Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Barossa Valley Wine Tour

No matter where in the world you travel, you can be certain to find a bottle of wine from the Barossa Valley in a bottle store. Whether you are in Giggleswick, (North Yorkshire, England) or Greymouth (New Zealand) the Barossa brand is internationally known.

It is home to some of Australia’s biggest and best known wineries, including Jacob’s Creek, Wolf Blass, and Seppelt to name but a few. The region accounts for 21% of Australia’s total wine production. But more importantly, it is also home to a wide range of boutique wineries, which, to get the full benefit of require an experienced and educated guide.

The Barossa Valley was settled in 1840’s by both English settlers and German immigrants who were fleeing religious persecution. They brought with them a culture of growing, cooking, and preserving, along with an ethic of working hard for what they wanted.

What has remained to the current day is Barossa’s enduring nature. This is due to its breadth of growers and producers. From the multinationals, through to the garagist wine producers who only produce a single label. They have captured their heritage, amalgamated it with ‘modern Australia’ and used it as a foundation for further development. A visit to the Barossa region is interesting on so many levels — architecture, horticulture, character, wine, and food.

The European influence is pervasive, from mouth watering metwursts (Linke’s Meat Store and Schulz Butchers), cheeses (from Ballycroft and Barossa Valley Cheese Co), and the bakeries (such as Apex Bakery or Lyndoch Bakery) with various types of Streusel cake and Bienenstich. It is a foodies heaven!

Viticulturally the Barossa Valley has the world's oldest Shiraz vineyards, some dating back to the 1840s. The Barossa Valley extends from Lyndoch in the south to Kalimna, Moppa, and Ebenezer in the northwest, at an elevation of 200 to 300 metres above sea level. Immediately to the east is Eden Valley which is at a higher elevation of 500 to 600 metres. It is much cooler than the valley floor and produces delightfully floral Rieslings.

Barossa Valley has a Mediterranean climate, characterised by cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers where temperatures are generally between 30C and 35C. It is a reliable grape growing area particularly suited to producing riper, bolder wines, and particularly full-bodied shiraz. It also grows a range of Rhone varieties such as Viognier, Mourvedre (also know as Mataro), and Grenache.

Go on visit Barossa Valley — gratify the senses!

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