The Beautiful Barossa ValleyArtisans and Taste Eden Tasting Rooms
Down in the Barossa, there are a few tasting rooms that showcase the offerings of more than one producer. They’re the perfect places to check out the smaller producers and to mix up a really interesting case of plonk.
Artisans (www.artisansofbarossa.com) was our first stop. There are seven producers there and I love all of them. Spinifex continues to make amazing wines, including a couple of new offerings from the Adelaide Hills, such as an Aglianico ($25). The stuff out of Teusner is great as well, particularly the ever-popular Riebke Shiraz. I also loved the Sons of Eden range. Their Freya Riesling ($25) is good value and the Kennedy Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre ($25) is incredibly smooth. The Romulus and Remus Shirazes ($70 each) are making huge waves with critics too. All of the other producers at Artisans are killing it, so pop in and mix up a case.
Taste Eden (www.tasteedenvalley.com.au) is another great place to pop into. There is a huge range of wines available there, particularly some amazing Rieslings. Eden Hall and Torzi Matthews are two of my perennial favourites and they even have some mixed cases ready to go. The quality is great and the value is even better, with a huge range under $40. Stop in and let them walk you through a tasting, or check out their website.
Marco Cirillo (www.cirilloestatewines.com.au) is the custodian of some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world, at around 160 years old. I’ve long been a fan of his 1850s Grenache, and he continues to refine the style. Marco spent a couple of hours with us, taking us through his latest offerings (they’re all looking phenomenal), as well as showing us a few wines in barrel – there’s something pretty special about tasting wines straight from the barrel.
Marco has a Shiraz, an entry-level Grenache (The Vincent) and even a straight Mataro, all of which are good value wines, so be sure to put a few of each in when you place your order. It’s the 1850s Grenache that I love, though. My wife hadn’t tasted much Grenache before, but after trying this drop, she was absolutely hooked. I think we’ll be drinking a fair whack of this in the future.
Marco also helped us get a reservation at one of the best restaurants in town: FermentAsian. If you’re going to the Barossa, do not miss this place, but be sure to book ahead.
We went here to taste their 100 year-old port. That’s right, 1914 vintage. This wine has lived through both world wars. It’s utter insanity that it even exists. It cost a bit to taste ($40 from memory), but you also got to taste their $150 ‘Uber’ Shiraz. The port was so thick, it was almost like treacle – think dark coffee, or molasses. A lot of it stuck to the side of the glass and we were encouraged to use our fingers to scoop it out to get all of it – what an experience!
Other Places Worth A Visit
We stopped into a few of my favourites, including Henschke, Rockford, Charles Melton, Rusden and Kaesler. We even did a blending class at Penfolds, which was fascinating. They gave us some Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, and we had to try to blend them together in the right ratio to match one of their wines. Too light? Put a bit more Shiraz in. It was a really interesting day (for a wine nerd).