Geelong Wine Region in Victoria: Wine Tasting Notes

By Jeni Port
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Wine barrels at Clyde Park, Bannockburn, Great Ocean Road region, Victoria

Wine barrels at Clyde Park, Bannockburn, Great Ocean Road region, Victoria [©Visions of Victoria]

Clyde Park vineyards at Bannockburn, west of Melbourne in Victoria
Crawford River Wines, Condah, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Spray Farm Estate on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria
Spray Farm, Geelong, Victoria.

1. Austin's Barrabool Riesling

Austin's new look labelling and release of its great value $16 Six Foot Six wine range has helped rejuvenate the Geelong maker's presence in the marketplace. One of its early successes, riesling, is also enjoying a comeback. The wine is generous and warm with ripe citrus and spring blossom notes. Taut and dry.

Austin's Barrabool Wines: 870 Steiglitz Road, Sutherlands Creek. Phone 5281 1799. Open by appointment.

2. Bannockburn Pinot Noir

Bannockburn is a great Australian pinot noir. The style is rich, dark and brooding and capable of extended ageing. A complex wine seeped in fleshy sweet fruit, often with a savoury edge, it boasts one of the most sustained finishes of any Aussie red. It just goes and goes . . .

Bannockburn: Midland Highway, Bannockburn. Phone 5281 1363. Not open for sales.

3. Bellbrae Longboard Shiraz

Who would have thought that one of the world's best surfing spots could also produce serious wines? Bellbrae Estate did. Its shiraz has an attractive gentle elegance. Dense in color with upfront sweet fruit, it's lively with the flavor of bitter chocolate, plums, herbs and white pepper. Apart from its Longboard brand Bellbraw also boasts a Bells Beach label.

Bellbrae Estate: 520 Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae. Phone 5264 8480.

4. By Farr Viognier

Since leaving Bannockburn to concentrate on a wine venture with his son, Gary Farr has been making some notable wines including pinot and shiraz/viognier. By itself, the viognier also shines. Barrel-fermented, the wine is rich and textural in the mouth with a strong thread of jasmine and mineral liveliness.

By Farr: 101 Kelly Lane, Bannockburn. Phone 5281 1979. Sales by mailing list.

5. Crawford River Riesling

It's testament to John Thomson's passionate belief in his region (Henty) and his grape variety (riesling) that Crawford River is today recognised as an outstanding riesling producer. His style expresses the purity of riesling: concentrated lime juice and floral aromas and flavors with intense mid-palate citrus, dusty, minerality.

Crawford River: Upper Hotspur Road, Condah. Phone 5578 2267. Open by appointment.

6. Curlewis Pinot Noir

Rainer Breit at Curlewis is attracting a strong following for his adventurous, edgy pinot noir. Not bad for a relative latecomer to wine (Curlewis was established in 1998) and one who is largely self-taught. His pinot has a wild, brooding quality with forest floor, mushroom, earth and black fruits.

Curlewis Winery: 55 Navarre Road, Curlewis. Phone 5250 4567. Open by appointment.

7. Lethbridge Indra Shiraz

With PhD degrees in chemistry and medicine, Lethbridge's owner/makers bring a solid scientific background to their wine making. There's also creative flair as well. The Indra shiraz (with three per cent viognier) is a flavorsome Rhone Valley style with spicy/savoury overtones and excellent balance between oak and tannins.

Lethbridge Wines: 74 Burrows Road, Lethbridge. Phone 5281 7221. Open October-May Fri-Sun 10am-5pm (other times by appointment).

8. Pettavel Platina Merlot/Petit Verdot

Pettavel wine maker Peter Flewellyn had an inspired brainwave when he married merlot with petit verdot. This odd couple really do work well together. Merlot offers the sweet plummy fruit on the mid-palate while the dark and tannic petit verdot brings the structure. Incredibly easy drinking wine.

Pettavel: 65 Pettavel Road, Waurn Ponds. Phone 5266 1120. Open daily 10am-5.30pm.

9. Scotchmans Hill Chardonnay

The Browne family run one of Australia's most professional and successful wine companies from their base on the Bellarine Peninsula. Their stylish wines, headed by chardonnay, are the epitome of class. Citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas offer a clean and fresh wine with subtle oak influence.

Scotchmans Hill: 190 Scotchmans Road, Drysdale. Phone 5251 3176. Open daily 10.30am-5pm.

10. Seppelt Coborra Pinot Gris

We know Seppelt's Drumborg Vineyard produces a great (and singularly steely) riesling but there's also a range of other wines released under the label. A recent exciting addition is pinot gris, a lively wine with light aromatics of spiced apple and musky florals combined with a warm and textural palate.

*Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard has no cellar door or winery. The wines can be tasted at Seppelt's Great Western winery.

© Jeni Port 2006


  • Bellarine Peninsula (VIC)
  • Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula (VIC)
  • Great Ocean Road (VIC)
  • Henty (VIC)

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