2012 Sirromet 820 Above Vineyard Selection Verdelho

It's interesting to note people's reaction these days when you mention Queensland wine. Expressions of bemusement, incredulity to a sudden expertise in the state's climate, 'it's too hot and humid to grow grapes there', appear to be the norm. That may be the case in the tropical north where fruit wines predominate and are an acquired taste in themselves. But far further south on Queensland's border with New South Wales lies an elevated, cool climate region perched on the Great Dividing Range called the Granite Belt. With altitudes between 600 and 1200 metres the vineyards in the Granite Belt are amongst the highest in Australia. The climate and the ancient, rich mineral-laden soils make it the state's premier and largest region with over 500 hectares under vine.

Opened in 2000 and the winner of over 500 national and international awards, family owned Sirromet Winery is located at Mt. Cotton between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Assistant Winemaker Jessica Ferguson says that "fruit for this year’s Verdelho was primarily from our relatively young (8 years) Night Sky vineyard (planted to white varietals only), with 15% also coming from the older St Judes’s vineyard" both of which are located in the Granite Belt Region. 

Now I realise that Verdelho is not considered an alternative variety according to the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show classification but for me notwithstanding the fact that it is a grape grown on all mainland states, it does not appear to be front and centre in people's thinking when it comes to white wine, giving it that 'esoteric' factor. Even the trendoid variety Gruner Veltliner got a jersey ahead of it amongst sommeliers, winemakers and retailers in an alternative varieties survey last year, which helps prove my point.  

Verdelho is indigenous to Portugal where it is grown in the Douro Valley but its reputation has come from its vinification into fortified wine styles on the islands of Madeira, east of Morocco. Grown also in Spain's Galicia Region and France's Loire Valley, its successful adaptation in Australia as not only a dry table wine of some complexity but also as both a late picked version and a fortified wine, has made it a truly versatile variety. Verdelho's history in Australia dates back to the 1820's when cuttings were imported from England by wool industry pioneer and pastoralist John Macarthur
The Sirromet is a pale straw yellow in the glass. Attractive lifted aromas of guava, honeydew melon, orange blossom and spicy fruit salad give the wine a fresh, lively nose. The palate is refreshingly dry, the natural grape acid backbone keeps it vibrant and clean. Cut grass, tangerine and tropical fruit flavours add to form a juicy mouthfeel. A smooth, flavoursome finish. I like the twelve percent alcohol here as some Verdelhos can get too overpowering in that respect. Excellent matched up with a chicken salad. A good alternative to the current market-dominated Sauvignon Blanc glut.

Source: Winery Sample. Alcohol: 12.0%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 89 Points.

Website: http://www.sirromet.com/?referer=foodwinesleep

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