Ballandean Estate Late Harvest Sylvaner 2019


Bottled in tall halves, in many respects, this is one of the most interesting wines made on the Granite Belt, though it is far from an every-vintage proposition. 

Many Australian winelovers might not be aware that some years ago, mid 90s I’d guess as my copy is currently boxed away for a house move, the world famous champagne guru, Tom Stevenson, also wrote on other wines and published a highly respected book on Alsace. In it, and forgive me if I am not exact here as, as I mentioned, my copy is AWOL, he basically declared all Alsace Sylvaner a disgrace (I may be paraphrasing a little) and told the world that they should take note of how it is done on the Granite Belt in Queensland. And in particular, the wonderful 1991 Ballandean Estate Sylvaner (in those days, they were in full bottles, not halves). As you can imagine, this caused a bit of a stir at the time. 

I drank my way through a few of those stunners from that vintage over the years (subsequent releases have been just as impressive), but I knew I had one bottle left. Problem was that I did not know where. As I mentioned above, I’m mid-move (a horrendous experience and something I would strongly counsel against anyone ever doing again. Never move!!), and when cleaning out some boxes at the back of my python-infested garage, guess what I found! I must have put it aside when I moved to my old place, around fifteen years ago, intending to drink it and then not realised. It had sat and cooked for fifteen years. The poor thing was half ullage and in a very sad state indeed (which did not stop my postie grabbing it and a few others – good luck!). 

This latest vintage? A lovely golden hue. It is a late harvest wine, rather than botrytis-infected, but there is plenty of sweetness. It is just so finely balanced with the acidity that it appears less sweet than it is. Flavours of beeswax and honey. A slight wheaty note. Very good length. I like this a lot. A sticky that can sit comfortably with whatever other regions can offer. Just make sure you give it better treatment than a box in the back of the garage.