Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Southerners head north for a day of Barossa hospitality

The beautiful spring weather disappeared last week when a brief burst of summer (and unfortunately the emergence of brown snakes in the area) hit us all unexpectedly. Suddenly, the red wines were discarded, and the rieslings brought out. One of my most pleasurable pastimes is to sit under my pergola, with the scent of petunias, jasmine and carnations delicately wafting toward me as I slowly sip a glass of cool, not cold, Eden Valley Riesling.

So in light of the fact that Saturday was in the mid-thirties, it was rather appropriate to indulge in that lovely drop whilst entertaining a delightful group of guests from the southern vales of our very fine wine producing state. The day started very early for our visitors and I'm almost certain that by the time they reached the high range of Randall Town, where the Karra Yerta vineyard is located, they were more than ready and willing to go for a trek down the hill for a quick tour of the vineyard before heading back down the hill to Argent Town for an informal tasting in our old red gum stable.

The host for the day, Philip White, had gathered together a tribe of his friends and fellow wine lovers to show them some of the secret gems of the area and Karra Yerta was most fortunate to be considered one of them. A more pleasant group of people would be hard to meet and it was really interesting to see their opinions on our regions style of wines, particularly the rieslings. We had a wonderful few hours with them, with our sons and one of their friends providing live music before the bus headed a little further north along the range. James and I were kindly invited to join the group for lunch and so we gathered yet more wine and headed off ourselves. Already a perfect day but it was about to get even better.

By the time we arrived, the rest of the group had already been greeted by the very hospitable Bob and Wilma McLean and were comfortably settling in to yet more tastings in the lovely McLean shed whilst the matter of one of Bob's famous Long Lunches was arranged. A six foot long mettwurst was definitely the highlight of the dinner table but the beautiful array of other local produce and salads did not fade too far away out of the limelight. A delightful lunch, including a birthday cake for Wilma (made by one of the guests and ever so carefully transported from the vales), was had by all and the wines served with it were sensational and made me exceptionally proud of our unique and beautiful area. To top it off, Colin Forbes (pictured at right), all round nice guy and rieslingmeister extraordinaire, hosted a vertical tasting of the McLeans Farm rieslings. Now that was something to behold!

Soon the bus headed off to the next stop, Greenock Creek, and the locals amongst us stayed to help the McLeans tidy up after what was surely one of the most enjoyable grass-roots wine experiences that could be had. Many thanks to Philip and his friends for being such wonderful guests for the day. I'm sure that it will be remembered fondly by all who attended, including us and the McLeans.

No comments: