What are the best wineries to visit in the Canberra wine district?
Canberra may be home to Australia’s capital, but it is also the home to some of Australia’s fantastic cool climate wines.
So The Wine Pig decided to take a brief but exciting trip to a small selection of wineries – Clonakilla, Dionysus Wines and Lake George Winery – to check out what all the fuss is about.
Here are our highlights.
Located 30 minutes north of Canberra in Murrumbatemen, NSW, Clonakilla has a very cute cellar door nestled into its ample plot of vines, boasting 15 separate patches on site alone.
The small family winery, which has dedicated its many years to making a fantastic and yet distinctive range of handcrafted wines, has a wonderful range of sparkling, rose, white and red wine on offer, it specializes in two particular varieties - Shiraz and Viognier.
These wines are generally made in limited quantities and as a result can occasionally be a little harder to source, but they are certainly worth hunting down. Any excuse for a visit!
Starting from the top of the range, The Wine Pig tasted its way through the entire collection: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, New release 2015 Riesling, 2015 Viognier Nouveau, 2014 Chardonnay, 2014 Hilltops Shiraz, 2015 O’Riada Shiraz, 2014 Shiraz Viognier and last but not least, the 2013 Ballinderry.
Canberra District Wine Highlights - Clonakilla
2014 Chardonnay: It’s no secret that The Wine Pig has fully embraced its new and growing love for all things Chardonnay and Clonakilla now has raised the bar for Chardonnay producers Australia-wide. It has the classic cream and oak textures while also dishing some melon, pear and spice characters. Truly wonderful. 2014 Shiraz Viogner: This wine is simply breathtaking! Made straight from Clonakilla’s best Shiraz Viognier grapes, all of which are sourced on the site, its wonderfully smooth, balanced perfectly between grace and power. It’s Clonakilla’s iconic wine, and one it should be proud of!
Run by husband and wife duo Michael and Wendy, and named after the Greek god of wine, Dionysus’ cellar door is in the middle of its volcanic-soil based vineyard, and neighbour to Clonakilla.
The extremely friendly Wendy boasts of the vineyard using minimal chemicals, so we know the wines are produced in purest form possible. The wines themselves are exceptionally quaffable and the rather extensive range gives a perfect complement to each meal, or just an excuse for a glass at the end, or middle, of a long day.
The Wine Pig had the pleasure of sampling the entire collection of nine different wines: 2010 Ariadne Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, 2014 Riesling, 2013 Sauvignon, Blanc, 2014 Viognier, 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Pinot Noir, 2012 Shiraz, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and the desert wine, 2013 May Riesling.
Canberra District Wine Highlights - Dionysus
2014 Viogner: Peaches and pears are the first things which come to mind with this wonderfully delicious wine. It’s rich, acidic and a little different, meaning it’s a perfect crowd pleaser! 2012 Shiraz: Soft, smooth and oaky. Dionysus’ Shiraz is yet another favourite for the red wine drinker in all of us. A strong berry and spice flavour which keeps you going back for more.
LAKE GEORGE WINERY
One of the Canberra region’s oldest wineries, Lake George Winery is located north-east of the capital city. Its shale-based soil gives the wine a distinctive flavour, particularly fantastic for its wonderful range of white wines.
Not only does Lake George Winery have a beautiful cellar door with some beautiful wines, it also accommodates what is sure to be some of the most beautiful weddings in the region. A simply idyllic location with wines to match!
The Wine Pig made light work of Lake George’s fantastic range of wines: the 2009 Pinot Gris, 2010 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Riesling, 2008 Reserve Chardonnay, 2009 Pinot Noir Rose, 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir, 2008 Reserve Shiraz, 2010 Tempranillo and 2012 Cabernet Merlot made up the entire list.
Canberra District Wine Highlights - Lake George Winery
2009 Pinot Gris: This wine has wonderful spicy pear flavours which are not only refreshing, but fantastic peared (excuse the pun) with a fish meal, or just with your hand. Think a summer sunset on a balcony overlooking a beautiful view – this would be the wine you’re drinking.