Following a trip to McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide in South Australia, it was a 2 hour drive to the North-East to visit the Barossa Valley - famous for its red wines. I stayed in the small town of Tanunda, unfortunately not brimming with good places to eat and drink, but very close to the wineries.
Hentley Farm, Corner of Gerald Roberts Road and Jenke Roads, Seppeltsfield.
Set on the red-brown soils of the western Barossa Valley, Hentley Farm founders Keith and Alison Hentschke acquired the 150 acre vineyard and mixed farming property in the 1990s.
With a focus on perfecting the vineyards, the first wines weren’t released from the property until 2002. The estate was extended with the purchase of the neighbouring high quality Clos Otto block in 200 and is now planted to Shiraz (70%), Grenache (17%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Zinfandel (2%), and a small parcel of Viognier (1%).
The Hentley Farm cellar door is housed in the property’s original 1840s homestead.
Great wines including the Beauty (Shiraz and Viognier), The Beast (Shiraz), The Quintessential Shiraz Cabernet, The Stray Mongrel GSZ (Grenache, Shiraz and Zinfandel). The on-site restaurant has a very good reputation but was closed on my visit.
Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard
Quite a trek along dirt roads to track down the famous Henschke Hill of Grace 4ha Shiraz vineyard near Parrot Hill. Hill of Grace is a translation from the German ‘Gnadenberg’, a region in Silesia, and the name given to theLutheran church that overlooks the vineyard. The 4ha single-vineyard shiraz planting is situated at the historic village of Parrot Hill 4km north-west of Henschke Cellars. Fortunately, the non-4WD hire car, made it!
Rockford Wines, 131 Krondorf Road, Tanunda SA 5352
Famous for Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, produced with selected small parcels of old, dry grown Barossa Shiraz from nearly 30 of the Barossa’s finest grape growing families. The vineyards are situated in different sub-regions throughout the Barossa, which adds to the complexity and depth of flavours. The wine is hand made using equipment from the turn of the last century, then aged in American and French oak for two years.
Unfortunately no luck with a tasting as it was packed with tourists and I decided to move on to Charles Melton down the road.
Charles Melton, 194 Krondorf Rd, Krondorf SA 5352
Charles Melton Wines has produced red wines at their winery on Krondorf Road, since 1984.
All grapes are dry grown and harvested from the winery’s own 50 acres of prime Barossa vineyard land, as well as from a select group of grape growers. Yields are extremely low with often only one tonne to the acre, and the vineyards are truly old with many exceeding 80 years.
A range of techniques are employed during the winemaking process. These include: whole bunch fermentation, open fermentation, pigeage and indigenous yeast fermentation.
The dry reds are matured in mainly French and a little American Oak, 25% of which are new each year, although, a couple of wines receive 100% new oak.
A full flight of the wines were tasted in the very pleasant tasting room set in the original farm building, overlooking the vineyards - 2014 Richelieu Grenache, Grains of Paradise Shiraz, La Belle Mere (Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah), Kirche (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon). No opportunity to try their flagship Nine Popes. The Richelieu Grenache was particularly enjoyable and the Kirche, named after the B&B the winery run in the nearby old Lutheran church. There is a veranda for food, but this was closed during my visit.
Langmeil winery, Cnr Langmeil Rd & Para Rd, Tanunda 5232
Family owned and operated, Langmeil is believed to be home to the oldest Shiraz vineyard in the world, planted in 1843 where the iconic Langmeil Freedom 1843 Shiraz hails.
The winery was one of the Barossa's original settlements called Langmeil, with many of the 1840s buildings still standing today. The abandoned winery was re-established in 1996.
Unfortunately because the tasting room was so busy I was unable to taste the wines and walked further down the road to Peter Lehmann. Further still is the Rolf Binder Winery.
Peter Lehmann Winery, Para Rd, Tanunda SA 5352
Peter Lehmann wines was originally founded in 1979 and was called Masterson Barossa Vignerons. It was renamed Peter Lehmann wines in 1982. Lehmann died on June 28th 2013 and the winery is now owned by Casella Family Brands.
A great tasting facility and friendly host. There is a gorgeous garden outside the property. An opportunity to try many of their premium wines from the VSV (Very Special Vineyard) range including Valley View Road Shiraz, McCarthy Shiraz, Carey Shiraz and Hearden Shiraz. Food is also sold to accompany the wines. An unexpected visit, but a good experience.