Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Halliday reviews and ratings

Every July, those of us who have submitted wines to James Halliday for inclusion (or exclusion if your wines are not up to a very high standard) into his Wine Companion book are able to finally see how our wines have fared. It's always a bit of a gamble as the personal preferences of writers, such as Halliday and Parker in particular, can either make or break your business.

2008 (for the 2009 edition) was the first year that an assistant was chosen to help sort through the enormous amount of samples received. Halliday chose Ben Edwards who is the head of the Australian Sommeliers Association. The 2009 edition of the Australian Wine Companion has tasting notes for 5778 wines, features 169 new wineries and overall, profiles 1661 wineries. Indeed, a large and comprehensive collection of too many wines to even attempt to try.

Considering we only submitted three wines this year, we are very happy with the results. This year Karra Yerta Wines received a general 4 star rating which means we are deemed "a very good producer of wines with class and character".

Our 2007 Eden Valley Riesling rated "highly recommended" at 90 points.
"..... a light-bodied palate with apple and lime fruit, with a touch of minerality on the finish. A success for '07".

The 2005 Barossa Shiraz and 2005 Bullfrog Flat Eden Valley Shiraz also both rated 90 points.

For full reviews, purchase the book or join online here: www.winecompanion.com.au

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The sad loss of a true Barossa Icon

There has been a long time between blogs on this wine page and that is because business has, to a point, taken a back seat as we deal with other issues. James and I have been grappling to understand life and the fragility of it over the past weeks. Time is certainly our most precious resource but we often do not realise it.

One of our dearest friends, Mark Short, who was well-known in the Barossa Valley and beyond for having one of the most amazing collections of antique Barossa Germanic furniture and other historical collectables has just passed away after a month long battle with pancreatic cancer. Although he had been ill for a few months, none of us were aware of the severity of his illness, including him. The decline in his health was so fast that it sent us and our closest circle of friends into a spin. He was an amazing man - a true Barossa Icon - who we shared many fun times with over the past twenty-five years. His passing will leave a void in our life that can never be filled.

Some of you may remember meeting Mark at our "Afternoon in Eden" wine event last November. He provided the antique furniture - the tables we sat at and benches, and the many other items that were on display. We had planned to have an exclusive event displaying more of his furniture in a combined showcase/wine-tasting weekend with Rik Eubel, one of the Barossa's finest furniture restorers, but alas, this never eventuated.

If there is any good news to come out of this however, it is likely that quite a few significant pieces of Mark's collection are going to be purchased by another local businessman to place in a Barossa Museum so as to keep some of the Barossa's heritage in the area. This is a lovely gesture and one that gives us and many other of Mark's friends some comfort as his furniture was his life and it was so important for him to "keep some of the best things in the Valley".

I guess it's times like this that make us all reassess what is important in life. Running a business is always hard work and we often do not take time out to do things we should, so even though we have to continue to work hard at selling and making our wine, we are committed to finding more balance in life so that we can spend more time with people we care about and to find at least some level of fulfilment in life each day.

The photo with this blog is of Mark with an antique (completely wooden) Barossa rake. It was taken at the end of our wine-tasting day in November 2007. His passion for his collectables and furniture gave him so much happiness in his short life. He was only 51. He left us far too soon but now at least his pain is over and he can finally rest. RIP "old matey".

Our sincerest sympathies to Mark's wife, Genny, his daughters Melissa and Emma, step-daughter Kylie and the rest of his family.

"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark." PINK FLOYD