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On Tasting
Tasting at Three Barossa Wine Shows
Part 1 - The Small Winemakers Show

Sunday, 4th October, 2009  - David Farmer

During September in the Barossa Valley we have three tastings that are important in keeping abreast of what the winemakers are up to. The first is the Small Winemakers showing held at Chateau Tanunda on the 5th, next the Artisans of Barossa held this year in the Angaston Hall on the 12th and the Barossa Wine Show public tasting held at Yalumba on the 19th. At the Small Winemakers 27 makers showed their wines, at the Artisans 10 winemakers showed while the Barossa Show includes entries from both of these groups plus large companies and other who are not members of the Small Winemakers or Artisans and totaled 113 companies. Even so there are quite a number of wines and wineries who do not show at any of these such as Greenock Creek, Chris Ringland, Rockford, Torbreck and Two Hands and numerous small makers.

The Small Winemakers showing 5th September

The wineries exhibiting changes slightly from year to year as one or other finds they do not get what they want from membership and move on while newcomers replace them, the usual small business stuff. Many of these wines are not made by the owners and they use various winemaking consultants and wineries. Those that follow their dream and make their own wines may also lack the skills although to me this is the correct approach as the fun must be in the learning.

Herein lies the first danger as they may also have difficulty in knowing whether their wine has been well made or not. Many do not know enough about tasting wine to really grade what they have. An observation I have made over the years is that some consultants do not do a good job and coupled with this many a wine that is poor or basic can be traced back to certain wineries. No I am not going to say who they are as I live here and do not want to be run out of town.

This year I did not look at any whites, concentrating on the reds and tasted every wine.


The Small Winemakers show-the great hall at Chateau Tanunda.

Those maker/growers I found interesting were Soul Growers specifically a lovely Soul Growers Barossa Shiraz 2006 a blend of Ebenezer and Tanunda fruit from the Barossa Valley and 36% Eden Valley. Then the two Schutz reds the Schutz Red Nectar Shiraz and Cabernet 2007 weren't too bad. The Nurihannam Barossa Class Shiraz 2004 made by the local high school to teach students is also excellent.

Promising are the wines of Veronique and I liked the Veronique Barossa Shiraz 2007 a blend from Eden Valley, Greenock, and Lyndoch and made with assistance from Dominic Torzi. Also showing quality were the wines of Lunar Estate made by Corey Chaplin. Others to catch my eye were a Schiller Barossa Valley Shiraz 2006; Rohrlach Barossa Valley Cabernet Merlot 2006 made by Dan Standish when he was at Elderton; several reds from The Grapes of Ross Barossa Valley; a Springton Hills Eden Valley Shiraz 2006; a John Hongell Biscay Wines Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005; several from Gods Hill Wines; and those of 'Big Bob' McLean of McLean's Farm.

Also several reds off the former Barossa Valley Standish property now owned by the Steinborner family, of which more under the Artisans section, showed promise. The star of the turnout though is probably Balthazar and winemaker Anita Bowen has of course had Trophy winning wines at the Barossa Show and at The National Show Canberra for her shiraz. I am also very fond of her Ishtar GSM style. I thank all those involved and will see you next year.

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