Sunday, August 15, 2010

A few of my own Barossa Secrets.

I seem to have written a lot of blog entries recently on the McLaren Vale region, which I obviously love, so thought it was time to give my own region a bit of coverage. The Barossa is home to an astounding amount of wineries - some long established, others much newer. There are so many to choose from but of course, I do have my favourites; favourites to take my visitors to, for not only wine, but perhaps for the gardens or historical buildings (Rockford, Yalumba, Henschke), and my own favourite wines (Soul Growers, McLean's Farm, Loan, Hart of the Barossa, Kurtz, Michael Hall, Tim Smith, Gumpara, Wroxton). I often struggle to decide which bottle to open at night, when I am home and it's no wonder why. There is so much to love about the Barossa, wine-wise, but we also have an amazing array of gourmet goodies, and some much lesser known than the Maggie Beer range, or the meats from Schulz Butchers in Angaston, so I would like to share some of my favourite food places with you in this post.

Firstly, whilst many visitors to our area know of the Angas Park range of dried fruits, not many have discovered my ultimate favourite place to get special fruit goodies. A few kilometres out of Angaston on the northern side (the road to Moculta) there is a turn off onto a quaint country road called Gawler Park Road. Almost two kilometres along this road, on the left hand side, is a divine family business called Gully Gardens. The orchard has been tended for many, many years by the Steicke family (whom our family have known for a very long time) and they now have a gorgeous little shop (next to the same shed that I have sat in and cut freshly picked apricots for them) where you can buy their beautiful tasty produce, either dried or fresh.

Gully Gardens is owned and operated by Rick and Rosemarie Steicke with the help of their family. Some of their dried fruit specialties are apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, prunes, minced products, confectionery, chocolate dipped fruit, goodie baskets and gift lines. Their fresh fruit in season includes apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums. They are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 3.00pm, Saturdays 9.00am to 12.00pm or by appointment. I highly recommend a visit there and as you will see from the photos with this blog entry, it is more than worth it.

Next on the list is Victoria and Frances McClurg's sensational Barossa Valley Cheese Company. Every time that I walk into this shop, it is a feast for the senses. Victoria, Frances and their small band of helpers make the cheese on-site and it really is an asset to the region, with the cheeses winning many awards already. The inspiration for this business was Victoria's travels through France, and she also did three vintages over there. She was incredibly impressed with France's love of cheeses so on her return to Australia she set about starting up her own gourmet cheese business, and this is the result of that, and her business partner and Mother, Frances, passion and hard work.

Their range of hand-made artisan cheeses include Vache Curd, Peri Feta, Babybert, Barossa Camembert, Barossa Brie, St. Kitts, Washington Washrind, Wanera, Petit Prince, and Petite Princess. The Barossa Valley Cheese Company is open Monday to Friday 10.00am to 5.00pm, Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm, Sunday 11.00am to 3.00pm. You can visit their website here: They are located at 67b Murray Street, Angaston.

Finally, my favourite place in Tanunda for a light lunch or coffee: Keil's Coffee & Fine Foods is a little cafe' at 63 Murray Street, Tanunda, and a visit to them is one of my daily habits (their fabulous coffee often helps me get through the day after only five or six hours sleep, when I am working at the Collective Barossa shop:)

They have the most divine range of home-made cookies, slices, cakes, wraps, quiches and other light and lovely lunches. Shortly, they will be also offering freshly made fruit and vegetable juices. Their coffee is sensational and they also sell bulk packets of it, and a small range of other goodies, such as olive oil and olives. I send a lot of my Collective Barossa customers there as it is only a few minutes walk, and some of them have even popped back into the shop to say thanks for the recommendation (a sure sign that I am on the right track when I say that Keil's is a great place for a cuppa and a bite to eat:). The staff are always friendly and though it's small, it's comfortable and cosy. Keil's Coffee and Fine Foods is open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 5.00pm, Saturday 8.30am to 5.00pm, Sunday 9.00am to 4.00pm. Closed on Christmas Day.

So there you have it, three of my favourite non-wine Barossa Secrets. Make sure you put them on your list when next visiting the region. You will love them all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recent Ratings and Awards - July/August 2010

The end of July always signifies the release of the James Halliday Wine Companion. We submitted four wines for the 2011 edition and again, received some very encouraging and rewarding scores, which I will place at the end of this blog entry.

We also quietly released our Karra Yerta 2007 Shiraz Cabernet, which was featured in The Big Red Wine Book recenty. This particular wine was also reviewed by Philip White in "The Independent Weekly" 22nd July, 2010, the review of which is published below.

2007 Karra Yerta Wines Shiraz Cabernet

$25; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93++ points

Made by hand by James Linke, with fruit from the Barossa floor and the Karra Yerta Vineyard on the wind-whipped Flaxman’s Ridge, this lissom red comes from a different era.

It is nothing like the industrial mono muck that the modern industry churns out.

It has intensity but modesty, extreme confidence, but elegance. It has no jammy, gluggy aspects, but rather a slender, refined, supple form, with a bouquet that simply oozes good health and living berries.

Amongst all that fresh ripe fig and prune, mulberry and blueberry, there’s a tantalising hint of Brazil nut. It’s like fruit cake mix before it hits the oven.


2011 Wine Companion results

Karra Yerta Wines was rated a four star winery which is a terrific rating for someone as small as us, with not a great deal of history and a very small range. Our wines submitted for this edition were scored as below:

Karra Yerta Wines 2007 Shiraz Cabernet
Rating 92 Drink 2017 $25 Date Tasted Feb 10

Karra Yerta Shiraz Cabernet 2006
Rating 91 Drink 2016 $25 Date Tasted Feb 10

Karra Yerta Eden Valley Riesling 2009
Rating 91 Drink 2017 $25 Date Tasted Feb 10

Karra Yerta Sparkling Shiraz NV
Rating 89 Drink 2015 $35 Date Tasted Feb 10