Welcome to the Artisans of Barossa blog where we bring you news and events from Artisans of Barossa, Vino Lokal and the Barossa region.
This year, John Duval Wines are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their foundation vintage, and have added a sixth wine to their range. Plexus was first in 2003, followed by Entity (’04) and Eligo (’05) in quick succession before a short hiatus leading to the release of Plexus White (’10) and Annexus Grenache(’13).) 2018 sees the release of the first vintage of Annexus Mataro from the stellar 2016 vintage, and this is what John had to say about the new wine.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Mataro, it’s a critical element of Plexus and a grape variety that deserves to be celebrated by Barossa winemakers. We’ve sourced fruit from this dry grown 100 year old vineyard at Light Pass for all the years we’ve produced Plexus - and with 2016 being such a great vintage the time was right to release a small quantity of Mataro under the Annexus label. We’re very happy with the first release wine - it shows plenty of classic savoury spiced fruit on the nose and powerful, yet restrained black fruit flavours on the palate, supported by ample, long flowing waves of tannin. It sits very comfortable amongst our small family of wines. Will we make an Annexus Mataro every year? I think the answer to that is entirely dependent on the qualities of future vintages.”
Also this weekend, the new vintage of Eligo will be available for tasting - the 2015 vintage. John’s aim with Eligo is to produce a structured but elegant expression of Barossa Shiraz - a wine with restrained power, rich texture and palate length in the classic John Duval Wines mould. From a master winemaker with access to exceptional and rare Barossa vineyards, the release of the 2015 Eligo will be one of the highlights of 2018 at Artisans.
John will be our Winemaker in the House this weekend at Artisans, from 12-4pm both Saturday and Sunday presenting these brilliant new release wines along with the rest of the family of wines that has been carefully framed over the past 15 years. Not to be missed!
Congratulations to Sons of Eden whose 2015 Remus Eden Valley Shiraz has just been awarded Best Shiraz at the 2018 Winewise Championship.
The Winewise Championship is open to gold medal-winning wines from regional and the National Wine Show. It is judged by winemakers, media commentators, retail trade people and Winewise to decide the “best of the best”.
Buy wine: /product/Sons-of-Eden-Remus-Shiraz-2015
Are you looking for some inspiration to get you through the last week of summer holidays? Whether it's cooling down, burning off some energy, or treating the little ones with an ice cream sundae while the grown-ups enjoy a treat of their own ( you know we're talking about wine!) - the Bethany to Angaston Trail has something to keep everyone happy.
The Bethany Reserve is a great spot to spend a few hours. Well equipped with a shelter, bbqs, toilets and picnic tables, you can enjoy a picnic lunch and let the kids burn off some energy. There’s a playground and plenty of room to kick a ball, or the more adventurous could explore the creek area (keep an eye out for wildlife).
Local’s Tip - Our picnic would include some local specialties from Steiny’s Traditional Mettwurst (F6) and the Barossa Cheese Company (F1), and perhaps a bottle of multi-award winning Grenache from nearby Bethany Wines (W3).
Bethany Road, Bethany.
image by The Barossa Council
Barossa Sculpture Park at Mengler Hill
Enjoy expansive views of the Barossa Valley from the Mengler Hill lookout while discovering sculptures that reflect the spirit, environment and ambience of the Barossa region. Get the kids to explain their thoughts on the art – or just enjoy walking through the local marble and granite pieces.
Mengler Hill Road, Tanunda
Image by Art Music Design Barossa
Barossa Farmers Market
The Barossa Farmers Market is a ‘must-do’ if you are visiting the region on a Saturday. Stallholders have an amazing array of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, meats, smallgoods, baked goods, fresh milk, honey, olive oil, muesli and confectionery (with many available for tasting).
Local’s Tip – have breakfast at the market. Options include a special kid’s breakfast, pancakes and the legendary Market Burger.
Saturday 7.30am – 11.30am
Corner Stockwell Road & Nuriootpa Road, Angaston
Phone 0402 026 882
Map Location: F2
Image by the Barossa Farmers Market
Water Park – Barossa Valley Discovery Park
The recently opened Waterpark is a fantastic place for the whole family to cool down. The Waterpark includes 3 slides, a huge tipping bucket, water cannons, spray zones and a new resort-style pool.
Local’s Tip – call ahead to check availability as priority is given to guests staying at the park.
Barossa Valley Discovery Park
Barossa Valley Way, Tanunda
Phone (08) 8563 2784
Map Location: A2
Image by Discovery Parks
Artisans of Barossa / Harvest Kitchen
Views, vines, wines, cricket and ice cream – Artisans of Barossa and Harvest Kitchen have something to keep all ages entertained! Wine tastings from 6 artisan winemakers, all-day dining at Harvest Kitchen (including several vegetarian and gluten free options), vineyard views, beanbags, a large grassy area just perfect for an impromptu game of cricket and did we mention the ice cream sundaes...
Artisans of Barossa / Harvest Kitchen
Open 7 days 11am – 6pm
Corner Magnolia Road & Light Pass Road, Tanunda
Phone 08 8563 3935
Map Location: W1
Download your copy of the Bethany to Angaston Trail Map here - https://bethanyangastontrail.com/the-map/
Plan your Barossa visit at www.barossa.com
Learn about Barossa Wine at www.barossawine.com
I hate to say I told you so but … well, I told you so.
In my first column for this newspaper a year ago I hailed grenache as a grape variety on the rise in Australia. And look what a huge year 2017 turned out to be for this once-maligned red wine.
At the Barossa Wine Show in September, the 2016 Bethany Old Vine Grenache won three trophies, including the gong for best wine of show. And in October the 2016 Turkey Flat Grenache, from a vineyard just up the road from Bethany, won the famous Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy. It's the first time a wine made from grenache has won the Jimmy, and from what I can gather it's also the first time the grape has achieved such prominence in the Barossa show.
It came as no surprise, then, to learn that during the 2017 vintage the Artisans of Barossa group decided to play a little game with some grenache grapes to explore the role of winemaking in the expression of terroir.
The Artisans are six wine producers – John Duval Wines (John and his son Tim), Sons of Eden (Corey Ryan and Simon Cowham), Massena (Jaysen Collins), Schwarz Wine Co (Jason Schwarz), Spinifex (Pete Schell), and Hobbs of Barossa Ranges (Greg and Allison Hobbs) – who share a beautiful cellar-door tasting room near Tanunda in the heart of the Barossa.
In late March, they each picked a parcel of grenache grapes from the 46-year-old Quarry Hill vineyard near Angaston and took the fruit back to their respective wineries. A fascinating project: same vineyard, same fruit, harvested at the same ripeness, but six different approaches to winemaking. How would they turn out? Would vineyard character – terroir – triumph? Or would the fermentation techniques stomp all over the flavour of the grapes and produce six wines that reflected maker more than provenance?
It's not the first time something like this has been done. In 2008, 2010 and again in 2015, for example, a group of six grape-treaders (including Pete Schell from Spinifex) ran a similar exercise with shiraz grapes from the Chalk Hill vineyard, with the wines sold in a six-pack under the Alpha Crucis label.
The Grenache Project six-pack was released just before Christmas. The Artisans kindly sent me the wines to taste, which I did, blind, over a number of days. And I can tell you that right now, 10 months after vintage, the winemaking influence is far more obvious than the vineyard-derived characters that all six wines should, theoretically, share (they were made from the same fruit, remember).
This fits with my experience of other wines made from the same site by a number of producers. In their youth, the differences can be stark, thanks to factors such as how much (if any) whole bunch fruit went into the fermenter, how long the wine spent on skins after ferment, what kind of oak it was aged in and so on.
But as wines age, the winemaking influence recedes a little (it never disappears) and the underlying terroir and vintage conditions emerge. In the case of the Grenache Project wines, despite their differences, all of them do have a savoury, sinewy edge – albeit subtle – and I'd expect this to build over time.
The only way to find out, of course, is to buy a couple of six-packs – one to try now (chuck some garlicky lamb on the grill and invite some wine-geek friends over to share the bottles with you) and one to try in five years' time.
Grenache six ways
2017 Grenache Project Schwarz [Barossa Valley]
Jason Schwarz's 100 per cent whole-bunch fermented grenache, bottled early straight from tank, is the lightest and most immediately quaffable of the six wines. With its perfumed red cherry fruit and squishy tannins it tastes almost more pinot-like – no, gamay-like – than grenache-like.
2017 Grenache Project Ryan/Cowham [Barossa Valley]
Corey Ryan and Simon Cowham chose to make their grenache using very different techniques to those they employ for their Sons of Eden wines: 100 per cent whole bunch, fermentation in an egg-shapped vessel, and two months' maceration on skins. This explains the wine's savoury, sappy, slightly minty characters and persistent powdery tannins.
2017 Grenache Project Collins [Barossa Valley]
Another 100 per cent whole-bunch wine, left for a month to ferment in a closed tank, where it underwent carbonic maceration before pressing. At first taste this was the earthiest and funkiest of the six wines (in keeping with the Massena style) but exposure to air revealed some lovely, crunchy, bright purple fruit flavours.
2017 Grenache Project Schell [Barossa Valley]
Pete Schell's use of 50 per cent whole bunch, carbonic maceration and ageing in large old oak all contribute to this exceptionally vibrant expression of grenache – intensely aromatic (sarsaparilla, Campari, rose petals, vermouth herbs), wonderfully lively and juicy in the mouth. My pick of the six right now. Will be fascinating to see how it ages.
2017 Grenache Project Duval [Barossa Valley]
As you'd expect perhaps from ex-Penfolds chief winemaker John Duval, this expression of the Quarry Hill grenache is well balanced, approachable and generous. Just a little whole bunch in the ferment and gentle pressing have resulted in a wine with lovely supple dark fruit and flowing tannins draped across the tongue.
2017 Grenache Project Hobbs [Barossa Valley]
Greg and Allison Hobbs chose to turn the volume up to 11 on their grenache parcel by drying the grapes on racks for five days before crushing and fermenting them. The result is a quite different style of wine to the others: dark, dense, glossy blueberry and black cherry fruit, round, slick dark chocolate tannins.
The 2017 Grenache Project six pack – one of each wine in each pack – is available for $250 plus $10 delivery. artisansofbarossa.com.
Article by Max Allen
Appeared in the Australian Financial Review, 12 January 2018
Along with Shiraz and Mataro, Grenache has been a stand out feature on the Barossa’s red wine landscape since vines were first planted here over 170 years ago. Barossa today lays claim to be home to the oldest continually produsing Grenache vineyards in the world, and produces a diverse range of compelling expressions of a variety that is rapidly emerging a favourite amongst the region’s artisan winemaker community.
In the last few months, the faith of the Barossa wine community in its old Grenache vineyards has been rewarded spectacularly. Bethany Wines’ 2016 Grenache was awarded Best Red and Best Wine at the Barossa Wine Show, and Turkey Flat’s 2016 Barossa Grenache won Australia’s most famous wine award, the Jimmy Watson Trophy (a first for a Grenache wine). Barossa Grenache’s light has never shone more brightly.
The Grenache Project is an exciting new initiative from Artisans of Barossa, representing six wines made by our six winemakers from a single Barossa vineyard. Each winemaker was allocated two rows of vines, and left entirely to their own devices. Responding to a simple brief…’Make a Grenache you'd like to drink’, the Project has produced a set of wines that are testament to the outstanding vintage and an emphatic statement of the supreme qualities and deliciousness of Barossa Grenache. And whilst the character of the vineyard is evident throughout, each wine stands apart from the others, bearing the distinct imprint of the maker through style, character and flavour. For adventurous discovers of small batch Barossa winemaking, The Grenache Project is not to be missed.
“What we’re doing with The Grenache Project is really bloody important. It’s symbolic of the commitment of artisan winemakers and growers to exhibit the best of their craft and showcase the best expressions of the region’s ancient soils with a variety so deeply rooted in our viticultural heritage and so clearly suited to this place. The growing profile of Barossa Grenache is to me a sign of the maturing of a new generation of winemakers and wine drinkers. They respect the landscape and what it’s best able to produce, rather than imposing the will of the market upon it to yield the latest fashionable variety. By doing our best to make delicious wine, we hope to nurture new audiences for these brilliant heritage varieties.” Pete Schell
To purchase your 2017 Grenache Project please visit our online wine store.
Each pack contains a single bottle of each plus an exclusive storybook detailing the story behind the Project and each wine.
Price is $250 per pack plus $10 delivery.