We didn’t just go away to drink our way around South-Eastern Australia, but part of the idea was to visit some of the iconic areas and educate our palates. As a result, we will probably change the way we buy wine: we now feel we know enough to choose good wine from areas we have some familiarity with, at least for a while.

So here’s an end to the tasting dozen! We will investigate the Wine Society’s cellar for our favourites and rely on the Internet!

Here are the wineries we visited and some tasting notes of the best stuff (often pinched from the web-sites).

BAROSSA

Whistler Wines

Whistler’s was our first stop and favourite among the Barossa wineries. In hindsight, it was a shame we did not also visit Rolf Binder and Kalleske, as both these wineries seem to have a similar attitude to their business: a very friendly welcome, a family business passionately tended and good value wines with a particular character. Any, next time for those two. Whistler was a lovely place to visit and we met Sally Pfeiffer, one of the family who runs the place. We tasted pretty widely from their list, but our favourites were:

    • Audrey May 2010: Lifted aromas of melon, lime and tropical fruit flavours.
    • 2008 GSM: a blend of 52% Grenache, 27% Shiraz and 21% Mourvedre. A lovely, spicy red.
    • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon: The first of the Barossa Cabs we tasted, and one of the most accessible. A 91 pointer! Figs and toffee.

 

    Torbreck

    This is unquenstionably a high quality winery making some interesting wines, but Torbreck knows how to charge. We both felt a little out of our comfort zone here, but the winery and vineyards are absolutely picturesque. I guess you pay for old vines, but $200 for Runrig seems a bit excessive!

      • 2009 Cuvee Juveniles: yum. An unoaked Grenach blend that was well-priced.
      • 2009 Woodcutter Semillon: the budget end of the range, but most refreshing. There is actually not much citrus but lots of honey.
      • 2008 Woodcutter Shiraz: a great wine for the price. Rich and long shiraz.

    There were other greats, including a Roussanne Marsanne Viognier blend that I thought interesting, but I thought the high end reds were over the top in terms of price.

    Seppeltsfield

    The winery is now out of the hands of Fosters and in the care of a trust company. The grounds are superb. I still don’t know who has control of the old Seppelt’s Great Western.

    The range of wines is still pretty basic as table wine production was phased out years ago and only recently re-commenced, before the take-over, but what there is shows some promise: after all, there are plenty of vines around Seppeltsfield. There is a great shiraz, of course. The fortifieds are a different story and I was taken with the sherries – a term now out of date! The Blanco and the Flora reminded me of drinks at the end of the day at Orchard Hills, but so much more refined than Chestnut Teal, the oloroso that was the standard in those days. These are wines of restraint and refinement, stunning aperitifs, with that nutty flavour that is hard to resist.

    As for the Tawnies, the DP90 was a bit of paradise on the tongue. The dry finish is very much to my liking. I fear I could get to like wine of this quality far too much!

     

     

     

    Langmeil

    Rockford

    Charles Melton

    Maggie Beer’s Farm

    CLARE
    • Sevenhill
    • Pikes
    • Reilley’s wines
    • Tim Knapstein
    • Crabtree Wines

    ADELAIDE HILLS
    The disappointing Hills: great Sauvignon Blanc, but the reds were thin and — apart from Nepenthe — the wineries were pretentious tourist traps. We were probably unlucky in our choices, but the best SBs seemed to be made somewhere else. However, we did make the acquaintance of savagnan.
    Shaw&Smith
    Nepenthe
    The Lane

    MCLAREN VALE
    Coriole
    d’Arenberg

    COONAWARRA
    Redmands
    Balnaves
    Hollick

    BALLARAT
    While dining we tasted: Bests Great Western Shiraz.

    RUTHERGLEN
    All Saints
    Pfeiffer
    Buller

    Also tasted while dining: Anderson’s Pinot Gris, Stanton & Killeen Viogner and Durif, Campbells liquor muscat, Cofield Riesling.

    The ones we missed: