Mercure picks their top Queensland wines

Not before time, a major hotel group is taking the local wine industry seriously with the launch of another Mercure 2010 “Grands Vins Mercure”, a wine list dedicated to showcasing Queensland wines.

The 2010 Queensland Grands Vins selection is available at Mercure hotels in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, giving visitors a true taste of the Sunshine State. The wine list is changed twice yearly.

Wines come from a number of boutique wineries in the Stanthorpe region, recognised as Queensland’s premier wine area, as well as from emerging wine regions such as South Burnett, the Darling Downs and the Gold Coast Hinterlands.

Reflecting Queensland wineries’ experimentation with grape varieties and styles, the list includes varietals such as sylvaner and verdelho amongst the whites, along with more traditional chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and semillon selections. The reds include straight tempranillo and cabernet franc wines as well as merlot, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

Accor Regional General Manager Queensland, Neil Scanlan, said that the launch of the new Queensland wine list was not only a vote of confidence in the Queensland wine industry, but also for Queensland tourism.

“Queensland wines have improved dramatically in recent years and we have had a great reaction from guests since introducing the Queensland Grands Vins wine list a few years ago, but there is still reluctance by most hotels and restaurants to fully represent the State’s wine produce,” he said.

“When visitors come to Queensland they want to get an appreciation of the destination in many ways, and wine and food is very much part of the travel experience. While Queensland doesn’t have the size of wine industry as its southern counterparts, it is really working hard to bring the wine and tourism experience together, as can be seen by the creation of the Strange Bird wine trail up to the Granite Belt. Even if visitors can’t get to these wine areas, they can at least try them at a Mercure hotel.

“What is really important with the Grands Vins wine list is the pricing. We want to dispel the myth that good wine is only associated with high-end restaurants and high-end prices. Mercure’s Grands Vins shows it is possible to enjoy great wines – many from smaller vineyards - at very attractive prices, by both the glass and by the bottle.”

The Grands Vins wine list is designed to make wine selection easier, grouping wines in four particular styles – fresh and tasty; fruity and light; balanced & elegant and spicy and full bodies – to help guests choose the most suitable wine for every occasion and for every dish, while introducing wines from a range of distinctive wineries that guests might not otherwise have a chance to experience.

Every wine offered has been selected by an expert tasting panel comprising sommeliers, wine connoisseurs and food and beverage professionals, and, importantly, final judging is conducted with appropriate food courses to ensure the wines are “food friendly”. Some 80 per cent of wine sold at Mercure hotels is consumed with food, so compatibility with food was a major judging criteria.

The launch of the Queensland Grands Vins list is part of a national roll-out of the concept, with State-based lists prepared for NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. Internationally, Mercure has been offering Grands Vins selections in Europe since 1983.

So, which wines made the cut?  Here's the list:


  • Felsberg 2009 Sylvaner (Glen Aplin, Granite Belt)
A wine for those with sweeter palates, this has lovely softness on the palate, upfront fruit and quite low alcohol. Great with spicy dishes.

  • Tobin Wines 2009 “Kate” Sauvignon Blanc (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
An appealing combination of tropical fruit flavours and herbaceous characters make this a lovely drink that dry and nicely tangy on the finish.

  • Symphony Hill 2009 Pinot Gris (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
A zingy, zesty and lively wine with plenty of upfront appeal, this has crisp apple and juicy stone-fruit flavours and nice crisp acid. From an outstanding winery and very refreshing.

  • Clovely Estate 2009 “Left Field” Semillon (South Burnett)
Semillon is an under-rated grape variety that deserves to be more popular. This is crisp, clean and slightly grassy with nice freshness and acidity. Versatile with food.

  • Sirromet 2008 “820 Above” Verdelho (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
This Portuguese grape variety thrives in Queensland conditions and is a benchmark style with tropical fruit freshness and liveliness on the palate.

  • Witches Falls 2008 Wild Ferment Chardonnay (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
Chardonnay is always popular and there are funky characters to be found in this well-balanced wine that has grapefruit hints and plenty of integrated toasty oak.   

  • Heritage Estate 2008 School Block Merlot (Stanthorpe, Granite Belt)
Merlot is a grape that produces soft, easy-drinking reds. This is a smooth customer with plum and wild berry flavours, hints of spice and integrated oak.

  • Golden Grove 2008 Tempranillo (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
This family-owned winery is using a number of alternative grape varieties with huge sucesss. This has vibrant cherry/berry characters and hints of pepper and spice. Really lovely.

  • Rimfire Winery 2006 Cabernet Franc (Darling Downs)
A nicely mature red with plenty of length and depth of flavour, hints of red fruit, mint and pepper on the palate. Well worth trying with meat dishes.

  • Mount Tamborine Vineyards 2007 Shiraz Cabernet (Mount Tamborine)
From the hills behind the Gold Coast comes this red blend that won a gold medal at the Australian Small Winemakers Show. It’s mouthfilling, soft and smooth.

  • Ballandean Estate 2007 Family Reserve Shiraz (Ballandean, Granite Belt)
This family owned winery was one of the pioneers of fine wine in Queensland. This has nice juicy fruit and lovely balance. An elegant, cool-climate style that’s great with red meats.

  • O’Reilly’s 2008 Viola Cabernet Sauvignon (Canungra Valley)
Dark berry aromas and flavours are notable on this is soft and refined cool-climate cabernet that is extremely easy to drink with or without food.