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Why I love the Barossa

I started this blog piece thinking, ‘I really need to write about this awesome wine’. But as I thought about it more, I soon realised that it was far more interesting writing about how I discovered this wine. It wasn’t a wine you could find in your average bottle shop. In fact, I’m not even sure that this wine is in any bottle shops. However, if you stumble across this cute little cellar door, or if you are lucky enough to know where to find this vineyard, you are bound to have an amazing experience. There’s just something special about visiting a small cellar door and chatting to the winemaker over a glass of wine or two.

Which leads me to the title of this blog. Why I love the Barossa… Well there’s plenty of reasons, but I guess the obvious two reasons for me are 1) the wine, and 2) the people, and not necessarily in that order.

Now I’m pretty sure most of you knew about the wine, with ‘wine experts’ from around the world showering this region with accolades, particularly since the 1980’s. I’m also sure that there’s plenty of you that know about number two, the people. However, just in case you haven’t visited the Barossa Valley lately (or it’s been a while), I thought I’d talk more about the people. Now, what I’m about to say is probably true for a lot of areas of country South Australia, and in fact, probably many wine growing areas of Australia. But each time I visit the Barossa I have some sort of experience that makes me think, ‘hey this place is special’ and it’s always because of the amazing people.

I could probably write about many of the amazing experiences I have had in the Barossa, going right back to playing cricket there as a kid (I can’t remember if the Riverland team I was in won that game, so I assume we didn’t) where the tea break contained possibly the best food of any cricketing tea break in history, however I thought I’d chat about my most recent visit to the Barossa.

I had been to a few places during the day and had ended up visiting Murray Street Vineyards late in the afternoon and was enjoying tasting a few great wines with Andrew and Vanessa (a must visit if you are ever in the Barossa), when friends of theirs dropped in. We’ll it was one friend, Joe from down the road and a mate of his that was visiting from Queensland. They had just finished a long lunch at Rockford Winery and were keen to have a few more quiet ones after that, so where could they go? Well, they thought they would pop in and say hi to Andrew and Vanessa on the way home. So, after chatting a little about the amazing lunch they just had (apparently it was pretty awesome with incredible food and of course extremely awesome wines), I got talking to Joe and we got talking about his wines. Yes, Joe was a winemaker too. Joe and his wife Sue own and run Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars, a small boutique vineyard with an old cheesery converted to a tasting room on the property. It was soon apparent that after a few more wines at Murray street that I had to come and taste a Ballycrofft wine. As I’m not normally one to say no to trying out a Barossa drop of any sort, I was happy to oblige. However, I wasn’t just taken to a tasting room or cellar door, nope, I’m soon in meeting his wife and kids (who were absolutely lovely by the way) and finding out more about his wines in their living room. This pretty much sums up the Barossa way, inviting in someone that they had met just that day, to share their passion for wine. And it’s just that sort of hospitality that makes me absolutely love the Barossa every time I visit.

Joe from Ballycroft Vineyards pressing grapes with all his might. Now, this leaves the Ballycroft vino… I know you want to know more…

So, I thought I’d also review the Ballycroft Small Berry Shiraz as well, because for an extremely small vineyard, this is a pretty huge wine. In fact, I would say that this wine was my biggest surprise packet of 2013. The 2009 Ballycroft Small Berry Shiraz was big, bold and vibrant, with amazing cherry and plum flavours coming through. The colour was that exact colour I wanted on my WineCloud business card that you just cannot quite portray onto paper, a deep crimson plum colour that was simply just stunning and made any red wine fan drool at a glance. There was a sense that this wine was still only young, and although already silky smooth on the palate, it could easily be cellared for another 10 years or even longer and develop more intense and complex characteristics. You could also nearly sense the hand craftsmanship and work that has gone into making this wine. Hand picked each vintage by a group of Joe’s good friends, this wine seems a reflection of the hard work put into it. I don’t know how you taste that in a wine really, maybe it’s just that I had met and chattered to the winemaker? Either way, the wine just gave me that feeling which somehow added more character and value to it. With a pretty sweet label and presented beautifully in red tissue paper wrapped around the bottle, this has now become my secret (now not so secret) go-to wine to surprise friends.

Overall, this was a big winner for me and left me craving and wanting more. It also left me leaving the Barossa thinking, yep, I’m doing the right thing. These are the types of wines, vineyards and winemakers that I want to make more accessible to the general public with WineCloud. This was the sort of wine that deserved be able to be shared amongst friends and more people needed to be able to get their hands on this awesomeness.