Let’s celebrate International Tannat Day with renowned producer of Tannat in the Granite Belt and member of QWIA, Tony Hassall of Just Red Wines!
Tony, his wife Julia and son Michael first planted Tannat in 2010 at their vineyard in Ballandean, with the first vintage in 2014.
Tony was a Wine Industry Development Officer for the Department of Primary Industries and part of his role was to research grape varieties. In doing so he discovered that the French red grape Tannat stood out as what might thrive in the Granite Belt climate.
Historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) Tannat is actually now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the "national grape". Both the Madiran region and Uruguay get a lot of rain and Tannat stands up to lots of rain quite well - this year Tony considers it his best wine despite the considerable wet weather of late.
Tony believes Tannat is one of the easiest grape varieties to grow and it consistently produces good wine year after year.
“Tannat produces wine with a fair amount of tannin which makes it ideal for blending and adds a beautiful colour,” and he would know, one of Just Red’s signature wines is the “CMT”, a Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat which recently won Bronze at the 2021 Queensland Wine Awards.
For a straight Tannat, Tony recommends allowing in a bit of oxygen during the winemaking process to soften and mellow the tannins. In saying that, Queensland grown Tannat naturally doesn’t have as much tannin compared to its Madiran counterpart, Tony believes this is mainly due to climatic factors.
Not only is Tony a winemaker and wine researcher but he has written a book – Winegrape growing in the Granite Belt a practical guide, check it out here.
Boireann is another Queensland winery that produces Tannat.
Happy International Tannat Day, make sure you try a Queensland Tannat to celebrate and don’t forget to register for the upcoming Queensland and Australia International Emerging Varieties Wine Challenge to try more emerging varieties such as this.