We are currently in the thick of the vintage, familiar territory for us after 3 previous harvests. We have become accustomed to the winemaking techniques that set Australia apart from other wine regions and have even picked up some new Aussie phrases such as, “Bob’s your Uncle” which we are still trying to decipher the meaning of. As far as we can tell it’s something equivalent to, “oh well, that’s the way it goes”, but even after asking, we’re still not 100% positive.
We are excited to be working with some different varietals this time around, including some white wines and fortified wines. For those new to wine, one of the big differences between white and red wines is that white wines are pressed immediately, prior to fermentation, and red wines are left to ferment on their skins in order to exptract color and tannin. Our first few weeks of crushing consisted purely of white varietals including Chardonnay, Semillon and Reisling. When these wines started fermenting, the tank farm was transformed into an olfactory play land , filled with the amazing aromas of tropical fruit and blossoming flowers.
We now have the addition of some red varietals including Shiraz (Barossa’s signature grape), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This harvest is expected to be one of the earliest and shortest on account of the hot, dry conditions. Grape counts are down throughout the Barossa but the quality remains high. When the Grenache comes in, it usually signifies the end of the harvest. We’re hoping not to see those grapes for a while longer!
Here is a mash up of pictures from our last few weeks. Cheers!
If you are in the area, here is a line up of wineries we’ve recently enjoyed tasting at:
Yalumba: Oldest family owned winery in the Barossa. They do everything onsite, even make some of their own barrels! Beautiful grounds and some really nice bottles! Probably our all around favorite tasting in the area. We even walked in on the filming of the next season of Master Chef Professionals Australia!
TeAro Estate: Small family owned operation. Gorgeous little tasting room. We enjoyed their Grenaches and their hospitality.
Two Hands: They enjoy a loyal following in the States and it’s easy to see why. Not a bad bottle in the line up. If you are itching to see what the big, kick-you-in-the-teeth Australian Shiraz’s are all about, you can find those here as well as a mix of milder versions. Your tasting fee is donated to charity.
Torbreck: Really nice wines. Some of our favorite wines next to Yalumba. In the affordable price range we liked The Steading, a GSM or Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro blend. We would know it in the States as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
Shaw & Smith: The tasting here comes with a $15 fee (most in the area are free or applied to a purchase) and a pairing of local cheeses. We enjoyed both the cheeses and the wines. We went home with a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc.