So after a short night of playing S’head with Nanna and Grandpa – we retired early to either read (for the campers) or watch TV (for the resort’ers). We woke up at 7, and then had a really great breakfast of pancakes with mango’s, then the girls had a play in the playground as well as a small session of TV in the camp kitchen. All of this before contacting Nanna and Grandpa via the UHF. We were due to be met at 10am for our cellar door tour (Our Xmas Present), so we went to Nanna and Grandpas early so the girls could have some ‘run amuck’ excitement before we left. As Nanna and Grandpa said that the girls are going stir crazy in the caravan, and they were loving the excitement of having rooms to play in – its all about the excitement of something new and for the last 60 days, the only consistent surroundings they have had is the 5sqm of caravan. The girls have been invited for a sleep over tonight at the resort’ers’ place, so they were on their best behaviour today in order to ensure they didn’t ruin the plans. Mummy and Daddy were also having fingers crossed that they didn’t need to follow through with our threat of “if you naughty today you won’t have a sleep over”. A night on our own after 60 days of having the girls sleeping in the same room as you – what more can you say? The girls were dressed in their new dresses which they got from Nanna and Grandpa for Christmas – they loved being in smart clothes.We met up with Steve from Cellar Door Tours at 10am for an unbelievable day of wine tasting, we couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide, he met our remit perfectly – Reds, single vineyard and cellar door only. Perfection. As soon as we met Steve, Ava immediately asked whether he knew Sully (our wine tour guide in Margaret River) to which his shocked response was “yes, he is my cousin”. Small world we live in, as I hadn’t contacted Steve based on Sully’s recommendation, they were completely independent of each other. The girls had their bags packed and were ready for a day of wine tasting for the adults and entertainment for the girls. We started off with Murray Street Vineyards, which was a beautiful setting and amazing garden – to which none of us knew the name of the herb, which was the entrance hedge. We asked the lady and they even have a map inside of their garden as so many people ask them – The hedge was beautiful and smelt divine, however after much discussion this evening and googling, none of us can remember the name (we assumed we would remember between us – obviously not) *edit – its Salvia.
MSV was started off by Andrew Sepphelt, from the historical Sepphelt family, to which some of the MSV wines were named after his great grandparents, however since he sold MSV, the wines can no longer carry the traditional names, but have the same winemaker and grape varieties. MSV has some great wines, of which there were a few we liked, but didn’t like the price tag associated with them. The setting was perfection sitting outside on the deck with the vines growing over the terrace and the girls playing in the garden. We liked the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the 2014 Gomersal and Greenock Vineyard Shiraz’s. Our expert for the morning. Millie, also gave us the opportunity to try the 2009 versions of the same – which showed us how they aged. Lach liked the Gomersal 2014, where as I liked the 2014 Greenock – however we both liked the 2008 of the same, which proved that they both cellar well. So we ended up buying the 2104 versions and sending them home for cellaring:
- 2014 Gomersal Vineyard Shiraz
- 2014 Greenock Vineyard Shiraz
After this we went to a vineyard which is a ‘by appointment only’ and called Ballycroft Vineyard – we met with Joe, the owner, and he took us into a small old cheese factory storage warehouse and introduced us to his wines. He offered labour to Rockford for the ability to make his wines there. He has only 4 hectares and only has reds. Steve got our tastings spot on, as he realised we were only into reds, which opens up a whole range of cellar doors which are red only, so he organised the day perfectly for us according to our palettes. All of his wines are over 16% alc/vol, but this isn’t planned, just purely based on when the grapes are due to be picked. Joe’s 2016 Montepulciano (which had only just been released) was amazing, just been chilled to take the edge off it, and a grape that none of us were familiar with – amazing wine and grape. Well done Joe.
His 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is stored in shaved French oak barrels, and only 80 dozen produced. It was fantastic. We knew that we were in for a unique experience here at this vineyard as Joe is so eccentric that is so passionate about what he does. The next wine he bought out was a 2009 pre-release Small Berry Shiraz which was released as an excitement to the 10th newsletter to his followers (~100 customers). This had an amazing berry nose with a vibrant finish, and proved that the 2013 would cellar well. After a fantastic experience, including trying some of the Bacon Jam, by Deliciously Devious and buying some eggs from the chooks this morning, we left with some bottles of eggs, ham jam and:
- 2013 Ballycroft Small Berry Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2013 Ballycroft Small Berry Shiraz
- 2016 Ballycroft Montepulciano
Before we arrived at the next stop, we had the fantastic news that our great friends have had their third child, a baby boy. Congratulations Amy, Jason, Amelia and Charlotte on the safe arrival of baby Alexander James – what a great 2017 new years present. We can’t wait to meet him.
The next stop included lunch, so as soon as we arrived at Kaesler, we ordered our lunch whilst we tasted the wines. Kaesler is known for wines such as ‘The Bogan’ and ‘The Old Bastard’. We double ticked most of our wines here, which means we liked them. The lady which served us is an ex-banker and will return to banking after having spent a while introducing people to amazing wines, having 4 young children.
I understood her to a certain extent, but I only have 2 children. We tasted some fantastic wines, of which one was made specifically for Jamie Oliver as he only used to import Italian Wines, Kaesler said “we can make one for you”, so they made a Uvaggio GSS (Grenache, Sangiovese, Shiraz), which was exceptional. Grandpa started to explain to Ava what a Bogan meant….we changed the topic quickly. After having tasted the main wines, Lach then wanted to taste the ‘Old Bastard’ which was an additional charge, but redeemable on any purchases. So paying his $20, he had an additional 6 tastings of various Shiraz’s from various regions – all of which he enjoyed (as did I), but we ended up buying for our cellar:
- Kaesler Uvaggio GSS 2016
- Kaesler Avignon 2014
- Kaesler Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Kaesler The Bogan Shiraz 2014
We walked across the courtyard to a fantastic little courtyard restaurant – luckily we were inside as it was a scorching 35+ degrees outside. The girls had been amazing so far and they ate all of our lunch as did we, now that we knew which glass of wine we wanted to order. Lach ordered the Avigon, I ordered the Uvaggio, and Nanna and Grandpa ordered The Bogan. A beautiful meal matched with perfect wines.
After lunch we were escorted to another single vineyard winery called Greenock Creek Wines, which produced only reds from a small local area and some of their vines are some of the oldest in SA. Their 7yr old vines – which produce the 2014 Caseys Block Shiraz – are exceptional, and then the 19yr old vines – 2014 Alices’ Shiraz came out – which blew us away. At the bottom of the tasting menu was a 2011 Roennfeld Road Shiraz which had been in American oak for 3 years, and then 2 years in the bottle before being released. It was outstanding – there is no other word for it. However, the price tag was high at $195/bottle. Of all of our wine tasting across Australia, this is the most outstanding wine for the silly price tag. We purchased from here:
- Greenock Creek 2014 Caseys’ Block Shiraz
- Greenock Creek 2014 Alices Shiraz
After this experience we didn’t think it could get any better, however Steve pulled the trump card and drove up to Travis Earth. Travis used to work at Rockford and then decided to go off on his own, and now has 4 hectares of vines. He turned up on bare feet to welcome us at the gate with his dog, Lucy, and then bought us into his tasting room which was surrounded by quirky artwork and a bottle of Verve, which was nearly as big as Audrey.
His moto is “refusing to be beige since 1973” – which perfectly suits his wines and art and house. He gets asked about his art and whether it’s for sale the whole time, but he isn’t in the business of selling art. It reminds us of the kind of art which Sam does. He started talking to us about his wines, of which he has 4 on his list – all of which were outstanding. The whole experience there was unique and cannot be repeated anywhere else. We did a few tastings – himself included – and realised that his wines were exquisite – we then preceded to discuss history and where our family had come from as he had some antiquities in his tasting room which we started discussing. He then wondered off and bought out a bottle of his 2013 Flaxland Valley Shiraz – his crème de la crème (apparently hardly any tastings get this treatment) – he decanted the whole bottle and then proceeded to pour us all more than a tasting – more like a glass each. Travis, or Mr Earth, really wanted is to enjoy this wine. Nothing was too much trouble, He walked outside with his glass and lit a cigarette, whilst we enjoyed our pour inside. When we finished our pour, it was like a friend’s dinner party – stay and enjoy – please have some more. We were all blown away by this wine and this man – Exceptional is an understatement. We ordered from this winery (shhhh don’t tell too many people as we want it to stay unique):
- Travis Earth 2013 Montaro Shiraz Krondorf vineyard
- Travis Earth 2013 Shiraz Flaxman’s Valley
We just finished our day on a high – what a fantastic Christmas Present from Nanna and Grandpa – Thankyou. A great way to experience the Barossa and to be able to taste wines that the general public don’t even know exist.
Before we departed from Steve, I made sure that we had discussed our tasting route for tomorrow, as we knew which vineyards took our fancy, but he now knew our taste and what we liked. So 5 vineyards tomorrow including a lovely lunch – maybe we will only make 4. Time will tell.
We came back to the caravan park and as the girls were having a sleep over at Nanna and Grandpa’s we bought their PJ’s over and they had a bath before a yummy easy dinner of 2 types of chicken curry. The girls went to bed just after 7 in a soft squidgy bed – I was asked whether I wanted to jump on the bed to see how soft it was, and to remember what a real bed feels like – I declined the offer and decided that I am happy with my caravan mattress until I get back to my own bed in Beecroft in 3 weeks’ time. I didn’t want to be teased.
I just went in to say goodnight to the girls and realised that I will miss them tonight, albeit lovely for them to have a sleep over, as its a special treat, and great for Lach and I to have some time for us, but I already miss them.