This. Is. Living.
Truly my favourite stop along the way thus far, I fell in love with the culture, the views, the vitners, all of it. You’ll note in my previous post I referenced that we stopped in Coonawarra on the way up to Tanunda where we stayed as our home base for three nights.
Coonawarra has plenty to offer unto itself, but I’m going to focus on Barossa here as that’s where I really fell in love!
I do know this about myself, I like the finer things in life. And this stop-over fully reinforced that for me haha, so although it was perhaps a touch expensive as you can’t help but purchase so many of the amazing products you try along the way, we now have a fully stocked vehicle of premium wines, cheeses and meats to enjoy over the next few weeks of our travels.
The first day we got there was a Saturday, so the Sunday wine tours were booked, but it actually worked out perfectly as we were then able to create our own path, hop on our bikes and go for a self-guided tour. The route we followed was this:
Chateau Tanunda > Langmeil > David Franz > Provenance > Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop
One thing I’ll add: if this was a Saturday we would have gone to the Farmer’s Market after Provenance
Here are the highlights!
Chateau Tanunda | The grounds here are just stunning. This vineyard was perhaps a 7 minute bike ride from where we stayed, and it was the perfect stop to get things going nice and early for what was about to be the absolute best day.
This is Australia’s largest and oldest Chateau, and the whole experience was precisely as regal as you would expect. The wines were clearly a master-craft, and the building itself was a huge focal point to provide a beautiful backdrop to their fulsome list of tasting options.
For the history alone, I’d suggest popping-by!
Langmeil | Okay now this one was super special to me. One of my all-time favourite wines is Langmeil’s Valley Floor Shiraz. In Ontario (home), it’s only available in restaurants (it’s not, or is rarely, available through the LCBO), and some of my fondest memories with my bestest friends are shared over a bottle of Langmeil wine.
I could not contain myself when we rolled up, the shop owner literally told me I was like a puppy wagging their tail I was so excited, haha. But I appreciated her recognition because I really did want them to understand how much it meant for me to be there. And they did not disappoint.
I don’t even know how long we stayed here for, but I think we must have tasted upwards of 12 wines. Each one better than the last, and then we moved off-list to the premium products that aren’t usually available for tasting…except for the VIPs (ha).
I ended up purchasing three bottles:
NV Sparkling Shiraz Cuvee| YUM! This is an Aussie “invention” of sorts, and I’m so damn glad they did. Can’t wait to enjoy this one at the beach on a hot day, maybe with some freshly shucked oysters if I can find a few.
‘Valley Floor’ Shiraz | obviously, it’s the whole reason I went there. But I love this wine because the way I describe it is it doesn’t “punch you in the face” like many of the Australian Shiraz’s can or do.
Freedom 1843 Shiraz | this is simply an amazing story by which the grapes are grown in super small-batch, very low-yield, incredible high quality on the oldest and rarest vines IN THE WORLD. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s been claimed, disputed and proven to be true that these are in fact the oldest vines in production today. Beyond that, the wine is smooth, powerful but gentle, and was something I could not walk away without. Sublime.
At the recommendation of Tracy (who guided us through our world-class tasting), we hopped back on our bikes and pushed our way up the incline to the David Franz Cellar Door for an incredible lunch on the terrace overlooking their small-batch vines.
David Franz | veering far from the coattails of his famous father (Peter Lehmann), David Franz products can be described in two words: unique + innovative. He is fearless, fun and clearly looking to shake things up while incorporating classic techniques and principles.
My favourite part of the experience was picking up a basket and filling it with items from their pantry – house-made crisps, cheeses, pate, charcuterie – and bringing it to the counter where they plate it for you to enjoy on the terrace while you’re guided through your tasting from there.
Everything here was different from what you’d expect in the best way possible. There is also a rotating lunch menu with hot items – while we were there it was a braised beef ragout on egg noodles with basil and parm. Ugh, take me back!
Reluctant to leave, we still had more ground to cover! So back on our bikes and off to Provenance we went.
Provenance is basically a small, boutique “strip mall” with about 6-8 shops all clustered together in one go. There is a Penfolds tasting room here, along with a few pubs, meat shops, restaurants and coffee shops. There is a massive German influence here as they were the first to settle in Barossa, so Mettwurst has also found its way into our repertoire of picnic goodies.
For us, however, the main attraction in Provenance was the Gin Distillery, Barossa Distilling, which lent itself perfectly to a midday G+T on their sunny side patio.
The final stop was Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. Okay I’ll admit it – I thought this was going to be a beer tasting. Her last name Beer. Don’t mistake it! BUT a super pleasant surprise when we arrived to see thriving farmland, and a plethora of Maggie Beer product offerings from wine to ice cream to pate to olive oil. Maggie has a wide range of interests, and from what I tried, she’s nailed them all. You could also pop in here for a cooking class, lunch at the Eatery, or gin distilling class, so truly a full day/afternoon could be had just at this one stop alone!
The next day (phew! already feels like so much!), but the next day we did a guided tour with A Wine Wagon. I won’t list all the places we went only because each experience is so unique that it’d be best to allow him to curate for you as he did for us. My friend and I boarded the wagon and picked up our other drinkers for the day – a lovely family living in Australia but who were originally from Ireland. Yup, you guessed it – they were a great time!
Timur, our guide, quickly read the crowd and took us to the best boutique places in Barossa Valley and Eden Valley (known for it’s Riesling and Shiraz). The day was fantastic. The wines were a plenty, and lunch was delicious. Each of us went home with a case of wine between us, haha! The sign of a good tour guide, no doubt. Not to mention the bricks of Cheese we bought from our tasting at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company. I swear I was a mouse in a former life, so this was perhaps my fave stop of all.
Overall, my time is Barossa was absolutely fantastic, and I’m so glad we came. A final stop at Barossa Valley Brewing across the road from our campsite was the night-cap needed to book-end an amazing few days in the most amazing wine country I’ve been to yet (this was way better than Napa, just saying!).
And off we go again back to the beaches, freshly equipped with bubbles, rose, shiraz, cheese, meats (and more) to dine like kings and queens for the next few weeks.
Next wine country will be the Margaret River, so let’s get excited for that!