Friday, 23 January 2015

Friday Five: Barossa Wineries

Our trip to Adelaide was mainly for the cycling, but obviously, one can't pass through the Barossa region without stopping at a winery or two. Or a dozen. So we did, and here are some of them.

Bethany Wines cellar door
5 Wineries We Visited on Our Barossa Trip:
  1. Peter Lehmann - set among fabulous gardens and cultivated lawns, this was a wonderful place to start (and handily just round the corner from our accommodation). In 1979 there was a grape glut and the growers couldn't sell their grapes, so Peter Lehmann set up saying, 'Give me your grapes, and I'll make your wine'. Of course the growers had to trust him and wait for at least three years before they saw a return - it seems to have been successful! We drank many different shirazes, ranging in price from $20 to $100. Top Drop: 2010 Stonewell Shiraz; a classic example of the rich concentrated old vine style, packed with flavours of dark fruits and chocolate, with a touch of aniseed.
  2. Wolf Blass - Him Outdoors had a particular inclination to see this winery. It was one of the first in the region, and although it's big and somewhat corporate, it didn't disappoint. We were served by Jenny who did an excellent job, explaining all the different labels to us (red; yellow; silver; gold; white; grey; brown; sapphire; black; platinum) and talking us through the range. Founder Wolfgang Blass believes that the winemakers of the Barossa should really just stick to shiraz, and, on the evidence of this tasting, they could do worse than heed his advice. Top Drop: 2012 Brown Label Classic Shiraz; an intriguing blend of the same grape from three different regions - Barossa; McLaren Vale; Langhorn Creek - produces a soft and approachable wine that is still robust and richly flavoured. The brown label was not a successful marketing colour, but was reinstated for the year of Wolfgang's 80th birthday with much greater success.
  3. Bethany Wines - Bethany itself is a beautiful little spot steeped in German history; the village was settled in 1842 by 28 families who emigrated from Prussia. The Schrapel family planted their first vines here in 1852, and the winemaking philosophy is to produce food-friendly, elegant wines. Top Drop: Old Quarry Fonti; white port made from Muscat QP Blanc Muscadelle grapes grown on some of the oldest vines at the Homestead Vineyard, harvested late in the season, then fortified with premium quality brandy seasoned in oak barrels. It has aromas of caramelised fruit and nuances of orange marmalade - delicious!
  4. Two Hands - the experience is a little different from other cellar doors; we were invited through to the patio, given the wine list and encouraged to pick and choose samples from it. Top Drop: Twelftree Grenache Rose; of course we had to try the wine with this label! The Twelftree wines are an exclusive selection of six wines handmade by Michael Twelftree on a very small scale, using a blend of new and traditional techniques to maintain the purity of the grape variety and showcase the regional characteristics. The Grenache Rose from Moppa Springs is bright, aromatic, energetic and strictly limited (with only 50 cases being produced).
  5. Yalumba - A marvellous tasting in the chateau followed by a tour of the cooperage, which Him Outdoors was very keen to see. We popped in just as they were closing but one of the lads (Corey) was happy to stay around and chat and answer all his questions. The cooperage is not lucrative or even economically viable, but it is quite the marketing exercise and all part of the tourism. Top Drop: 2012 Virgilius; Eden Valley Viognier from old vines which produces a great intensity of aroma (orange blossom and ginger) with a long opulent palate, rich with apricot, stone-fruit and spice flavours, and a fresh citrus finish.
Wolf Blass tasting room

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