What could be more patriotic than spending Australia Day weekend in the Barossa Valley drinking some gutsy reds? Admittedly the traditional Australia Day is probably spent with a beer around the barbie but I decided to class it up this year with a trip to South Australia.
There are so many wineries packed into the Barossa Valley that we really only managed to scratch the surface of this world renowned wine region. I also found that the wineries we visited were very generous in the amount the poured for tastings and the amount of time staff spent conducting tastings so it was only possible to squeeze one or two wineries in to an afternoon.
A long lunch at Pindarie was the perfect way to kick off our Barossa Valley trip. Inside the restored stone house which serves as a tasting room we did a tasting and ended up with the crisp 2012 Pindarie Hills Riesling ($8) because it was such a hot day. Sitting out under the gum tree on the lawn we ate the shearers platter ($45 to share between two) of Schulz’s duck terrine and slivers of smoked soppressa, cacciatore and prosciutto. There was washrind cheese, Alexandrina cheddar and Kalamata olives.
Details: Pindarie, 946 Rosedale Road, Gomersal South Australia (Ph 08 85249019).
Damage: Tastings free and lunch reasonable.
Kids welcome – there is play equipment, toys and a change table.
Hentley Farm Wines
There’s a top class restaurant at Hentley Farm but we just popped in for a tasting in the beautiful old sandstone farmhouse. The Grenache Rosé ($19) here is brilliant because its light and creamy but not sweet. I loved the friendly service in the tasting room. Of course the Barossa is famous for its shiraz and the Hentley Farm Shiraz does not disappoint. There’s lots of tannin and a lovely berry taste to the entry level bottle ($25).
Details: Hentley Farm, Corner of Gerald Roberts Rd and Jenke Rd, Seppeltsfield South Australia (Ph 08 8562 8427)
Damage: Tastings are free, lunch is pricey.
Artisans of Barossa
This winery is brilliant because it showcases a range of small producers. Of the tastings we did the stand out was the John Duval Wines Plexus ($40). Duval was the chief wine maker at Penfolds before going out on his own to make beautifully balanced wines like this blend of Shirz, Grenache and Mourvedere. Forget the stereotypes of heavy and tannin rich Barossa reds, the Plexus is gutsy but refined.
As we visited Artisans of Barossa on Australia Day there was a special BBQ of chicken or lam kebabs on flat bread ($10). We also tried the charcuterie plate ($22) which is regularly available on the menu. I loved the addition of a small dish of pickled vegetables to cut through the fattiness of the meat.
Details: Artisans of Barossa, Light Pass Rd, Vine Vale South Australia (Ph 08 8563 3935)
Damage: Tastings free and food is reasonable.
Kids: Very accomodating with high chairs, a toy basket and nappy changing facilities.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew to Adelaide with Virgin and paid around $200 return.
- We hired a car through Ace Rentals for $55 a day. While there were no problems with the car, Ace is located outside the airport terminal so I wouldn’t recommend using Ace for a weekend trip as you waste too much time getting to and from the pick up point.