I am a fan of the Canberra District’s cool climate wines. With it taking less time to drive to Canberra from Sydney than it does for us to get to the Hunter Valley, I’m always surprised I don’t see more people choosing to drive southwest to make their winery visits. Standout wineries like Lark Hill Winery and Collector Wines are just a hop skip and a jump from the Federal Highway, so they’re also easy to include as produce stops on your way home from Canberra. On my last visit to our nation’s capital, I added Mount Majura Vineyard into my wine stop short list...
Mount Majura Vineyard sits on the east-facing slopes of Mount Majura. The soil – in case it sitting upon Lime Kiln Road didn’t give it away – is rich in limestone, which is prized by winemakers. The cellar door offers up indoor and outdoor tables. Tasting their considerable range of whites and reds will set you back $10, with an additional $5 if you want to taste their single-vineyard Tempranillo wines (and you want to taste these wines), but it’s waived upon your purchase of wine.
While they don’t have a restaurant, you can make an afternoon of it with a cheese tasting plate. Knowledgeable staff rotate between seated groups, so you’re left to yourselves to discuss the wines. My standouts included the 2017 Mount Majura Chardonnay ($29), that kicks off with zesty grapefruit. As it warms in the glass, malolactic fermentation brings up creamier, nuttier characters. It’s not a bad drop at the price, so I bought one to take home.
The most interesting wine I tried was the 2017 Mount Majura Lime Kiln Red ($25) that’s a blend of peppery shiraz, mondeuse noire, and a Portuguese grape called touriga. It’s got an oregano-like salty lick, and an aromatic nose that reminds me of chesterfield leather. The acid is lip-smacking but it’s light on tannins, meaning it doesn’t grip your throat. I could imagine myself enjoying throwing it back at a red sauce diner with classic pizza and pasta.
The best wine I tried was their flagship 2017 Mount Majura Tempranillo ($48). This is a blend of their three single vineyard Tempranillo wines, and when you taste each of them, you can start to see what each location brings to the blend. The violet aroma comes from 2017 Little Dam ($48), the silky body comes from 2017 Rock Block ($48) and the intriguingly Australian eucalyptus characters come from the 2017 Dry Spur ($48). It’s easily the most interesting and layered Tempranillo I have tried, and the opportunity to taste it alone, is well worth making the stop on your drive home to Sydney.
Mount Majura Vineyard
88 Lime Kiln Road, Majura ACT
Ph: (02) 6262 3070