Monthly Archives: November 2010

Jane, You’ve Done It Again

Our intrepid Jane F doesn’t let a little thing like knee surgery stop her from keeping us all up to date. To wit, she wants to share her view for the past several days:

Frozen peas - so many uses

Bad Luck Day Turns Good With Plenty of Wine

Written by Steve Lindner, on special assignment while Jane has her feet up.

Making lemonade out of a lemon of a day

Friday the 12th and you could have been be mistaken that it was Friday the 13th.

“Why?” you ask.

That’s when we hosted our annual KPMG day at Yalumba and we had grand plans! Perhaps we should have known that the day was going to give us a challenge when our own Jane Ferrari went under the knife (or microscope nowadays) to have her knee fixed, a few weeks out from the day. Jane is the host extradonnare for days like this, and we had to enlist three winemakers to cover for her!

So that was the first problem fixed a few weeks out.

Barrels of fun

The Barossa has been bathed in sunshine for the last few weeks so an outdoor event was planned … yep you guessed it. Hughie had other ideas and down came the rain.  Thankfully we have a very flexible events crew here, and the chef for the day, Peter Clarke from Vintners Bar & Grill, is one relaxed cat.  A quiet change of venue and suddenly we are having lunch in the Cooperage.  Impressive work to arrange a complete lunch reset in about 2 hours.

Second problem fixed!

They say bad news comes in threes but I am pleased to say we were spared the third!

The masterclass

Onto the day and we kicked of with a masterclass with winemakers Natalie Fryar, Kevin Glastonbury and Andre La Nauze, the wines were equally impressive with the following lineup:

  • 2010 Pewsey Riesling
  • 2010 Heggies Riesling
  • 2010 Mesh Riesling
  • 2009 Eden Valley Viognier (new vintage release)
  • 2009 Virgilius (new vintage release)
  • 2008 FDR 1A (new vintage release)
  • 2006 Signature (new vintage release)
  • 2004 The Reserve
  • 2006 Bartholomeus Single Site Shiraz (new vintage release)
  • 2006 Hahn Farm Single Site Shiraz (new vintage release)
  • 2006 Fromm Single Site Shiraz (new vintage release)
  • 2006 Octavius

An impressive line up of wines, even if I do say so myself! All were well received and showed the diversity of both variety and region we have here in the Barossa. I snuck a tasting myself and can’t wait until the 2006 Signature is released, just simply awesome! Then a wander across to the cooperage dodging rain and into a day of spring grazing (we had to use our imagination with the cool weather and rain falling!) and sipping on new vintage wines, including the wine room only Split Pick Moscato, a lovely refreshing drink … if only the sun were shining. Peter Clarke whipped up a couple dishes to complement our spring grazing theme and didn’t disappoint with fresh, balanced flavours, served in his usual relaxed style:

  • Thai style prawn salad, green papaya, mint, chilli & ginger, paired with Y Series Riesling 2010 This wine almost has to be the best value Riesling going around at the moment and worked a treat with this dish.
  • House red gum smoked salmon, wasabi noodle, wakama & baby herbs.
  • Tempura soft shell crab, lime mayonnaise & Asian greens, paired with the Eden Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay – close your eyes and you were on the beach.
  • SA oysters in the shell two ways, didn’t spoil them just enjoyed them!
  • Roasted duck & mushroom arancini (deep fried rice balls), worked like you wouldn’t believe with the “Barossa Pinot”, Bush Vine Grenache 2009.
  • Minced lamb kofta, cucmber, garlic, yoghurt dipping sauce
  • Barbecued beef loin, waxy potatoes & pepper jus; The Scribbler 2008 is the perfect balance for the beef and a great way to finish the mains.

The grand finale

At the end of the day, it was a grand day. The KPMG guests left a little tired, a little weary, but definitely as friends of Yalumba with a wealth of knowledge about our wines and hospitality.  Thanks for the day, guys, and we’ll do it all again next year, hopefully with the sun shining and a terrific Ferrari on hand, that’s Jane not the car!  Special thanks to Jackie Corbett from KPMG and Wendy Holmes at Yalumba.

This weekend we are back into it again, hosting the annual Telethon Seafood affair for a lazy 500 guests. As long as the editor is happy I’ll post some highlights of that day early next week! (Editor’s Note: I’m happy! I’m happy!)

No Lemony Snickering Allowed

Tony B here (the dreaded editor). While Jane is off having her knee tended to, I thought I’d share something that tickles my fancy every year.  Come November, we (read: Wendy and the events crew) gear up for the Seafood Affair, and they call on all of us lax lemon tree owners for help:

“It’s that time of the year again. On Sunday November 21, Yalumba together with Angelakis Bros will be hosting Channel 9 Telethon Seafood Affair, this year there will be 500 people so you know what this means………….lots of seafood so lots of lemons are required!!

“If you have a lemon tree burdened with the weight of too many lemons and willing to donate some for Seafood Affair, the Special Events team is happy to come and pick them. Or if you are able to pick them then deliver to the Yalumba Kitchen that would be appreciated too. Either way, we will be very happy!

“If you are able to help out please let me know and I will arrange a day and time to collect them or for you to deliver them to the kitchen.”

I really do love that practical call out to the community.

Dirt makes a Difference – See for Yourself

9.14am, The Clocktower, Yalumba, Angaston, Eden Valley, The Barossa, South Australia
Hi folks, I’ve been off the air for a bit as I’ve been battling a really nasty virus that’s sweeping through The Barossa at the moment. With any luck it will clear up in time to go visit the knee surgeon next week – yep – still hopping around on one leg from the last UK trip! But it was back to work yesterday to look after a visiting colleague of ours. My part of the program was to show Tracey from our UK office “The Barossa” – the lie of the land and how it developed as a truly regional food and wine culture.

First, let me introduce our Negociants UK “at the coalface sales team” that looks after us throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. The photo was taken in September this year during a tasting of all Yalumba wines in that arena. We organised it upstairs in The Signature Room (wallpapered with photos of the Yalumba Cooperage) at The Phoenix – top gastropub near Victoria Station, London. Left to Right Tracey (LP), Cardigan Man (Chris), Heathrow (Emma), Job Spec (Val), Jo, and in front – Simon In Charge.

The NUK coalface sales team – Tracey (LP), Cardy Man (Chris), Heathrow (Emma), Job Spec (Val), Jo and in front – Simon In Charge

Our visitor to the Barossa this past week was Tracey, and yesterday we spent a good part of the day touring both the Barossa Valley floor and the Eden Valley high country. I put together a whistlestop tour of vineyards to illustrate how the French concept of terroir applies in our world, and to do this, I chose Shiraz that goes to Single Site, The Octavius or The Signature wines, and Cabernet Sauvignon that goes to The Signature. See what you think, and remember to look down at the dirt. When folks visit The Barossa, invariably they look at the vines, the wineries, the churches – everything but the dirt. But the patchwork quilt of what the vines are growing in across the region really defines a lot of the expression of the fruit – so it is a huge part of the diversity that exists wine wise.

Fromm dirt

The Fromm Single Site Shiraz vineyard just outside of Lyndoch (southern end of the Barossa Floor), planted 1936. The dirt is classified as a ‘mixture of Dale Family red brown earth and Wilsford Family terra rossa’. This is one of the earliest ripening shiraz vineyards that we work with, is all of 0.74 Ha or just under 2 acres, and goes into the 2005 and 2006 Fromm Single Site Shiraz.

Waechter dirt

The Waechter Shiraz block is on the Angaston foothills near Penrice, and the soil is a ‘red brown earth in the Light Pass fine sandy loam family’. This 0.84 Ha or two acre section of vines was planted in 1925, and it gets the effect of the cooling gully breezes come summertime. The fruit generally makes The Signature or The Octavius each year. Just for the record, the current owners are Mark & Marie Waechter, and Mark’s dad – Eddy – was the signatory on the 1992 Signature.

Grope dirt

The Grope Old Vine Shiraz Block is 3 acres of vines planted in 1919 right in the middle of the Barossa Floor at Light Pass. The dirt is ‘light Pass fine sandy loam red brown earth’ and the old vines seem to love it – always giving up top shiraz fruit that makes The Signature, and in some years when it travels really well it is selected out of the barrels earmarked for The Signature and put into The Reserve.

Heine dirt

The Heine Family Shiraz block is up near Golden Gate Mine Road in the Eden Valley, and with the vines at about 80 years is one of the old timer vineyards up in the high country. I put this one in because it’s a real contrast in the soil type – which is more in line with the ‘grey brown podzolic’ sort of thing that’s found up that way. This fruit has made The Signature several times and is part of the current release 2008 FDR 1A , which is an ‘Eden Valley fruit subset’ of what would have made The Signature in that year – so a leaner, higher acid, more red berry fruit and fragrant version that was strong enough to stand on its own as it was from a strong vintage. Again for the record, John Heine is featured as the signatory on the 1999 The Signature Cabernet Shiraz, another solid vintage that’s still stretching fairly elegant legs.

Tricentenary dirt

The Tricentenary Grenache Block is 1.12Ha or two and a half acres of bush vines planted in 1889 on the ‘Nuraip sand’ near Vine Vale. This is pretty much shifting river sand – lots of it – over clay. Again, the vines seem to thrive on it and consistently give up this lovely raspberry layered over rosemary herbal stuff that goes so well with anything lamb, anything duck, or even – as we tried this last trip at the fabulous Cocoon restaurant in London – ‘Baked Fillet of Pacific Cod with Kinone Miso & Mirin Glaze’.

Cocoon cod

True story – it was match of the day with the 2008 Bush Vine Grenache!

So after our last day out and about after a very intensive week at Yalumba Home Base, we’ve packed Tracey back off to the UK with possibly the best tool to work with when you’re talking to folks 16,000 km away about Yalumba and The Barossa – actually having been out there amongst it all from the ground up. Good luck with it all Trace – and have a good weekend wherever the rest of you all are.

Congrats to Louisa R

Tony B here folks, with just a quick note. Congratulations to Louisa R – The Virgilius Viognier snared top spot in the Adelaide Review Hot 100 wines.

OK, that’s all. Get back to work.