You Can’t Beat the Barossa
As the weather cools, our resident sommelier Tony Cox dreams of a quick trip to the Barossa.
Isn’t it great to experience cooler weather!
For those of us who wish to experience a little more chill, what better way to do it than jump on a plane from our local airport and explore the wine regions that three new destinations offer.
Winter for me screams Adelaide and a trip to the Barossa Valley, where the proliferation of smoked and fermented meats, a legacy of German heritage, can have you wishing you had booked a seat in the pointy end of the plane with extra width for the return journey.
Combining my love of history and wine, a trip to Yalumba in the picturesque hamlet of Angaston is a wine lover’s dream. From the first plantings in 1849, Yalumba has the benefit that six generations of knowledge provide, combined with an eye on the future.
A visit to their cellar door is literally a nod to history. There is the only onsite winery cooperage in the southern hemisphere, where you can experience barrels being made for wine storage.
There is also a vast selection of informative tours suitable for different budgets and knowledge levels.
Obviously, the focus is on Barossa reds and Eden Valley whites. It is important to differentiate between Barossa and Barossa Valley on a label. The former means the grapes can come from both the Eden and Barossa Valleys, where Eden Valley fruit brings a more perfumed and restrained component when compared to the valley floor.
Barossa Valley stipulates the grapes are from the Barossa Valley only and in the case of reds are more generous, textured and richer than their counterparts grown in the Eden Valley.
Let’s roll with a homage to history and The Signature Cabernet Shiraz blend. First made in 1962, the 2016 release of this wine is classically rich with fine tannins. The shiraz component includes fruits from old rootstock which date back to 1925, the oak a mixture of French, Hungarian and American predominantly older of varying sizes.
For lovers of fortified wines let’s not muck around and go straight to the top of the tree, the 50-Year-Old Rare Aged Tawny. For a touch under $200 it deserves a spot in the bar at home or on the drinks trolley. Think concentrated dried fruits, dark chocolate, toffee and caramel – vinous history.
At the other end of the spectrum Yalumba has been at the forefront of varietal and clonal procuration in Australia through its Nursery program, from which it supplies the industry with rootstock and different clones.
Yalumba was the pioneer of viognier in Australia, with The Virgilius from Eden Valley fruit being the benchmark in Australia. With the benefit of time the wine has become more elegant in style with pronounced ginger notes evident along with the atypical apricot and almond flavours. Texture derived from the use of old oak provides roundness to the mid palate – just a wonderful example of what the varietal can do.
There is also a strong commitment to responsible practices with their Sustainable Viticulture Program which commenced in the mid-1990s, their installation of the largest solar system in an Australian winery and commitment to water preservation across their business, including use of varietals which utilise less water.
All up, there has never been a better time to visit our own backyard, from the convenience of our own airport. What better way than take a flight to Adelaide, grab a hire car – or better still a driver, and make your way to the beautiful Barossa where Australia’s vinous history is on display at cellar doors like the one at Yalumba.
Cheers and Good Drinking!!