Barossa Valley Australia

This week we travel around the world to the heart of the Australian wine industry and its most famous region, the Barossa Valley. The Barossa region consists of a hot continental climate which, in turn, promotes the production of very ripe grapes. The early Australian wine industry started with a foothold in fortified wines until the mid-20th century, when the shift towards more red table wines occurred. At the beginning of this shift, most of the wine produced in Australia was of the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal. Barossa, however, was a Shiraz growing region, where most of the grapes were destined for blending.

Around the early 1980s, several boutique families specializing in “old vine” Shiraz began to gain global recognition for the distinct style of the valley. Having never suffered an outbreak of Phylloxera, many growers here are still on their own rootstock, with vines as old as 100 to 150 years. These vintners began producing full-bodied red wines with rich chocolate and spice notes, leading the wine world to place Barossa at the forefront of the Australian wine industry. Today, many of Australia’s largest and most notable wineries are either headquartered or own extensive holdings in the Barossa Valley, including Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Orlando Wines, Seppeltsfield, Wolf Blass and Yalumba.

We take a look this week at one of the most prominent and oldest of these wineries, Peter Lehmann winery. Peter Lehmann, known as “the Baron of Barossa” is one of the most influential and respected figures in the wine industry of Australia and is credited with helping to create worldwide acceptance of the ripe, fruit forward characteristics that embody the Australian shiraz style. The winery uses its many own vineyards and purchases grapes from around 185 local growers. The winery annually produces around 600,000 cases, including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, as well as a multitude of blends from each of these varietals.

Peter Lehmann Layers White Adelaide 2010 (Semillon, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Muscat)

Appearance: light golden straw with a green hue

Aroma: floral notes such as tangerine blossom and some white peach

Flavors: ample peach tones, tart citrus flavors

Finishing Notes: well balanced and complex medium-body wine, floral notes match well with the citrus and fruit tones, finishes lush and invites a second taste

Peter Lehmann Layers Red Barossa 2008 (Shiraz, Tempranillo, Carignane, Mouvedre, Grenache)

Appearance: medium brick red with an orange tinge

Aroma: spice and briar patch fruit nuances in the nose

Flavors: dark fruit flavors pop out with black plum, blueberry, spice tones carry through with anise and bitter dark chocolate

Finishing Notes: well structured and deep, plenty of fruit and spice flavors that carry from the nose to the long full finish

Food Pairing:

– Layers White: Greens and vegetables, light olive oil based pasta dishes, grilled steak-style fishes, grilled chicken or pork loin with a lighter sauce, shellfish dishes

– Layers Red: Roast duck or lamb, bean based dishes like cassoulet, barbeque sauces, pepper crusted seared beef steak

Perfect Pairing:

– Layers White: French-style porkloin grilled to medium with a stone ground mustard au jus with fresh grilled vegetables

– Layers Red: Grilled rack of lamb over a white bean cassoulet

WINE:30 is written by Karl Bradley and Jody Wuollett. Karl and Jody are both long time residents of Door County and are employed at the Mission Grille in Sister Bay. They have both been awarded the first level of certification from the Court of the Master Sommeliers.

Weekly Wine Trivia

What term, also the name of a French wine appellation, was commonly used in Australia as another synonym for Shiraz or Syrah?

Email your answer to Karl & Jody at [email protected]. The first correct answer in their inbox will receive a complimentary bottle of wine from them. Cheers!

Last week’s question: What is the meteorological term that relates to the variation in day to night temperature shifts?

Answer: Diurnal

Congratulations to our winner for last week’s wine trivia, thanks for all the responses! Good luck this week.