Under A Barossa Sky - Our Story

INGREDIENTS

Nine original parishes; seven generations of settlers; many of the oldest vines in the world; and one community brought together by the land…

THE METHOD

There are some fruits that can really turn your head and send you immediately somewhere else. Exotic, romantic and elusive, they can conjure up ideas of adventure – from hot suns and starry, midnight skies, through to damp, early mornings that cling cooly to bare-skinned legs.

The sweet, dark smell of ripe-picked grapes, however, always takes me to the Barossa.

This week, after a busy morning driving around the region in search of local wine and food, I shouldered open a winery door onto a group of men sitting around a table, finishing off what looked like a well-deserved, if somewhat early, lunch.

I let the blood-red, raw light of midday into the cool of the room, and several dark, oiled, anchovy faces looked up at me, at first fierce and surprised, but then quickly softening into lop-sided grins and open smiles.
As I moved into the winery, I was met with warm swallows of rosemary and garlic; woody, sarsparilla sweetness and slightly bitter notes of green olive and chocolate. Quite simply, I grew dizzy with pleasure.

Barossa already has a legendary reputation for its wine, and in particular for its bold, molasses-like Shiraz. But there is also so much more. And not just Semillon, Riesling, Mataro (Mourvedre) and Grenache; nor new found temptations like Tempranillo, Touriga and Savagnin, but also a host of artisan specialties and smallgoods that have been so proudly preserved that they now endure beyond their eighteenth century origins in Europe.

What I found on that afternoon was a whole community not so much united in fruits of the vine, but defined by a profound sense of place and belonging. It is not just what they drink, but it is also the bread that they eat, the foods that they enjoy, the company they keep and still, for some, the dialect that they speak. It is less a question of ‘who’ they are, but ‘where’ they are, that sets them apart.

To be of or from the Barossa is usually by inheritance only. However, today it is also a place of change and ambition, and one that is currently enjoying a new generation of winemakers, cooks, artists and artisans giving a highly-respected – but tenacious! – old guard, a run for its money.

What is not open for debate, however, is the pride in a defining sense of place that also carries with it a weight of history and expectation.

If Australia truly has a proposition that can take its place among the great regional destinations of the world, then it is hard to think of a more richly-textured and colourfully- toned destination than the Barossa.

 

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