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A Visit To Karrawatta

  Wow, it’s suddenly the evening of the 22nd of December and I’m wondering where the last few months have gone. It’s been crazy busy and super eventful, so much so that I have about 20 blog topics written down, but haven’t had a spare moment to write one of them. So, I thought I better get one blog written before Christmas and at the top of my list was one of WineCloud’s 2015 highlights, a visit to Karrawatta… It was a bit of a whirlwind visit (way back in August) and I was originally just driving up to the Barossa via Eden Valley for the Barossa Gourmet weekend but decided I needed at least a day or two in the Adelaide Hills as well. So we headed up to visit winemaker Mark Gilbert and his team at Karrawatta. Having never been there before I was a little surprised when he said their Hills vineyards was out at Meadows as I didn’t think there were too many vineyards out there, but when driving up the driveway you could tell this was a special site. Wow, simply stunning… The 25 year old Shiraz vines on entry, the views, the hills, the trees, the dam, the cellar door. Wow… Karrawatta Adelaide Hills Mark Gilbert - winemaker at Karrawatta and Lynton Manuel of WineCloudFile_001 Mark soon chatted about some of the vineyard’s specifics as he showed us around the property which just confirmed just how special this site was. It was also soon clear that his focus (stemming from a viticulturalist background) was about premium vines and premium fruit… Quality yields were imperative at this vineyard, not quantity. Mark had mentioned how the site was one of the highest altitude premium sites in the Adelaide Hills and was quick to point out that the Sauvignon Blanc is grown on south facing cooler slopes and Shiraz grown on the north facing warmer slopes. The Pinot Gris is planted at the highest point with row orientation East/West to ensure none of the fruit is exposed to the afternoon sun. It was all beautifully laid out and it was all about the fruit… I could even tell how meticulous his pruning had been and he pointed out there was an almost an exact measured distance between where each bunch of grapes would be, perfectly spaced to get the right amount of sun. You could tell that he was pretty sure it would be hard to make bad wine, if he had incredible quality grapes to play with… So, after a quick look around, a pat of the wine dog, we sat down to try the wines in Karrawatta’s newly renovated Cellar Door, an old converted old dairy. Another stunning part of the property. This place is seriously gorgeous… Oh, the wines… I’m going to keep this brief as I could go on about these wines for ages. I had already written a review of the Pinot Grigio as well, so click through if you want to know about that one, but let’s just say it was the quality of the wines that stunned me. Karrawatta wines The Adelaide Hills Anna;s Sauvignon Blanc… Just classic Adelaide Hills – think Shaw & Smith, subtle, classy, but dare I say it, possibly with a touch more texture… The Langhorne Creek Joseph Shiraz… amazing. The Langhorne Creek Christo’s Paddock, incredible… Yes, another wine region where the nest wines are seriously underrated just because other (large exporters) had been successful on a mass produced scale. The Adelaide Hills Dairy Block Shiraz…. simply stunning…Finesse, elegance, producing a quality cool climate Australian Shiraz with red berries coming through but highlighting a velvety peppery edge. I remember vividly changing my mind as to which one of the Shiraz’s I liked best numerous times over a few hours but in the end decided that they were both quality wines and although different, were both exceptional.. Next: The bonfire…  let’s just say our plans to see a couple of other Cellar Doors that afternoon disappeared and the bonfires started. Hospitality in the Adelaide Hills is always amazing. Mark and the Karrawatta team took it to another level, inviting us to have fun, drink their vino as well as enjoy the stunning views and property… And that we did… Mark Gilbert - winemaker at Karrawatta Karrawatta bonfire You can find Karrawatta’s wines here… Now, let’s be honest, some of these wines are in a price range that puts them in a quality range with the Penfolds Bin 28’s and the 389’s etc but once you try the wines, you will know why. A big call, but Karrawatta is my pick for our Dark Horse of 2015 and I’m sure big things will happen to these guys in the future…

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