Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bring out the Bubbles - more Sparkling Shiraz reviews

It is becoming an Australian tradition to have Sparkling Shiraz at Christmas (and New Year). It's a wine which males love for its red wine flavours and the ladies, for the bubbles. So all in all a perfect choice that sits well with most guests at your dinner table, and it complements many different foods.

Much like Julian (see review below) I am a fan of having it with duck. But as Philip White suggested, it would be just as lovely with roast pork. It really is a versatile wine!

Thus, this wine was chosen by two of our favourite Queenslanders to indulge in during the holiday season. Please see their reviews below.

NV Karra Yerta Sparkling Shiraz

It's Christmas day and I'm taking time out between preparing lunch and relaxing to note my reaction to this wine, just opened and to be consumed with the main meal (in my case, confit of duck).

A joyous gush of mousse, quite electric in its vibrancy and pleasingly voluminous. I can't help smiling at the lurid purple of many sparkling Shiraz wines; this one had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. This isn't a tits-out style, though. The nose is subtle, showing spice, tart blackberries, a hint of fortified wine, some aged characters and a general impression of complexity combined with fresh berry juice.

The palate is equally measured, showing real elegance despite the fizz. Mercifully, it's not a sweet wine; in fact, the savouriness of the flavour profile combined with chalky, abundant tannins creates quite the opposite impression. It's all quite intense; more blackberries, spice and various oak-derived flavours mix on the middle palate. Riding above it all is a clean juiciness that smoothes over the wine's sophisticated framework, ensuring you could just as easily linger over each sip as slam it down fast, per your mood or the occasion.

Very glad to have the opportunity to taste this wine on a special day of the year; I believe only twenty cases exist. Make haste. And Merry Christmas to you all.

Price: $A35
Closure: Crown seal
Source: Sample

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Miracle on Murray Street & a new review for our Sparkling Shiraz!

As a follow-up to my previous post, regarding my attempt to open a new shop showcasing the wines of the Collective group, I am pleased and relieved to announce that sensibility did shine through, and despite the initial objections not being dropped, the two objectors lawyer and myself were able to come to a mutual agreement and thus, the Collective Barossa shop will be opening very soon!

My time-frame was delayed whilst trying to work out exactly what was happening, so my original plans of painting and moving the furniture in were moved back but now that all the legalities are sorted and my new licence has been granted, I can move forward and so this week will be a team effort to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Of course, having so many willing helpers is a bonus, despite it being the week before Christmas! I am incredibly lucky that many members of the community stood behind me in this venture and provided incredible support, in every way, during the rather stressful past fortnight. I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from around the world and that definitely has given me the extra boost needed to find the motivation to find time to take this huge task on at this rather mad time of year.
For more information on the Collective Barossa shop please visit this page:

From our entire family, including our much loved labrador, we would also like to wish you all a very Merry and Safe Christmas and New Year! And speaking of Christmas and New Year, here is our very first review on the perfect wine to put on your table over the holiday season - our NV Sparkling Shiraz.

Our Sparkling Shiraz has been dedicated to two wonderful gentlemen who were dear friends of our family and are unfortunately no longer with us; Mr. Geoff Cotton, who along with his friend Sandy, discovered the fatal tree disease Mundulla Yellows in 1979 and Dr. Frank Podger who discovered Jarrah Die-Back in 1964. We hope that through this dedication they, and their hard work, are not forgotten. They are both mentioned on the back label of this wine.
The photograph on the left below is of Dr. Podger and my husband, sons and dog in 2000 or 2001 on one of Frank's trips to the Barossa when I helped him map the progress of Mundulla Yellows in the area.

This review was published in this weekend's The Independent Weekly and was written by Philip White. Tasting notes will be put on our website in the next few days.

Karra Yerta Wines NV Sparkling Shiraz

$35, 14.5% alc/vol, crown seal, 94 points.

A joint effort of the indomitable Linke family with Nathan Schulz and Colin Sheppard, this black beauty comes from ancient vines on the top of the Barossa Range. It's never mushy or sweet like too many dark sparklers, instead offering a blitz of black bitters and mystery, as if somebody'd managed to distil an entire valley of blackberry vines, thorns, ripe berries, and all. It has a dark vegetal tone, like tomato or blackberry leaf. It's been liqueuered with vintage port, but still finishes with adults-only tannins and staunch natural acidity, leaving the mouth puckered and wanting. Forget the turkey: this would do best with a traditional Barossa ovenful of juicy roast porkfat, crackling and beets. Dribble.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Importance of the Generations

The past few weeks have provided some interesting and challenging moments for us at Karra Yerta. Some have been good, most frustrating, but in the end, all of them with a common denominator - the importance of keeping and promoting the heritage of our beautiful area.

Last Thursday I was fortunate to attend the Barossa Generations Lunch at Chateau Tanunda where the admirable Jane Ferrari of Yalumba Wines was MC hosting a panel of impressive local identities including Prue Henschke, Stefan Ahrens, Bob McLean and John Duvall who were available to discuss and answer questions relating to the importance of families encouraging their younger generations to take a hands-on role in their family businesses to not only ensure that the family businesses survive into the future but also that new and fresh ideas are implemented where possible so that we can all work together to increase the regions appeal to tourists and locals alike.

Ironic then that a wonderful new business venture that I have been working on for the past four months has been stalled indefinitely by concerns (and subsequent objections in regards to my application for an appropriate liquor licence) from two large companies that already have a large presence and holding in the area.

It was my intention to open a shop in Tanunda before Christmas this year which would enable four small family wineries to have a combined cellar door outlet which would tie in with the beautiful location it was in - the Barossa Museum. My vision was to provide tourists with a total heritage experience i.e. being able to taste and buy bottled wines from 5th and 6th generation descendants of the original settlers of the Barossa which would have been a wonderful thing for the families and the museum. At this stage it appears that a pre-Christmas opening is not possible and at the worst case scenario, it could even take months before we can open our doors.
That is a shame for all the wineries concerned, the Museum and also for my two sons who I had planned to have help me over the Christmas holiday period. The experience for them alone would have been priceless and is indeed an important part of the whole Generations concept as ultimately it is my dream for the new business to have them involved in it, both now and in the future.

So that leaves the question as to where is the Barossa really heading as far as the Generations go? I do hope that common sense prevails in this instance and that a mutual agreement can be reached between myself and the parties opposing my application. In the meantime I am hoping that our loyal customers can continue to support us by purchasing our wines directly from us. I will keep you all updated via this blog and my regular newsletters as to the progress on what could and should be a wonderful thing for the entire region, and ultimately make our lovely area even more of an enticing place to visit.