One of those overnight success stories that’s been 40 years in the making, Canberra wine has now well and truly come of age, taking its place among the nation’s most respected wine regions, home to 140 vineyards with more than 33 wineries within 35 minutes of the Canberra CBD.
The Canberra district covers a large geographical area, made up of three sub-regions; ACT & Hall, Murrumbateman & Yass and Bungendore, Wamboin, Lake George and Collector. Interestingly, all but one of the wineries in this region are across the border in New South Wales.
The region itself experiences a climate of extremes temperatures, together with a range of elevations and soil types, but pair this up with the refined skills of the region’s well-versed and passionate winemakers, and the result is truly something exceptional.
But just where can you find the best of the best? If you want to talk acclaim, you can’t go past the blend of shiraz and viognier that put Clonakilla on the map, making it one of the most sought-after reds in Australia. Clonakilla winemaker Bryan Martin, meanwhile, has a boutique winery on the side, Ravensworth, where he makes, among other things, a well-regarded sangiovese and a shiraz of his own.
The elegance of cool-climate shiraz is also what made Alex McKay’s Collector Wines the talk of top sommeliers in Sydney.
But to talk only of reds would be to do the region a disservice. Riesling is quickly becoming recognized as a grape that thrives in Canberra — as great examples from new and established players such as Clonakilla and Ravensworth, Nick O’Leary, Helm Wines, Mada Wines, The Vintner’s Daughter, and Lark Hill amply demonstrate. And the next big thing? We’re putting our money on more aromatic whites, whether it’s blends of marsanne, rousanne and viognier, or Lark Hill’s exceptional grüner veltliner.
Making a weekend of indulgent taste-testing just got a whole lot easier. Gone are the days of bickering over who will be the designated driver, because come February 2018, the region will boast its first rustic, boutique accommodation offering, Abode Murrumbateman. This stylishly appointed property puts you right in the heart of this gourmet foodie’s haven, so the hardest part will be deciding which cellar door to try first.
Abode Murrumbateman is now taking bookings from February 2018. Book your ultimate food and wine getaway here.