Tours: Barossa Valley Wine Tour

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Let’s see if I can remember any of this wine tour! Not because it was so long ago, but – well – it involved a lot of wine tasting!

Pick-up for the wine tour was a couple of hundred yards from the front door of the Ibis Adelaide.  It was setting up to be a scorcher, so the hat was packed and a full bottle of water at the ready!  The little bus (maybe a 24 seater) was packed to the gills by the time we left Adelaide and headed towards the Barossa.  I knew this area only by reputation or ‘best things to do locally’ lists rather than being a regular purchaser (at least knowingly) of Australian wines from this area.  Ever heard of Jacob’s Creek, lol?


First stop was the Whispering Wall, a curved reservoir wall at which a whisper from one side can be heard 140m away.


First wine stop was nearby, Chateau Yaldara.  It was an impressive building, seemingly in the French style.


A separate room was set up for us and a presenter/sommelier ready to share.


With 24 mouths to sate, it took a while to get through the 5 wines offered.  The tasters here (versus Chile, Argentina, France, Spain, everywhere else) are tiny.  Just a little mouthful of maybe 5-10ml.  In some cases, the perfect amount to get an impression, but generally too little (even if you choose to spit them out).


A sparkling white was quite acidic (rather than dry), the Chardonnay was not to my taste and a sparkling Shiraz was refreshing and a little different. Apparently a popular beverage for Christmas Day in this neck of the woods.


Next up was Peter Lehmann wines.  I had heard of them – I think I’ve tried a cheaper end wine in the UK (just checked – it’s Waitrose that has it – around 9-10 quid – so mid-end!).


The tasting rooms were more generous and open than at Yaldara.


A packet of dry crackers were produced (to cleanse the pallette between tastings) but got scoffed by our group, who were clearly more than ready for lunch!


After this tasting (again a white or two – Riesling  and Pinot Gris – everyone focused on their Shiraz – mostly not my preference), it was lunchtime – a sharing platter of smoked meats, cheese, almonds and local bread.  Nice enough.


The next winery was a short walk away.  I was tackled by a grumpy Lincolnshire man about his view on Brexit (boiled down to whether Ireland should “re-join” the UK… eh, no).


The driver had already taken the bus over to the new location and kept the AC on as it was heading into the mid-30s Celsius.


Langweil’s cellar door was an unusual (for me) tasting… there was a long list of options and you requested which thing you wanted to try.  This sounds good, but when you have 24 people, a range of other tours in the room and only 2 servers, it made things messy.  I took out my water bottle at this stage as I found the Shiraz wines we were trying not superb.


Many awards…


This was a very friendly couple (the man seen here) from New Zealand who were showing me a quince tree in the yard as there had been membrillio (quince paste) on the lunch platter.


Look at this old cart! So charming.


It was time for the final vineyard, a smaller/boutique cellar door the name of which escapes me.


This had fancy labels and bottles and some of the nastiest wine I’ve ever tried.


The room was nice but most of us gave up at this point.  The sommelier literally was pouring in 2ml of wine to tasting glasses.  While most people were Australian or NZers who bought a bottle or a case of something they loved to be shipped, nobody bothered here.


This was a German guy on our trip who really needed his beard to be trimmed.


This lady was from Inverness but lived in Queensland. She was full of the bant!


I can’t think where I got as much wine as that in a tasting glass!


Please shave your soup-strainer, Mr Deutschland!


Final stop was a road with some date trees on it. I mean, obviously!


Always a red-hot photoshoot opportunity!


A good trip marred (but not very much) by shonky wines!

I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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