Yalumba Experience @ Eden Valley
After such an amazing and warm hospitality from the Jacob's Creek and St Hugo Winery, I was moved towards the Yalumba wineries and also the other wineries in the Barossa and Eden Valley regions which brings more excitement for me to discover the wines that is there to offer!
The day that I left the Jacob's Creek family and their cottage, it was raining quite heavily but I was swiftly greeted with a warm and friendly tour guide from the Yalumba winery that is extremely friendly and eager to share with the vast knowledge of the wineries and the surrounding family wineries that is amazing to discover!
The first thing after we had a lovely drive from the Rowland Flat area to the town of Angaston which takes around 35-40 minutes of picturesque drive of endless rows of amazing vines from the plantings of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenach and even Viognier plantings..
Moments later, we arrived to my accommodation which is amazingly that is in depth with the family history and the surrounding wine growers of that region! After checked in and freshen up a little including some time to explore a huge cottage that I had the pleasure of staying in it for the rest of my stay in the Barossa Region! Well I must say that the cottages in the Barossa regions are really huge and you can fit a family of 10 people!
From that exploration of the cottage itself, we finally went to the little town of Angaston which has a rather straightforward road which houses an array of shops ranging from their local produce shops of cheeses, smoked meats to the endless rows of restaurants and bars that proudly features their Barossan German heritage and delicacy!
Finally we land ourselves to the 40's cafe which is awarded winner of the best pizza in Australia! Well that's a huge achievement for this tiny eatery and we went it to have the proof of it's pudding with a lovely bottle of Pewsey Vale Riesling in tow for dinner.. This is actually a crowd favourite in terms of pizza as they have an array of combinations to choose from and you can craft pizza to fit 2 different flavours! We had a variety of flavours to choose from hence the result of 2 large pies on the table to test out the versatility of this Eden Valley Riesling!
The riesling goes amazingly with the 40's Barossa Deluxe which has a smoky aroma and taste alongside the acidity from the tomato sauce, the saltiness of the Kalamata Olives which is such a delightful pairing with the peaches, apricot and honey taste and slight sweetness of this Riesling!
There were really huge portions to begin with that we had leftovers of the pizza which still taste exceptionally good with a different Riesling and this time it is a Heggies Riesling
This is another riesling under the Hill Smith family and it has a strong history and relationship with this family that they have proudly and jointly made it together! This riesling has a slightly dry mouthfeel compared to the Pewsey vale which gave more floral and honey sweetness notes.. This heggies riesling has a mouthwatering and medium level of acidity which made it rather a refreshing and perfect appetizer wine to start the day and meal!
After having a glass of Riesling as my breakfast, we head on the Yalumba Nursery and from there I got a glimpse of the starting journey for ever vine and cuttings! It was truly an eye opening experience as you start to appreciate more the back breaking work of the fellow viticulturist that painstakingly brought in the cuttings of the other grape varietal from the European regions to be planted in Australian soil!
From the Educational adventure of the cuttings and vines,we managed to pop by the Tri-Centenary Grenache vineyards to visit this oldies of 155 years of age! And it still produces amazing quality bunches of grapes to make that fantastic and luscious wines for us to enjoy.. They are quite happy staying here with an established root system alongside the bush vine training which is popular choice of trellising for the Grenache grape and vines..
With a wealth of knowledge about viticulture aspect of the vines, we then head on to the little restaurant which focus heavily on the idea of allowing their family owned wineries of the Barossa region to house a place that serves as the wine tasting and purchasing venue accompanied with great food to match!
It was such a pleasure to meet with the son of John Duval, Tim Duval which formerly was a lawyer but after a stint reading law, he came back to the family business and shares the amazing stories about his father which surprisingly one of the chief wine maker for the Penfold winery! Not to forget he also has a hand in the blending of the Penfold's Grange..
The wine tasting venue was really a suitable place to host and buy some wines with no fuss and stress as the venue was very open and filled with natural light which is ideal to conduct wine tastings! We were given the chance to taste their wine collections of the award winning Plexus which comes in either a Marsanne blend or a Shiraz blend!
I couldn't believe it that the Barossa region can also plant the Marsanne and Roussanne vines here! The wine blending is basically inspired from the Rhone Valley way of blending their wines of red which consists of Shiraz, Grenache & Mourvedre whereas the whites is the blend of Marsanne, Roussanne & Viognier!
With a delightful start to the afternoon with a profound knowledge and appreciation to the wines made by the John Duval, we then head on for lunch which is a few steps to the table which located in the centre of the packed dining area that is filled with happy and jolly people enjoying their food and the amazing boutique wines available in this Artisan.. Their restaurant is known as the Harvest Kitchen which showcases the diversity of the Barossan produce and the amazing Barossan wines to match!
After such a mouthwatering and tantalizing wines of the Marsanne blend & SGM blend, it was such a pleasant surprise to be greeted with this amazing plates of colorful food!
We were comfortably seated in a beautiful yet elegant setting that has this gorgeous view overlooking the endless rows of vineyards that is a rare sight for me.. We were swiftly given a simple yet straightforward menu which made ordering for lunch the hardest decision making ever!
The layout of their menu is really straightforward with sections on sharing, sweet,cheese, cured meats& three selection plate. Not to forget that they also have the option of going all out local that is named as Feed Me Like A Barossan
Finally, we came to the decision of trying out their 16 hour slow braised pork empanadas with house made relish & Slow cooked Hutton Vale lamb with millet salad, yogurt and barberries.. The name of it already sounds extremely scrumptious and absolutely mouthwatering that we can't wait for it to arrive to the table and eat! While waiting for the mains to arrive, we were given a small bowl of olives to munch as appetizer that is reminiscent to the concept back home of Ciabatta bread being served first before the appetizers and mains comes..
It doesn't have to wait very long as after having some rather addictive yet briney olives, the first to arrive is the Slow braised Pork Empanadas! Well I do love my pork and so do my lunch companions!
Well it does have a simplistive yet elegant plating but we were really excited to be unfolding the parcel within that pastry..
The wait is totally worth it! As the moment you pierced the fork to the thin yet flaky pastry that envelopes the pork is really light ad fluffy and the pork was braised to the point that it just needs the assistance of the fork to eat with alongside their homemade relish which I presumed is a berry relish that brought out the subtle acidity, tartness and the sweetness of the berries!
The 2nd main to arrive is the Slow Cooked Hutton Vale Lamb with millet salad, yogurt and barberries.. This dish is an intriguing one for me as I have never tried and I have actually seen the animal itself roaming together in the hills grazing on grass.. The presentation of this dish does look like one of those food magazine which is just makes your mouth water!
In terms of taste, the lamb was really cooked to perfection which made the meat really melt in your mouth like butter! The lamb has a tender and buttery texture which made it an amazing pairing with the sourish and refreshing yogurt and the sweet and tart barberries that is like jewels for the lamb!
The 3rd dish to arrive which is not a main but one of their sharing dishes; Baby beetroots with Persian feta watercress and fresh horseradish.. This is one of my favourite vegetables to eat and it's one of the hardest to find back home and expensive..
But this vegetable is abundant in supply in the Barossa and much affordable here.. This is a cute vegetable as the beetroots are freshly harvested daily and the kitchen here practises the farm to plate concept which is a good sustainable practice..
In terms of presentation, this baby beetroots is really colorful and beautiful with the beetroot being prepared quite simply in retaining it's sweet notes and crunchy texture! The texture of the beetroot is really crunchy yet tender which goes quite perfectly with the salty, creamy and crumbly feta cheese..
The lunch was really scrumptious! With that it was an eventful lunch and afternoon for me to be discovering more of the Barossa boutique wineries and it's amazing stories behind every bottle that is made with love and passion! I just love the John Duval Plexus Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier complexity and fruit flavours able to complement the gamey Hutton Vale lamb as it would mainly paired it with a red wine for this instance a shiraz or bold Grenache or even a Cabernet Sauvignon from Eden Valley! But this Plexus Marsanne blend is astonishing as they can pair well with the Lamb being that it is also a medium bodied wine with slight creamy notes but with a great depth of complexity! A must try white!
From that eventful lunch, we head back to the lovely cottage of Percy's to freshen up alittle for our next adventure of exploring the entire winery of Yalumba and it's facilities!
The tour of the entire Yalumba castle was an amazing yet rich in history and their proud heritage of wine making!
First up, is the Cooperage! Well it's something of a rarity in the Barossa to have a winery which also have their own in house Cooperage.. Mainly the wineries would outsourced the oak barrels but for the Yalumba winery they have their own cooperage to craft their desired degree of toasting and type of oak barrels which they prefer either French or American or even Slovenian..
I was brought around the entire cooperage process from the oak staves to the finished product.. After a profound knowledge of the cooperage and it's functions to the wine community, we then head on to their inner sanctum which is the Castle that houses all the wines from the 1942 vintage of brandy to their current vintages and also the huge Oak barrels that resembles of the barrels you might spot in Germany..
There were numerous amazing rooms filled with great history that features their precious wines being sleeping in this cellar with a wax sealed at the cork.. This task was given to a caretaker which checks it and the temperature of the room was really cooling which is ideal for the wines to rest and flourish!
After the tour, we had the pleasure in walking back out of the castle and roam to their homey and comfortable tasting room which we were greeted with the entire portfolio of wines from the Yalumba, Jansz & Heggies winery offerings!
We began the tasting with a glass of Jansz Premium Cuvee which hails from Pipers Brook River, Tasmania. Their Sparkling which is made using the classic grapes used in Champagne region; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.. The sparkling wine has a very refreshing note to it being accompanied with peaches, pear and citrus fruit of lemon and lime.. It has a very creamy texture with a side of acidity which is delightful for an aperitif!
After a refreshing aperitif wine, we moved on to their whites which are arranged according to their grape variety, collection and price points from affordable to expensive.. Firstly, we tried the Pewsey Vale & Heggies Riesling which is really not the very sweet Riesling that you would think of like the German Riesling.. It was a off -dry and food friendly riesling which has a lively and delightful character that has an amazing balance of fruits such as peaches, pear, apricot together with honey and aromas of white flowers! In terms of body, they are leaning on the light to medium bodied but with a medium acidity which is refreshing and not too heavy or tiresome for the palate!
Next comes the Viogniers! The popular girl is The Virgilius which has won numerous awards! And I'm very excited to try out the wine itself in it's home with the fellow winemaker; Natalie as she shares more about all the behind the scenes winemaking of those bottles of wine under their portfolio!
The Virgilius is created by their chief winemaker; Louisa Rose which is synonymous with this wine as it was her baby that won her numerous awards! And she is an inspiring lady that is deeply passionate about the wine making and the wine industry in Australia!
Through Natalie, we found out that this wine is made using a different technique of fermentation and yeast which they called it as the wild ferment using the ambient yeast found in their wine cellar! It is somewhat a risky thing to do as to gamble their precious viognier must to let mother nature do it's thing but with care and constant vigilance like taking care a newborn baby.. The outcome was pure heaven and a delight which has delighted many of it's drinkers in every sip!
I finally had the chance of sampling this gorgeous and most sought after wine.. The color is quite deep gold and the aroma was really filled with secondary smells of the petrol, tyres and in terms of taste; this wine is a medium bodied white with a creamy texture and mouthfeel with a very savoury after taste alongside the refreshing zest of lemon and lime and herbaceous notes of the thyme and tarragon! This wine in my opinion can go with a red meat dish as it has the depth and intensity to withstand the boldness of the red meat!
This wine is truly enchanting for any red wine lovers that would like to have a medium to full bodied white to match their food or even their personal preference!
We save the best for last with their amazing reds which they have from the entry level of Samuel Garden range to the Distinguished and Rare & Fine wines of the Yalumba wine collection.. Mainly they have wines of a blend of Grenache, Shiraz & Mourvedre to the single varietal of Shiraz from a single vineyard, Grenache from the 155 year old vine in the Tri-Centenary Grenache vineyards to the Old bush vine Shiraz that craft the beautiful and elegant wines of The Octavius, The Caley & FDR1A.
Personally, I love this wine which is only available in the Australian region which is the FDR 1A.. It is a blend of Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon from the best parcels of vineyards in their Barossa region of Eden Valley for the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Shiraz of Barossa Valley! The most amazing thing was that Eden Valley being that it is located in a higher elevation and cooler climate that has the amazing ability to produce an elegant yet bold but with an exquisite finesse to match and marry together with the eucalpytus and peppery yet fruity Shiraz of the Barossa Valley!
This wine has the great potential for ageing and with this potential and great profile eventhough we tasted it now, it just entices you to have either one of their Angus beef cooked medium rare with a red wine jus and mash or even a dark chocolate dessert!
Angaston roaring 40's Cafe
30 Murray Street
Artisans of Barossa
Corner of Light Pass Rd & Magnolia Rd
Vine Sale South Australia
Friday & Saturday nights
11am to late
40 Eden Valley Road