A trip to the Barossa
Yesterday I headed to the Barossa with some friends who love wine just as much as I do. It was almost surreal driving by vineyards I had tasted and studied, it was fantastic to be able to spend the day there.
We headed over to Rockford Wines where my friend is a “stonewallers” and so we were able to go into a different tasting room from the cellar door.
Here it was important to book and we were looked after by a great guy called Luke who poured us the wine as well as spoke in depth about them, the style and the local region. We tasted wines from $19.50 to $67. Their Rieslings were fantastic and the ones nearer the $20 were even more exceptional, because of the value, quality and fruit structure at that price point. Luke explained in detail about the wines and I was particularly interested in the learning how they support the local growers in the Barossa. Their 2015 Local Growers Semillon was well structured with persistent length, I had to buy a few bottles.
During the tasting we tried:
- 2017 Vine Vale Riesling, $35.50
- 2015 Eden Valley Riesling, $23.50
- 2015 Local Growers Semillon, $23
- 2017 White Frontignanc, $19.50
- 2017 Alicante Bouchet, $21
- 2016 Frugal Farmer (Grenache/Mataro/Alicante Bouschet), $23
- 2014 Moppa Springs, $29.50
- 2014 Rod & Spur, $36
- 2015 Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon, $48
- 2014 Basket Press Shiraz, $66
- Sparkling Black Shiraz 2017, $67
- S.Marion Tawny, $38
- 2009 Cane Cut Semillon, $30.50
We then went to Ferment Asian for lunch, a stunning Vietnamese restaurant set up by chef, Tuoi Do and husband Grant Dickson. The restaurant is open for lunch; Thursday to Sunday12 noon till 2.30 pm. Then for dinner the restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday 6.00 pm till 9.30 pm.
From the outside it looks unassuming. It is an old house with a simple sign out the front. You enter into the hallway and our table was off in a room to the right. As you head further into the restaurant, you pass by their impressive wine cellar with glass wall and door to the left and further seating is straight on and to the right. I was tempted to ask to go into the wine cellar and stare at all the beautiful wines but thought better to sit at the table and peruse the wine list. Grant Dickson has put together an impressive list over 90 pages of different wines, grape styles and varieties. The history of the winery or winemaker with information about the particular vintage and tasting note is described in detail in the wine list. I don’t think I’ve ever see such an extensive and informative wine list.
I had a glass of a Mas De Libian ‘Bout d’Zan’ Rosé (Grenache/Counoise/Syrah) Ardèche, Côtes du Rhone to start. Then over lunch the three of us shared a bottle of a 1993 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese from Saarburg, Saar (Germany). We ordered the Chef’s Tasting Menu at $70 a head. Tuoi Do brought out the beautiful dishes. Each meal was so divine and flavorsome, I savoured every mouthful. The team supports local produce and all food is locally sourced.
From memory I think we had three appetisers; the Hanoi Spring Rolls with fresh herbs and classic Vietnamese dipping sauce, Fresh betel leaves with sticky caramelised Hampshire pork and also grilled SA prawns with citrus salad.
For mains we had Barossa Hampshire pork belly with ginger and orange sauce along with stir-fried seasonal vegetables, garlic and fish sauce. I believe we also had grilled spiced Barossa chicken with green papaya, peanuts as well as Massaman Curry of Mayura Station Wagyu beef. There was also a divine meaty fish dish we had. We had coffee to perk us up and to be ready for the next tasting!
After lunch we headed over to Bethany wines, now run by fifth and sixth generations of the Schrapel family. They first planted vines back in 1852 and is one of the oldest established winemakers in the Barossa Valley. From their cellar door, they have a lovely view of part of the valley and Bethany village. The cellar door I believe is from an old quarry which has been renovated beautifully. When we were there, we were lucky enough to meet the owner, Geoff Schrapel who kindly opened the East Grounds Shiraz, it was fantastic, so much depth and length in this beautiful wine.
We tasted through their current range which included:
- 2016 Eden Valley Riesling, $24
- 2015 Semillon, $24
- 2015 Chardonnay, $24
- 2013 Steinbruch Riesling, $18
- 2017 Rosé (Grenache and Touriga), $25
- 2016 Old Vine Grenache, $26
- 2016 Shiraz Cabernet, $26
- 2014 Barossa Cabernet Merlot, $26
- 2015 Barossa Shiraz, $35
- 2016 East Grounds Shiraz, $48
- 2013 LE Reserve Shiraz, $55
- Old Quarry Barossa Fronti (White Port), $26
- Old Quarry Barossa Tawny Port, $26
It was wonderful to visit such a famous wine region but next time, I would love to go for a few days, if I could; one day passes just too quick!