The Granite Belt is quickly growing an enviable reputation for its complex elegant cool climate wines, in particular for alternative varieties.
In years past, local wine producers felt compelled to replicate the mainstream varieties and styles of wine coming from Australia’s best known regions such as the Barossa. Not surprisingly the significant differences in climate and soil ensured success alluded them with the resultant wine rarely receiving critical acclaim.
This shortcoming was recognised and the local industry began to search for styles and varieties that would best unlock the region’s undoubted potential. Thus began the Granite Belt’s long affinity with alternative varieties.
Today while 60% of production is from the mainstream grape varieties Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, there are in excess of fifty other varieties grown, which has led to the formation of the famous Strangebird Alternative Wine Trail.
While Verdelho was the first golden haired child of the Granite Belt whites, Marsanne and Viognier have risen in prominence while many are expecting big things of Fiano and the recently planted Albarino.
The classic Granite Belt Shiraz is a distinctive peppery, medium bodied wine, more akin to the Rhone Valley than the Barossa. The emerging red varieties to look out for include, tempranillo, graciano, tannat, nero d’avola, saperavi, petit verdot and Nebbiolo.