A leafy mountain hideaway for one of the Queensland wine industry's most promising companies.
40 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Queensland's Gold Coast is the scenic Mount Tamborine, providing excellent views to the Ocean, the rainforests, and the great plains stretching inland towards the outback.
Witches Falls' Cellar Door, like a few others on Mount Tamborine is the just the base of operations. They are unique though for being the only working winery located on the Mountain. Their main source of grapes however, is located a few hours inland in an area known as the 'Granite Belt'.
This area centred around the town of Stanthorpe has an altitude of between 600 and 1000 metres, making these vineyards some of the highest altitude vineyards in Australia.
My stay at Witches Falls was short but interesting.
From the Cellar Door, only a glass wall separates you from the small winery itself.
Picking a few wines to choose to taste was difficult from the bevy of vinous delights that were before us (I will have to return for sure).
I eventually picked out a few of the interesting varietal expressions that are being grown in the Granite Belt.
Wild Ferment Viognier
Granite Belt Syrah (Note 'Syrah' not 'Shiraz')
Wild Ferment Pinot Noir
and I was able to have a wee taste of their top range Prophecy Cabernet Sauvignon before it ran out of stock not weeks later.
I didn't have too much time on such a busy day for a comprehensive tasting, but I did taste through these wines quickly on my own.
I've always enjoyed the work Australia has done with both with Verdelho and Viognier, and these two examples were no different. Well balanced, full and structured, both wines set my palate abuzz and confirmed what great things I had already heard of this wine company.
Although the Granite Belt is a young area viticulturally, it's clear it has the charisma and quality to compete with the greats of Australian wine.
The reds were of comparable quality to the whites, the Syrah, definitely softer and more rounded than the usual Australian Shiraz (and so deserving of the distinction) the Pinot Noir was a tad spicier than I expected but still impressed and the Prophecy Cabernet Sauvignon was well placed in it's premium category, with firm tannins, a generous palate, and a lengthy finish, very suitable for medium to long-term cellaring.