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CANBERRA DISTRICT

The Canberra District had vineyards planted from pioneers in the 1820s. But commercial vineyards only got going in the 1970s, thanks to a few vinophile CSIRO alumni: John Kirk (Clonakilla), Ken Helm (Helm Wines) and the late Dr Edgar Riek (now Eden Road’s Cullarin Vineyard). Len Evans tutored some of these early vignerons, imploring them: “Always look for the best and don’t be afraid to experiment”. That they did – and today the Canberra District is reaping the rewards. While shiraz-viognier and riesling are the showcase wines, Canberra offers so much more. The diverse terroir yields an amazing array of varieties and styles. Marcus Best

Image of Mount Majura by Simon Hughes.

MOUNT MAJURA VINEYARD

Star Cellar DooR

First planted with Dr Riek’s assistance on the limestone-volcanic slopes in 1988, Mount Majura is the only winery within the ACT limits. Chief winemaker Frank van de Loo is convinced the region’s continental clime resembles those Spanish regions where tempranillo thrives and he has a quality collection of flagship tempranillos to prove it. Among the best are the three distinctive single site expressions – ‘Rock Block’, ‘Little Dam’ and ‘Dry Spur’. His latest vintage releases offer recently planted varieties to get excited about – graciano, touriga and mondeuse –showcasing the depth and character of the Mount Majura wines, and his artistry. Consider staying overnight in one of the three glamping cubbies.

TOP DROP: 2019 Mount Majura Dry Spur Tempranillo, A$73

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