Sunday, September 19, 2004

More to the Barossa Valley than Shiraz

Of course we all know that the Barossa Valley is world famous for its Shiraz. After all it was here that Johann Gramp established a vineyard in 1847 and named it Jacobs Creek. Joseph Seppelt arrived from Germany a couple of years later and started another Australian brand name. Through thick and thin the Barossa has grown and prospered since then, building its reputation on red wines based on Shiraz. The cooler areas and the nearby Eden Valley proved to be ideal for producing wonderful Riesling.

Over the past few years there has been a gradual shift in thinking: maybe there is more to life than Shiraz. There always has been, of course. Many of the wines we used to call "claret" and we now call dry red included a couple of silent partners along with the Shiraz. We had Grenache and Mourvedre in the blend, but not on the label. But not any more. The wines now proudly proclaim that they now contain these once Cinderella varieties.

The Barossa resembles the Rhone Valley, at least in its varietal composition. So it really is no surprise that we have some wonderful Grenache based roses emerging, and we have a company making a wine as a blend of three red varieties, and three Rhone white varieties, namely Marsanne, Roussanne and Ugni Blanc. Meanwhile another pioneer is growing the Russian Saperavi as well as the unusual Italian varieties Sagrantino and Gargenega.

Check out an alternative varietal view of the Barossa Valley


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