Waking on the Sunday to a cold and drizzly day, it seemed the seasons had turned and we might have just got in on the last of the good weather. After checking out at 10, we drove down the road to Symphony Hill Wines, specifically to taste their Gewürztraminer. It was only 2 minutes down and the road and we arrived before the door had opened. We hid in the car until the patroness came out and ushered us and told us off for being silly, hiding away like that.
Symphony Hill was another more well-known estate like Ballandean and Ridgemill, probably on a few tour itineraries. The larger doors tended to have more paraphernalia for sale – branded glass and t-shirts, bottle stoppers, coasters, books etc. They had quite the selection at Symphony Hill, including a rack of vintage clothing. One half of the owners love vintage it seems, so she just buys what she likes and sells it in store. I walked away with two dresses.
Back to the wines. Symphony Hill has a large range, with 7 whites – Sparkling to Semillion – to their ‘Will and Kate’ vintage red which was recently served at a Brisbane dinner for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We were tempted by a few – the Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps a Shiraz – but decided instead for a couple of the intriguing Gewürztraminer. It was sweeter on the nose then more robust on the palate than I expected, making it a pretty interesting mouthful we all enjoyed.
Our final cellar door was Twisted Gum. We almost didn’t turn in, suffering as we were from the beginnings of wine fatigue. I’m glad we did as it was one of the most pleasant cellars I have visited. Gus the dog greeted us and accompanied us in to talk with Michelle, one half of the husband/wife partnership who own the vineyard. The cellar door has only been open a year, though they have been producing longer. I sampled six of the seven wines on offer – skipping the Pink Muscato – and could easily have purchased all of them. It was very tempting. But we came away with five; a Verdelho/Semillion/Chardonnay that was too unique to ignore, Shiraz 2010, Shiraz/Cabernet 2010 which was the smokiest wine I have ever tasted and a Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 for the cellar. Again I was tempted by the Chardonnay but opted for extra VSC instead. Next time I come to the Granite Belt I will give in and buy more Chardonnay. You should resolutely never stick to prejudices or dislikes when you are proven wrong or change your opinion.
The weekend finished with lunch at Sutton’s Farm, savoury pie followed by their famous apple pie. It did not disappoint.
For me, one of the delights of the weekend was how at almost every location we spoke to the owner or winemaker (often the same person) behind the bar. Another nice surprise was the affordability of the wines. Although some Estates deal in more premium, single vineyard produce and the price may reflect that, i.e. Tobin Estate, most of the locations we visited had prices ranging between $20 – $40.
The two stand-out locations for me were Tobin Estate and Twisted Gum. Partly for the quality of the wines but also partly for the experience at the cellar door. I don’t think I could visit Stanthorpe without visiting them again.
We all had a great time in Stanthorpe and the wines were beyond our expectations. I would happily go back any time. Just give me warning so I can save up a little first.
Where we stayed: Girraween Country Inn, the loft/chalet. We would all be happy to stay there again.
Read about the rest of our weekend in Stanthorpe here: our arrival on the Friday and a visit to Ballandean, then our second big day of tasting on the Saturday.