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Tasting the Aussie's wine
Barossa Valley (Australia)
Member Name: catsholiday
Barossa Valley (Australia)
Date: 15/09/10, updated on 27/10/11 (57 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting scenery and great wines
Disadvantages: None for me
This is probably one of Australia's best know wine growing areas and is about sixty kilometres northwest of Adelaide and about an hour's drive away. The region got its name from the famous founder of Adelaide city, Surveyor - General Colonel William Light. He named the area after a place where the English were victorious in battle in the Spanish Peninsular War but someone later misspelled this changing it to the Australian Barossa that we now know.
The Barossa Valley was originally settled by people of German origin around 1838 and a lot of the towns have German sounding names and it is the German influence that started the wine industry in this area. The town of Bethany was founded in 1842. English free settlers also moved into the area and it is the combined German agrarian roots and English country gentlemen that created the unusual Barossa culture which is quite different from other areas of Australia. The money from the English settlers started the commercial wine industry in the 1859 but it really began to take off in the 1880s so it has a very long history compared to other 'New World Wines'.
We stayed in the lovely Novetel in the Barossa Valley with views from our room overlooking the Jacob's Creek vineyard. The morning after we arrived we were up fairly early and watched the sun rise from our room. There were beautiful pink clouds that gradually lightened as the sun rose. After this we went for a walk nearby the golf course and saw four grey kangaroos but they hopped off before we could get too close. We also spotted crested doves and rainbow lorikeets. We came back for a coffee on our veranda and to sit in the sun before leaving at 10 o' clock for our wine tasting.
Our first stop was at Cockatoo Ridge vineyard where we were offered several wines to try but we choose the first two sparkling wines which were very nice. This vineyard is on the main road between the two main Barossa towns of Tanunda and Nuriootpa. It was formerly the site of the Hardy's Siegersdorf winery which was built in about 1930. This vineyard began making wines under this label in 1990 when the award winning wine maker Geoff Merrill decided to develop a range of easy to drink wines with this lovely label using the Australian sulphur crested cockatoo. He wanted a range of non-serious pleasant wines as he felt the wine industry took itself too seriously and he also realized that many non-expert people were enjoying drinking good quality but not expensive wines.
After this we drove to Angaston to a dried fruit shop where we bought some tasty dried apricots in yogurt/carob and rolled in coconut and a wonderful dried fruit cake. The Angas Park Fruit Company began operation as a humble dried fruit packing shed in 1911 and the shop we visited is on the very same site that the fruit packing shed stood. This was a very good place to buy really fresh dried fruit and the cake we bought was delicious, almost solid fruit and nuts.
The town is full of gourmet shops and other traditional crafts and it has a population of around 2000 and is considered to be more English than German in its settlement.
We then progressed to the Jacob's Creek vineyard where we had a very interesting talk about the vineyard and their wines and we were surprised by the fact that all their wines are bottles there and exported bottled. Outside we were shown the different vines which were all planted in display rows so that we could see all their different varieties. Then back inside we went for the all important tasting of several wines prior to our lunch.
We were booked into the Jacob's Creek restaurant for our lunch and we had a room just for our tour group. We were offered a glass of wine - choice of about 6 then they brought a huge plate of starters, olives, sundried tomatoes, feta, halloumi with bacon wrapped around it, stuffed mushrooms, pate, pumpkin dip, fried pita/wraps in small pieces , also mini filled arts. It was delicious and really tasty. My husband and I choose whiting fillets for our main course from the choice of lamb chicken or whiting. There were plenty of vegetables and also salad to go with it. It was a lovely meal in a very pleasant restaurant with a view of the vineyards.
This is a lovely part of Australia with rolling hills covered in vineyards as well as areas of native bush. The architecture is quite German with lovely stone Lutheran churches and small townships set in the Australian countryside. The area enjoys a very Mediterranean climate with sunny spring days, hot summers and cooler winter months but does not get the extremes that are experienced in other parts of Australia.
The area is proud of the fact that it is the only Australian destination to be listed in the New York Times list of "53 places to go in 2008". Also in 2008 it was named as one of the World's top ten wine destinations by TripAdvisor!
We thoroughly enjoyed our couple of days in the area and particularly enjoyed the Novotel with its views over the Jacob's Creek winery as a place to stay. We also appreciated the tour we had at the Jacob's Creek vine yard and compared to the rubbish visit we had of the Con Y Tora vineyard outside Santiago in Chile this was amazing. They were not only informative but also generous with the tastings and very friendly as well.
Thanks for reading and trust this has been of some interest to you. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Summary: Lovely part of Australia and good wines too
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