Welcome to the Artisans of Barossa blog where we bring you news and events from Artisans of Barossa, Vino Lokal and the Barossa region.
In the Barossa Valley region, there’s a story to be told and a history to be learned for everything. Our food at Harvest Kitchen is no exception. Local produce, flavours, personalities and stories all go into our dishes, and an understanding and respect of this turns them into something special. This understanding and respect is part of our ethos, from our people cooking the dishes to the team setting them down on your table. Last week the Harvest Kitchen staff, including yours truly, were provided with the opportunity to learn the story behind our Hutton Vale Lamb.
Hutton Vale Farm can be found just outside Angaston, in the Eden Valley. Up a long dusty track sits a cluster of farm buildings, and there we were welcomed by Jan and John Angas, the current owners and custodians of Hutton Vale. Under the shade of trellised vines, Jan and John explain their own beliefs, methods and stories behind the unique Eden Valley farm.
Their families land has housed sheep for 160 years, all the time focussing on treating the animals with respect, care and above all else using natural farming methods. The sheep are run as a ‘closed flock’; other than buying in rams all the sheep on the farm were born and raised there. This builds a stronger sense of adaptability between the animals and the land, resulting in less stress, happier animals and better quality meat.
A brief stroll around some of the property took us to their small poultry project, side-by-side with their pig pen. As we walked around a piece of land that measures some 2,000 acres it is easy to imagine a large team of farmhands taking up the strain that such a property presents. However the reality is Jan and John, their daughter Kate and her husband Shaun all living on and caring for the property.
Aside from lamb, Hutton Vale have also teamed up with Kym Teusner of Teusner Wines to make the most of the small vineyard on their land. Dry-grown vines, they yield Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. Years ago, while starting his career in winemaking, Kym Teusner came across the Hutton Vale fruit which his then-employer had been buying, describing it as some of the best fruit he had ever seen. Upon starting his own label, Kym approached Jan and John and expressed his interest in their fruit. Now, years later, Hutton Vale have their own label, which we were fortunate enough to taste.
On a balmy Barossan afternoon, sitting in the shade enjoying a glass of Hutton Vale Grenache and copious amounts of home-grown lamb Jan has just pulled out of the oven, it’s easy to forget where this all ends up. Then, looking at my work colleagues next to me, it’s obvious. This is it right here. The carefree nonchalance that goes with great wine, amazing food and good company. All the hard work ends up on a plate, in a glass, and part of a moment that you'll never forget.
Here at Artisans the Tasting Room team are getting their taste buds warmed up and ready to be put to the test. The first of our Wine Club Packs are set to be sent in the first week of November and who better to entrust with the task of making the selections than the fab team we have behind the Tasting Bar. The team are tasting through a selection of the finest examples we have to offer, and as they are well versed as to what you are all loving when you visit you can be sure the selection will be spot on.
To start us off we have two different tiers of wine packs on offer (stay tuned for more to come in the New Year). The Seasonal Selection is the perfect way to stock up on wines that are just right for enjoying now and are matched to the season ahead, this release we are thinking all things Riesling, Rose and lighter slurpy Reds. The Six for the Cellar pack is a great way to stock up on wines that will benefit from some time in the cellar and we will always try and include a wine that has already spent some tim, handy for those impatient souls like myself. This release we are including some old favourites as well as some that are set to be your next go to red from the cellar.
This week sees the arrival of the final wines in our 2015 Riesling line up here at Artisans with the release of two of our favourites in the Sons of Eden Freya and the Teusner Empress. Perfectly timed to coincide with the forecast here for the weekend of sunshine and good times, nothing quite satisfies like an ice cold Riesling on a sunny 34 degree day.
All three will be on tasting all weekend here at Artisans.
Teusner Empress Riesling – If shiraz is King in the Barossa, Riesling is surely Queen!
Intense orange blossom, white flowers and slatey minerality.
Sourced from 2 vineyards within the Eden Valley, one in High Eden and the other is located at the northern end near Keyneton and is a 50yo dry grown vineyard.
Sons of Eden Freya Riesling – Named after the Nordic goddess of Love, War and Fertility
Jasmine and fresh lime and lemon blossom with an intense core of lime and lemon with subtle minerality.
Whole bunch presses and fermented cool to retain aromatics
3 vineyard sites in Eden Valley – 25yo vines from Flaxmans Valley, 41yo vines from Craneford and 17yo vines from High Eden
Spinifex Riesling – the first Riesling in the Spinifex stable and rare for Pete, it’s a single varietal!
Floral notes on the nose of citrus blossom and rose petal, with talcy notes on the palate and fine acid with subtle weight.
25% whole berry ferment, 10% fermented in old French oak and partial malo
Spring in the Barossa heralds the start of the new season and the start of vintage 2016. The vines that have lain dormant over the winter months spring to life as the sap starts to flow and the vines grow greener every day.
While the days are sunny it still gets quite chilly overnight with the risk of frost keeping many a grape grower on their toes. At this stage of the growth cycle frost can cause quite a bit of damage to the young tender growth. Makes you wonder who would be a farmer hey, putting it all in the hands of Mother Nature!
As spring arrives our thoughts turn towards sunnier days, and we start craving lighter and brighter wines. Riesling is generally always the first wine we see released from the previous year’s vintage. This year sees the inaugural release of the Spinifex Riesling. This is the first year that Pete Schell has dabbled with one of the traditional and iconic white varieties of the Barossa. The fruit is sourced from 60 year old vines in the Eden Valley and in typical Pete style the wine has seen varied fermentation techniques not traditionally associated with Riesling. 25% of the fruit is whole bunch fermented and 10% is fermented in old French Oak. All these techniques add a complexity and texture to the wine that is alluring and keeps you going back for more.
The AoB team are eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of the 2015 Sons of Eden Freya and Teusner Empress Riesling, both due in the next few weeks, watch this space.
International Grenache Day
Friday the 18th of September
For anyone who has spent anytime tasting through the wines here at Artisans it will come as no surprise that this has to be our (and mine personally) favourite of all the International <insert grape variety>
Grenache has long been the working horse grape variety here in the Barossa, doing much of the heavy lifting in the Fortified Wine production in the early history of wine production here in the Valley. With its ability to be able to cope incredibly well with our hot dry summers and dry growing conditions it unfortunately fell out of favour in the recent past and we lost many of our historic vineyards during the Vine Pull Scheme of the 1980’s.
From the pulpy, bright and juicy Schwarz Wine Co Meta Grenache to the bunchy & spicy Spinifex Papillon, we have the lighter, brighter styles of Grenache is well covered here at Artisans of Barossa. Bringing in the Joven (Spanish term for young wines) bracket is the Teusner Joshua, a classic trio of the iconic Barossa varieties of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz but with no time in oak. Followed closely behind by the Massena Moonlight Run, where Grenache plays a supporting role to Mataro. We then head into more traditional territory with the ever popular Sons of Eden Kennedy GSM (an ode to the growers who kept their Grenache vines in the ground during the aforementioned Vine Pull Scheme) with structured oak and fruit persistence. For the Grenache purists amongst you all we round out the bunch with two classic examples of old vine Grenache. The Schwarz Thiele Road is from a 75yo vineyard located in Bethany and tended to by the Schwarz family since planting. A classic example of Barossa Grenache with poise and restraint while still retaining presence, dare I say it, Barossa Pinot! Last but by absolutely no means least is the latest addition to the line up, the John Duval Annexus Grenache. Sourced from two 100+ yo vineyards that have stood the test of times and the seasons. A structured Grenache that will benefit from time in the cellar where those old vine Grenache savouriness will shine.