A morning in the Barossa (well, if only!)

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the morning Trade tasting of the previously posted Evening in the Barossa, hosted by Wine Australia and Toby Barlow of St. Hallett Wines.

Six whites and seven reds were laid out in front of us, as Toby took us on a verbal and visual tour of the Barossa, around ten different wineries and a breadth of styles that would dispel in an instant any myth that Australia doesn’t “do” terroir.
The Barossa “region” encompasses both the Barossa Valley, famous for it’s Shirazes, and the Eden Valley, with it’s trademark Rieslings. However, both regions are about so much more, with Viognier, Pinot Gris and Semillon featured in the whites on show, and a range of stunning old vines from Grenache to Touriga Nacional (!) contributing to the series of red blends.
Now here’s the geeky (but fascinating) low-down on the land: the whole region in no more than 30km north to south and 25km east to west, encompassing both of the famous valleys. Barossa Valley itself follows a classic topography, with the valley floor varying by a maximum of 100 metres and averaging 274 metres above sea level. The Eden Valley, meanwhile, right next door to the east, has elevations ranging from 380 to over 600 metres, with most of the wine-growing located in the higher sections – this would explain how you can get crisp, steely Rieslings from vineyards only a literal stone’s throw from the powerhouse, deep red Shirazes we’re more familiar with from the Barossa Valley.
More than that, both valleys benefit from hugely diverse soil and rock structures, meaning even grapes grown in the same vineyard can add different attributes to a final wine. Combined with pockets of priceless and jealously guarded old vine plots, many over 100 years old, you can see why the Barossa is capable of stunningly complex, long-lived wines, and a range of diverse styles within.
Now, giveaway time!
John McDonnell of Wine Australia has very kindly donated a copy of “Barossa Wine Traveller” to the Curious Blog, a personal tour guide to the places, characters and flavours of the Barossa, written by Aussie wine authorities Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd. It’s a beautifully descriptive and pictoral tour of this fabulous region, bursting with a passion and deep love of this fantastic region. (It’s the next best thing to tasting the wines themselves, and I guarantee will have you reaching for Barossa on your next visit to a wine store!)
To win, simply answer the following question in the comment box below (hint: the answer’s in the question!):
From which sub-region of the northern Barossa Valley does Ben Glaetzer source his Shiraz for the iconic Amon-Ra?
A winner will be pulled from the hat on Friday of this week from the correct answers below.
Final and sincerest thanks to John McDonnell of Wine Australia and Toby Barlow of St. Hallett’s. If you missed the tasting last night, get yourself to the next Wine Australia event, John always puts on a great show.


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