Ballandean Estate 2019 Late Harvest Sylvaner

If The Granite Belt has a truly iconic wine it would have to be the Ballandean Estate Late Harvest Sylvaner. It’s only made when vintage conditions support the style, the 1991 vintage received acclaim from an Alsace wines expert who rated it as the greatest sylvaner he has ever tasted. I recall purchasing the 1991 from Angelo on 17th June 1995 for $28. The 1993 was just as sensational.

Since the 2012 vintage making this wine has involved the use of refrigeration tanks to make a kind of ‘ice wine’. The process involves refrigerating the juice, removing the top ‘thinner’ layer and then repeating the procedure a second time.  This results in a very concentrated luscious product. This 2019 vintage is next in line for release but not available yet.

Pale gold in the glass, at this stage of it’s life it’s not an especially redolent wine, that will come with further development. Apricot leads the bouquet backed by a melange of poached fruits and slight drifting wafts of orange conserve. This is a very young sylvaner so the palate is soft and caressing the wine has considerable development to come during which it’s luscious viscosity will become far more noticeable.
Colour comparison some ageing in the 2014 (left) Vs the very young 2019.

The palate offers up barley sugar, sweet limes, cumquat, a little orange conserve, stewed apricots and poached pear. The stewed apricots play a slightly more subtle role than the cumquats as they combine in a kind of marmalade relationship with each other. When you go looking further there is also a little lychee and very shy red apple. Some acidity to offset the residual sugar but, perhaps due to the different process using the refrigeration tanks, the acidity has been dialled back a little compared to the 1991 and 1993 wines which had more tang. The overall balance is very good as no one component of the wine dominates the others, instead they are all given ample time to express their qualities. Certainly a complex and highly drinkable wine already, it will become a thing of alluring temptation the longer you cellar it.


Tasted: Saturday 25th July, 2020.
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Price: ? (not yet released)
Suggested Drinking Window: now to 2030+
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Posted by Peter Pacey

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