I'm a freelance writer in Brisbane who is passionate about the food and wine scene in the Granite Belt, Queensland. I am writing a book of the people and food of Stanthorpe and plan to launch the publication in 2014.
Published September 15th 2013
A cellar door delight at Ballandean
James Halliday was impressed with Tobin Wines in his 2014 Wine Companion awarding four stars to the boutique vineyard at Ballandean on the Granite Belt. But don't just trust Halliday: visit the cellar door to be seduced by Adrian Tobin as he talks about his award-winning vintages.
Adrian Tobin seducing a group of wine tasters with stories of how he creates his premium wine
His passion is evident as he explains the wine-making process that produces his premium, single-varietal range: Adrian hand-picks the grapes from his 25-40 year old vines, some of the oldest in the region. If you are lucky, and the cellar door is not busy, he may take you on a ramble through the trellises to inspect the vines. Or just perch on a stool near the cosy fire and sit back to listen to his stories.
Adrian follows the French tradition of winemaking focusing on single varietals rather than making blends to allow wine lovers to taste the unique characteristics of each type of wine grape.
Tobin Wines age their vintages in oak before bottling
Tobin Wines is listed on the Granite Belt Wine Country's Strange Bird Alternative Wine Trail for his Verdelho (a white wine) and Tempranillo (a red variety from Portugal), but also makes varieties known to most palettes including Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon .
Adrian has recently released cellared vintages available for tasting alongside younger releases of the same varieties to allow visitors to see how the wine ages and how cellaring changes the character of the wine. His Shiraz is available in two releases, as vintages from single blocks, allowing cellar door visitors to taste the difference of terrior, the unique character under which the grapes are grown between the blocks.
Anyone who considers themselves part of the "ABC" club – Anything But Chardonnay – will think again. I have seen people swear vehemently against chardonnay and then, after a tasting of a Tobin vintage, walk out with several bottles and declare themselves new converts to the grape.
Tobin Wines can be found in select bottle shops and restaurants in Brisbane (try Cru Bar on James St, Fortitude Valley) but you won't find the whole range available.
Each bottle is individually numbered, so you know how many bottles were produced in a vintage
By far the easiest, and best, deal is to join his Wine Club: for $120 every six months, you'll receive 6 bottles of the latest vintages in white and red or set your preferred mix when you join, as well as a newsletter of the latest vintage news. The price per bottle at the cellar door ranges from $28 - $50 per bottle, and Wine Club members receive a 25% discount on extra purchases. For more information, see Tobin Wines online or visit Adrian at the cellar door at Ricca Lane, Ballandean, less than three hours' drive from Brisbane. Cellar door is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
You'll visit Tobin Wines for the wine, stay for Adrian's passion, and walk away with an excellent investment for your bourgeoning cellar of premium Queensland wine.