leads the tour, which winds through the vineyard and offers views over Girraween National ParkParched from your walk?  Tim has you covered! Finish off your tour tasting Twisted Gum’s wines accompanied by artisan cheeses on the veranda as the sun sets – and they’re not joking about the sunset – stunning!
Twisted Gum are a dry land vineyard, so a highlight for me was tasting the difference in that dry and wet years made to the produce of the same vines.  Also, give the pink moscato a try: sweet wines aren’t my thing, but theirs is a horse of a different colour. 
Photo courtesy of Amanda

 Read more of Amanda's blog here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wildflowers on the Granite Belt

612 ABC correspondent Lou Bromley recently went on a wild flower tour with the Stanthorpe Rare Wildflower Consortium, and got a crash course on how to spot wild flowers. Hear the full chat with Liz from the Wildflower Consortium here:

The next wildflower walk will start at Girraween National Park day use area, Pyramids Rd at 9.30am on Sunday 26th October.