Sunday, August 30, 2009

A new Barossa wine book with a difference!

On Friday afternoon, the Barossa was at its best for the launch of Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd's new wine book "Barossa Wine Traveller". A balmy afternoon, unusual in winter, with the first drops of rain coming at the very end of the event, provided a great atmosphere for guests and the hosts of course, to enjoy a few glasses of wine over discussion of what a fine job Tyson and Grant had done in writing a personal wine book which promotes our beautiful area.

I had waited a few years to meet Grant as we had sent samples of our wines to him during that time and he was always extremely positive and encouraging so it was great to be able to personally thank him for his support (a great prop up in the early days when times were really tough). Both he and Tyson are exceptionally nice fellows and seemed as thrilled to have had the opportunity to create this fine book as all of the people from the Barossa wine industry were that Tyson and Grant had chosen our region to promote. The photography by Tyson and Dragan Radocaj is simply stunning and shows just how pretty our area is! It truly is a fabulous book and for a RRP of only $19.95 is a terrific gift for Father's Day or even Christmas so don't leave it until the last minute to order as they will sell out fast.

Please check out the link above to visit the official site. The photo above is of Tyson, Grant and Wayne Ahrens from Smallfry Wines. Sincere thanks to Tyson and Grant for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful and unique wine guide.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Karra Yerta Wine Events Diary - September/October 2009

Our life seems to be so full every day that I find a diary a necessity in being even somewhat on top of things. Please find the additions to my own wine diary below and again, if you are near any of the areas that are holding events mark it on your own calendar. I will add things to this page as they come to hand so check back regularly to see new entries. Please email me for any extra information regarding any event mentioned.

Friday August 28th 2009
Launch of the new wine book by Tyson Stelzer and Grant Dodd "Barossa Wine Traveller" in Tanunda. There is also a separate launch at Bar Barossa in Brisbane on Wednesday September 2nd 2009.

Thursday September 17th 2009
"Taste of Spring with Eden Valley Riesling
" @ Eden Valley Institute - Trade and Media tasting only. Over 75 rieslings from 35 producers, complemented with lunch prepared by Gill Radford.

Saturday 19th September 2009
Barossa Wine Show Public Tasting - 10am to 1pm @ Yalumba Winery. $25 admission includes an etched tasting glass.

Saturday October 17 2009
2009 Canberra International Riesling Challenge Public Tasting @ Albert Hall, Canberra 11am - 3pm. Public admission $20 per person which includes a tasting glass.

New reviews for our 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

In between vineyard work and bookwork I have finally had the chance to send off samples to some of the wine-writers who have tasted our previous vintages. Please find the two glowing reviews below; one from Julian Coldrey ( and Gary Walsh (

Karra Yerta 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

This wine (and winery) defines boutique in many respects. A limited run production of 170 cases, made by James Linke from Eden Valley and Barossa fruit, then blended by Pete Schell to create this quite outstanding little number. When I asked the engaging Marie Linke the intent behind this wine, her answer was "a good home brew, for ourselves, but plans change." And how.

I tasted this over two days, and recommend a good decant at the very least if drinking now. The nose is almost provocatively complex, with notes of gunpowder, barbecued meats, five-spice, lavender, mulberries and cocoa powder. It sounds cacophonous but it's more like a plaid wool blankie: textured and comforting. The aroma profile softened overnight, not becoming less complex but simply settling into its groove, less puffed out, more sophisticated. If there's a hint of volatility, it works well to lift into and penetrate the nostrils.

The palate has shown an even greater transformation with time. At first, unexpectedly bright red fruit shoots down the mouth, accompanied by the same savouriness as in the aroma, falling away a bit on the after palate. A couple of hours later, it fills out significantly, gaining weight and elegance at the same time, and losing the slightly disjointed construction I saw at first. The next day, now, it has melted into a thing of beauty, a limpid pool of dark richness that seems to dissolve onto the tongue with an impossible sense of control. The fruit flavour has gone to dark cherries, with a range of other flavours (including sappy oak) that resist being teased apart from one another. The slinky mouthfeel is a highlight here; tannins are almost excessively fine and ripe.

This is a "fall in love" sort of wine; distinctive, beautiful. I'm not going to resist.

Karra Yerta Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin

Karra Yerta 2006 Shiraz Cabernet

Tuesday, Aug 25 2009 · Posted in Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, shiraz et al

By Gary Walsh

Good old Shiraz Cabernet - the classic Australian blend that goes against the current prevailing train of thought that mono-varietal makes for superior wine. I’ve no idea why this should be the case, and I’m always surprised, and non wine bore people even more so, when I tell them that blends are ‘really good and it’s OK to drink them…really!’ There’s 170 dozen of this particular blend made.

Lots going on here - plump blueberry/dark cherry fruit, wool wash, nutty nougat oak - floral and meaty too. It’s medium to full bodied with plenty of juicy cherry jam flavour (not sweet though) mingling with a coal-like savouriness and regional eucalypt. Perfectly pitched tannin - ripe but firm - the flow through the palate and length all excellent. Bargain. Should cellar well.

Rated : 93 Points
Tasted : Aug09
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $25
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2010 - 2016+

Friday, August 21, 2009

The hills are alive, with the sound of snips (and a swooping magpie)

The past month has been really hectic, again. We have had lots of wine orders and in between labelling, invoicing and packing, the vineyard has kept us very busy; especially because the weather has been wonderful. I find that when I am working in the vineyard on such lovely days my head gets filled with all sorts of ideas and plans. Some of these come to fruition and others not, but there is definitely something very inspiring about working in such a beautiful environment with only the birds, sheep and dog around you. (Photo at right is of our dog having a rest after having a bit of a run up the steep hill!)

The pruning is coming along nicely and so far, I have kept up to James' pruning with my own tie-ing on of the vines. There is still a lot of mowing to be done unless we let the sheep in for a bit to get the grass down a little but we are going to have to be quick as the stems are starting to drip with sap so that means bud-burst is not far away (the Barossa floor has already had bud-burst on some of their vines). If you look at the photo of the vine you can just see a little drop at the end of the stem. Once this sta
rts, and the weather is warm (and our August has, I think, been the warmest on record!) it doesn't take long for the canes to get brittle and much harder to wrap (and tie on) around the wires.

Perhaps the only thing that ruins my afternoons on the hill with my loyal offsider (the black one) is the swooping magpies who are most unimpressed at this time of year. This week I have been harassed constantly by a large magpie and thus have been unable to use my mp3 player (it pays be to be able to hear the "whoosh" and accordingly "duck" as opposed to just feeling it attacking your head, from behind of course:) Never a dull moment no matter what part of the job you are doing. But still, it really is one of my favourite times of year. Everything is so pretty out here in the Barossa Ranges right now that you cannot help but feel that despite the hard work, it really is worth it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tasting Notes: 2009 Eden Valley Riesling


PRODUCT: Karra Yerta Wines 2009 Eden Valley Riesling
VARIETY: Riesling
HARVESTED: March 22nd, 2009
BOTTLED: July 15, 2009
TA: 7.85 g/l
PH: 2.82
PRODUCTION: 128 cases/dozen
CELLARING: drink now to 2016

This riesling is produced from 80 year-old dry-grown, hand-picked vines. Our fourth release of riesling, the style remains in the vein of the classic riesling that the Eden Valley region is famous for. Screwcap. Samples have been sent of this wine and this page will be updated once the results are known.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eden Valley - the jewel in the Barossa's crown

Last night a meeting was held at Bucks Bistro in Springton to discuss the concept of starting up a new sub-group of the BWGA specifically for Eden Valley wine producers to help market and promote our beautiful regions fine wines. A more passionate group of people would rarely be seen and it was decided that there was definitely enough interest to proceed. Eden Valley has long been the hidden jewel in the Barossa's crown and is not really well known on the international front.

A separate GI to the Barossa, rieslings from the area have long dominated global competitions - the best example of this being Peter Lehmann's range of Eden rieslings which consistently rate amongst the best rieslings in the world.

It was wonderful to hear Louisa Rose speak of her opinions on the wines produced from our region and also see other prominent winemakers present. There is definitely a feeling that we do have something very special in our hands, and not just in regards to the rieslings produced. The Eden Valley Shirazes are also of an exceptionally high standard and some of the oldest and rarest shiraz vines in the country are from the region.

In the coming months there will be events showcasing the wines of Eden Valley and I will post information about these as they come to hand. Over the next week I will be placing a post in a wine diary format of these events, and others of significance to place on your calendar in case you are planning a trip to the Barossa.

For more information regarding Eden Valley and to see some of the wineries that are located there please go to this link: Wine Australia Eden Valley

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recipe #2: Smoked Salmon Quiche

Last night we had a bottle of riesling with dinner and this easy recipe was the perfect match. With it's delightful subtle lemon flavour it was a very refreshing meal.

I used ready-rolled pastry but it would be even more delicious with home-made pastry. Also, the recipe below is for mini-quiches; I made just one large quiche and cooked it at 170 degrees celcius (fan-forced oven) for 35 minutes. I recommend our 2007 Eden Valley Riesling with this dish.

Smoked Salmon Mini-Quiches

2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
125gram smoked salmon, chopped
1 cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons chopped dill
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Makes about 24 mini-quiches or one large quiche.

Cut circles from pastry using a 6cm cutter, press into shallow patty pans or muffin trays.

Divide smoked salmon between pastry cases. Combine creams, eggs, lemon rind, nutmeg, dill, chives, lemon pepper and black pepper, spoon over salmon (pastry cases should only be 2/3 full).

Bake in a moderately hot oven (190 degrees celcius or 170 degrees celcius fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.