The novice's guide to wine discovery

The novice's guide to wine discovery

Red, white, sparkling or dessert; I don’t discriminate against discovering or trying any wine… but my true exploration into wine discovery began last week at Sirromet Winery.

By Candice Jackson | 14th May 2015

If you’re like me and are a wine enthusiast and avid wine consumer, but are far from a wine aficionado and connoisseur, a wine tour and tasting is one to add to your bucket-list.

When a Friday excursion from the office was offered to me to the beautifully situated Sirromet Winery in Mount Cotton, how could I possibly pass it up?

Myself and fellow journo Hannah were booked in for an afternoon tour and tasting with one other couple and our friendly and often comedic tour guide, Maggie greeted us at The Cellar Door and we were on our way.

Maggie led us around Sirromet; through the grounds, Lurleen’s restaurant, past the private cellar and wine maker’s labs and production area, as well as finishing with a tasting at Cellar Door (our favourite by far- yummm!)

Along the way, Maggie provided insight on Sirromet’s history, vineyards, growing conditions, production processes and awards, all while injecting her own flair and comedic anecdotes along the way. She explained she’d been a long-standing member of Club Sirromet, before finding her way into her current role. This really showed in her wealth of knowledge and passion for the brand.

For those who don’t know, Sirromet is a 5-Star Winery with three vineyards, serving more than 20 varietals, located in Ballandean in the Granite Belt. It officially opened to the public in 2000 and has since won over 700 awards for their wines.

Sirromet’s chief winemaker Adam Chapman has brought Sirromet to its 5-star rating, by perfecting the Sirromet wines by tasting and smelling the wines through their sometimes 18-month barrelling processes to ensure each wine is maturing the way it should be… And no, Maggie jokes, he is never drunk on the job, as he actually never swallows the wine. She explains most winemakers will spit, as swallowing can dull their sensitive palette.

Sirromet Winery Tour and Tasting: Sirromet production and private cellar, only accessible by T.E.Morris and Adam Chapman.

Sirromet Winery Tour and Tasting: Sirromet production and private cellar, only accessible by T.E.Morris and Adam Chapman.

Here are five things I learnt from our friendly guide Maggie:

1.    Where the name of the winery comes from

Sirromet’s owner Terrance Edward Morris (T.E.MORRIS) created the winery as a challenge to prove you could make great wine in Queensland. He named it SIRROMET, which is his name spelt backwards- what a clever chap!

2.    Which wine benefits from a ‘swish’

It’s a good trick to know, when you’re out for dinner or at a party and someone hands you a glass of wine and you have a sip and you think, “That’s awful”; give it a swish. If it’s oaked, the wine benefits from swirling it in the glass to oxygenate the wine and re-invigorate the flavours present. The longer you swirl it and allow the glass to warm up, the better the taste will be. And hey, if it’s not oaked, there’s no harm in trying, right?

3.    The difference between pinot gris and pinot grigio

Gris is grey in French and Grigio is grey in Italian… but their wines are quite different. The Italians pick their grapes much earlier than the French, and the longer you leave grapes on the vine the sweeter they get. In this instance a Pinot Grigio will be much dryer, while a Gris is still a dry white wine, but it will have more of a fruit flavour to it.

4.    What a ‘Good Vintage’ really means

Vintage is just the year the grapes were picked and when they mention a ‘good vintage’ they’re commenting on the excellent growing conditions and the perfect quality of the grapes at harvest.

5.    I drink my red wine too warm… and you probably do too!

Maggie asked the group “who liked red?”, to which we all responded a resounding ‘YES!’… But she goes on to mention that most people drink their red at 25 degrees, where the optimum temperature is between 12 to 15 degrees.  She says if you get a temperature bottle of red wine out of the kitchen, you’ve already got a warm bottle. The fix? She says it’s not a sin to put it in the fridge for a couple of hours… “I’m not talking about a cabinet sauvignon or a merlot, but reds like a Shiraz, definitely lend themselves to being a little bit chilled,” she says.

Sirromet’s wine tour and tasting caters for a variety of guests, whether you’re an enthusiast like me, or a seasoned wine expert, the intimate tour is only $20pp and will offer you insight into the winery, their production and multiple varietals and brands and if by the end of the tasting you find something you really love, you can buy it then and there.

There is also a chance of joining the Sirromet Club (like Maggie) to get wine sent to you every quarter or you can choose to stretch your day out by eating at 1 of their 3 licensed restaurants.

You’ll be sad to say goodbye to this venue, I know we were when it was time to head back to the office.

Sirromet Winery
850 Mount Cotton Rd, Mount Cotton
P 3206 2999


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Article by Candice Jackson

Candice Jackson is a former Journalist of Style Magazines. She has an uncontrollable sweet tooth, an irrational fear of birds and a love of travel. Candice believes in the Yes Man Philosophy.


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