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March 17, 2021

Ballandean Estate building upon stellar Saperavi reputation

Rare and alternative wine release

Ballandean Estate is releasing its much-anticipated 2018 vintage single-vineyard Saperavi, a full-bodied rare and alternative red. The Granite Belt has garnished itself a fearsome reputation for this varietal, originating in Soviet Georgia, where they have been making wine for more than 8000 years.

The 2018 vintage will be available for tasting at Ballandean Estate’s cellar door and for sale online from Friday 19 March onwards, RRP $42.

Strange Bird™ varietal takes out Saperavi World Prize gold medal

Estate founder Angelo Puglisi says:

“We are excited about taking the Granite Belt’s reputation for Saperavi even higher. Our granite soils reflect heat onto the fruit—speeding the ripening during the day, with cool temperatures overnight—resulting in mature, intensely-flavoured fruit.

Ballandean Estate’s Saperavi has had great success nationally and internationally. In 2018, Ballandean Estate entered the Saperavi World Prize for the first time and came third in the world with its 2015 Saperavi.

All three Granite Belt wineries that entered in 2018 were awarded a gold medal, an outstanding result for the Granite Belt,”

says Mr Puglisi, well-known for his experimentation with different varietals and Strange Bird advocacy

A word from the winemaker

“Ballandean Estate’s Saperavi is revered for its velvet tannins, viscosity and deep ink-purple in the glass.

He goes on to describe the wine as having “an acidic structure, with an aromatic fruit-driven palate, lightly integrated French oak and a dry lingering finish.”

Angelo Puglisi was one of the first to plant it on the Granite Belt. We’ve been making Saperavi for a decade now, since 2011.

Last year’s climatic conditions saw us without a Saperavi harvest at all, just too dry. We have been blessed with a small but superlative 2021 Saperavi harvest. It is one of our rarest alternative wines, we produce just under 300 cases most years.”

Ballandean Estate recently participated in the inaugural Saperavi Symposium, where the handful of Saperavi producers In Australia gathered together for the first time in 2020.


Handpicked after careful monitoring in the vineyard to ensure the perfect balance between flavour, acidity and tannin ripeness.

  • Long fermentation is followed by 14 months in reserve French oak barrels that are one to three years of age.
  • Higher proportion of new oak in this wine due to big fruit structure and high alcohol.
  • French oak soaks up tannin to build a big palate structure.


  • In our Bellevue vineyard, the Saperavi vines we planted in 2008 have an ancient look, with nobbly shoots reminiscent of arthritic fingers!
  • Angelo was keen to experiment with this Strange Bird™ varietal, as its mid-season ripening makes it less risky than other reds.
  • The granite soils reflect heat onto the fruit—speeding the ripening during the day, with cool temperatures overnight—resulting in mature, intensely-flavoured fruit.

So much to love!

Saperavi 2018 vintage

  • Varietal—Saperavi 
    100% Ballandean Estate single-vineyard fruit
  • Dry, full-bodied, well-structured with juicy red berries and fine tannins integrating with light oak to give a lingering finish
  • RRP $42
  • Alc/Vol 15.6%
  • Colour—deep purple
  • Cellaring potential—Drink from now to 10 years. Careful cellaring will see restrained flavours, earthiness and blueberry, cherry and plum burst onto the scene as the acids and tannins subside over time. French oak provides richness and integrates well.
  • Winemaker—Dylan Rhymer
  • Viticulturalist—Angelo Puglisi

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