Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another riesling review for the week

It's been an amazing week for us so far. The last of the stock of our Silver Medal winning 2005 Barossa Shiraz was ordered this morning and next week will be heading over to the east coast of Australia. It's a wonderful thing to see orders coming in with the economic climate the way it is and it certainly helps to keep us afloat. There's not many words that inspire us to carry on with making our miniscule amounts of wine than the ones "Sold Out". When we started selling our wines I initially thought that it couldn't be too hard to sell only 350 cases of wine a year but how wrong I was! There's a lot of wine on the market and to get such a small name like ours even noticed by people can be a near impossible task. So to now be able to add the Sold Out stamp to three of our products is truly a wonderful thing.

On another note, here is our second riesling review for the week: - from Julian Coldrey's website

Karra Yerta Eden Valley Riesling 2005

"Is it possible to know a vineyard after tasting its output only twice? Hardly, or at least not in every respect. But those sites of special interest are so partly because they impart a particular character, hopefully attractive, to the wines made from their fruit. A truism, perhaps, and something of an abstract religion to those who place importance in the idea of a go├╗t de terroir. Yet how striking when you have a real, live example in front of you, as I have this evening.

I tasted the 2008 version of this wine the other day, and enjoyed its accord of soft, elegant fruit and Eden minerality. And what strikes me instantly on smelling this older wine is the same beautiful character of fruit; pastel, watercolour, gauze-like fruit. That's the Karra Yerta vineyard, surely, in my glass now just as it was the other night. Perhaps this seems obvious and trite, but I consider it a marvel on a small scale, something essential and beautiful.

The palate is a slightly more austere, marginally aged, version of the younger wine, which is as it should be. There's a fantastic thrust of acidity that picks up on entry and carries the wine right through its impressive finish. Along the way, tart lime juice, left-of-centre minerality (it reminds of white Burgundy, for some reason) and more of that distinctively elegant fruit, more like a painting of a white peach than the fruit itself. A nice surge of intensity through the middle palate fits within the wine's architecture rather than spilling outside it. There's no great influence of bottle age bar a touch of honey.

A truly excellent Riesling that is about the Eden Valley, the Karra Yerta vineyard and the season in which it was grown. For those with an interest in terroir, I would advise to rush out and buy some -- if it weren't already sold out."

Karra Yerta Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin

Posted by Julian on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 2:49 AM

Filed in Australia, White

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A new review for our 2008 Eden Valley Riesling

Our latest review: - this time from Julian Coldrey at his website

Julian is a Queenslander who along with his long-time mate and fellow wine appreciator Christopher Pratt (who is based in the USA) enjoys analysing wines from all over the world.

"Lately, I've been thinking about wine styles and how some come to be defined as classics over time. In a way, it's more complex than the literary canon, for example, in which a single, unchanging artifact is evaluated and re-evaluated over time. With wine, a particular combination of variety and region remains static but a whole set of variables -- everything from particular vintage conditions to winemaking to long term climatic variations -- ensures a constant evolution. So, how to pin down the essentials?

This wine poses the question because it seems to present atypically at first. The nose is heady, hinting at tropical richness without feeling at all broad. There are wisps of paw paw, honey and the sort of spice that would feel at home in a Gew├╝rztraminer. These elements are at the fore, and for a moment mask a backbone of fine, detailed minerality and a curl of lime rind that are all about the Eden Valley. There's also what appears to be a touch of sulphur, adding complexity as much as anything else.

On the palate, these potential contradictions resolve beautifully. It's not a sweet wine, but there's a luxurious softness here that comes from a combination of ultra-fine acidity and fruit character that recalls the delicacy of truly fine cuisine. The entry is clean, showing mostly citrus fruit and a refreshing level of tartness. It swells significantly as things move towards the middle palate, with a well defined wash of precise flavour and a finely textured, supple mouthfeel. An undercurrent of minerality, and some sulphur-like notes, add a savoury undercurrent to proceedings. The finish is exceptionally long and fine, fading gently over time with an echo of citrus flowers.

Perhaps it is their very elasticity that elevates some styles above others, weaving a consistent thread through a variety of expressions, and drawing them together into something overarching and identifiable. This may not be a steely, forbidding wine, but it's an Eden Riesling just the same, with delicate minerality and an overall lightness of touch despite the generous flavour profile. An expression of this style I'm grateful to have tasted. A tiny production of 80 cases to be released in June."

Karra Yerta Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin

Posted by Julian on Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 2:59 AM

Filed in Australia, White and tagged 2008, Eden Valley, Riesling, South Australia

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Barossa At Home update - June 27 & 28, 2009

The Barossa Wine and Tourism Association have just released the new brochure promoting their latest event - Barossa At Home. I have briefly mentioned this event in my earlier blog post: It is a very different event and we are looking forward to participating in it. In fact, of the 48 wineries taking part, we are the only ones to have multiple wineries at the one dinner (Karra Yerta, Gumpara and Kurtz Family Vineyards).

The purpose of the weekend event is to allow you to meet the winemakers behind the wines. On Saturday 27th June and Sunday 28th June between 11am and 3pm our rustic old stable will be open for wine tastings. Then at 6pm on Saturday evening our special wine dinner will begin. Both the tastings and the dinner will feature delicious home-cooked food and the wines of Karra Yerta, Gumpara and Kurtz Family Vineyards.
The sumptuous food will be prepared by our good friend Leanne Tidmus (one of the Barossa's best cooks of country-style dishes) and Karra Yerta's Marie Linke. The three winemakers, James Linke (Karra Yerta), Mark Mader (Gumpara) and Steve Kurtz (Kurtz Family Vineyards) will be dining with guests on the night in our rustic old red gum stable.

Wines complementing the four courses for the night include:
  • Karra Yerta 2006 Eden Valley Riesling (Soup: Yabbie Bisque OR Cream of Chicken and Corn Soup)
  • Karra Yerta 2008 Eden Valley Riesling (Entree: Mushroom Strudel with Cream Sauce OR Salmon Salad with Creamy Caesar Dressing)
  • Karra Yerta 2006 Shiraz Cabernet (Main: Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Red-Currant and Rosemary Glaze) OR
  • Kurtz Family Vineyard 2004 Lunar Block Shiraz (Main: Beef and Red Wine Casserole with Parsley Dumplings) OR

  • Gumpara 2008 Barossa Semillon (Main: Baked Spatchcock with a Nectarine and Honey Sauce)
  • Gumpara Liqueur Frontignac (Dessert: Glazed Peach Tart) OR
  • Gumpara Tawny Grenache (Dessert: Individual Black Forest Cakes) OR
  • Kurtz Family Vineyard 2005 Boundary Road GSM (Dessert: Fruit and Cheese Platter for one)
Coffee, tea and home-made liqueur chocolate truffles plus other wines available for tasting on the night.

We have 25 tickets available at $100 each. Please email us at to make a booking or any enquiries, or phone Marie on 0438870178. We can then post you out our brochure with the menu choices, map and other information on it. As we are all such small wineries and will be doing most of the work ourselves we would appreciate knowing in advance what your menu choices will be (if possible). This makes preparation easier and also saves us costs (so that we can spend more on our wine-making:)

Please note that although the menu above is 99.9% certain sometimes things happen beyond our control so in that event you will be contacted and advised of any changes. I doubt that will happen but it is always good to have a contingency plan. We really hope that you can join us on this very special night featuring three of the Collective wineries at the one location. Our fourth Collective winery, SmallFry, will be having their own tastings and dinner at their cellar door in Angaston. As you can see from the photo below of the bar in our
rare old stable, it is a very rustic old building. The floor is made of gum rounds sawn from logs so please wear flat shoes as the floor can be uneven in parts from the old draught horses that used to drag their hooves when eating from the mangers in the early 1900's.

We are also looking at having (free) courtesy drivers so if you are interested in using this service, please let us know when making your booking. Finally, the weekend will also provide us with an opportunity to show off some of the fabulous artwork from the Bethany Art Group which will be displayed in the stable. A lesser known group of Barossa artists, the display is sure to be stunning and provide our guests with yet another aspect of the creative talent that flourishes in our beautiful and diverse area. A selection of the artwork will be on sale at very reasonable prices.

For a map showing our location for these events please go to this link: Barossa At Home map

Autumn leaves and an afternoon walk in the vineyard

We had a very enjoyable weekend with the highlight being able to catch up with Michael and William Frost (from Field Blend, Tasmania) and their webmaster Matt. After an early lunch at The Branch in Nuriootpa discussing numerous things including wine, cars, travel and all the other banter that goes hand in hand when you are enjoying the company of good people, our Tasmanian friends headed back to Adelaide and James, Mark and I took a leisurely drive around the Barossa before landing under Mark's pergola with bottles of shiraz, riesling and semillon in hand.

The Barossa was at its autumn best - a slight chill in the air but still enough sunshine to stop you from being too cold. The birds sang happily while we took an afternoon stroll through the lovely vineyards of Gumpara Wines. Mark's dog Blake enjoyed the walk but proved to be the hardest photographic target of the day while I was taking photos for Mark's
wine blog.

We returned to the pergola feeling inspired, happy and ready for another glass of warming shiraz. A terrific end to a wonderful afternoon.
Days like this make you realise how lucky you are to be in an industry where no matter who you are or where you are from, you are bonded by your passion for wine, be it drinking it or making it. And what better place to be right in the thick of it than the Barossa!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recipe #1: Kangaroo with Pumpkin Chutney

Today while tidying up my office I found some wine recipes and other related articles from various newspapers and magazines. As a change from my usual posts I am going to periodically add recipes and wine-related tips to this blog. I hope that you find some of the information interesting. For the following recipe I would recommend our 2006 Shiraz Cabernet (due for release shortly).

Kangaroo with Pumpkin Chutney

4 pieces, 180g kangaroo loin
10 shallots, finely diced
20g picked thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
40g unsalted butter
40g sugar
100ml balsamic vinegar
500ml chicken stock
1kg butternut pumpkin, diced

Serves 4

To make chutney, melt butter in a saucepan and stir in shallots, garlic and thyme over low heat til soft. Add sugar and allow to caramelise. Add balsamic vinegar and stir over low heat until reduced by one third.

Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Then add diced pumpkin and cook over low heat until pumpkin is soft and liquid has evaporated. Season to taste.

The kangaroo loins may be barbecued or grilled. Alternatively roast the kangaroo in a hot oven for 6-7 minutes. Kangaroo is best served medium-rare. Most importantly, let it rest for several minutes before serving with the chutney.

When selecting kangaroo meat, look for a lively red colour, usually a little darker than other meats. The loin is great for grilling or roasting, while the tail is delicious in soups.

(from Michael Bannerman, Number 8 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Crown)

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Field Blend of France, the UK and Tasmania

It's been a busy fortnight with lots of exciting things happening here in the green hills of Flaxman's Valley. James is still tending to our red wines on a twice daily basis and our riesling is coming along nicely too. We made an executive decision (not good for the bank balance but great for the wine, and future consumers) and purchased two new French Oak barrels this week - a Cadus and Sylvain. I don't know much about barrels but from James' attitude toward the outlay at this stage of the game, the wines must be worth it!

A special visitor to the Barossa this week was UK wine writer Andrew Jefford who is based in Adelaide for twelve months. John and Jan Angas hosted an intimate dinner for Andrew, a few representatives from the Barossa Wine and Tourism Association, and representatives from six small wineries that produce superb wines from the Eden Valley. We were invited (James attended on our behalf) and the other wineries were Hutton Vale, Poonawatta, Flaxmans and Heathvale. It will be interesting to see what Andrew thinks of the Eden Valley wines, and indeed, the Barossa in general once he has finished his busy schedule.

Our other exciting news is that our Tasmanian friends, Michael and William Frost, have their new business venture up and running. You can check out their website (still a work in progress at this stage) here: Field Blend Artisan Wine and Food . They have been great supporters of some of the smaller wineries in our area and we are fortunate to be one of the wineries hand-picked (no pun intended!) to be a part of their wine portfolio. In fact, the Frosts have wines from all of our Collective counterparts so no doubt there will be a few trips over to Tasmania in the coming year and that is definitely something to look forward to as James and I have not been there since 1989. Tasmania truly is a magnificent place.

So for now, that's it. The coming weeks will be used to arrange bottling, tax and start pruning so even though we are almost at the end of vintage, there's no shortage of things to do. In between we are in the midst of organising our Barossa At Home dinner and a few sales trips away from our hillside hideaway. Perfect weather for a glass of shiraz and as I am almost finished both the glass of wine and this entry, it must be time to sign off:)