The Daily Diary of Events
During the month of June we will be moving quickly across the many regions covered in our Festival. The wine specials will be available all month and listed in the Daily Diary you will find a running tally of recommendations plus my point of view on each wine region. I will highlight what I think are the significant facts for each region in a way that will make your drinking more interesting. Plus we have some wonderful new releases coming up.
Wednesday, 4th June, 2014
During the Festival we will review and discover many desirable wines. I hope you travel with us.
The simple aim of Glug is to offer wines which are exciting to drink and affordable. We also want you on the journey with us and this month we ask, is it possible to teach you something new about shiraz? We think it is. For the next month join us in The Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz which starts today.
Over the next 4 weeks I promise you three things;
1. A range of fantastic shiraz bargains from the best of the South Australian warm climate regions which we call Adelaidean.
2. A challenge to your drinking habits by suggesting you try fabulous wines from lesser known regions. These will of course save you money.
3. A few sensational surprises to provide drinking interest at the table.
Saturday, 7th June, 2014
Colonel William Light explored the fertile valley we now call the Barossa Valley on the 14th and 15th of December 1837, a year after the colony of South Australia was founded. He named the eastern scarps the Barossa Range. George Fife Angas was the English visionary, land speculator and owner of the South Australian Land Company who enticed settlers to the new colony. Pastor August Ludwig Christian Kavel led his flock of Germans lutherans to the Barossa. Much later, in the 1990s the American wine journalist Robert Parker drew the attention of a global audience to the wonders of Barossa Shiraz. Now Ben and Dave are with Mick Koch, a vigneron of German ancestry, searching for gold among the barrels.
The Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz continues and today I take a closer look at the Barossa Valley.
The Barossa is the most famous wine region in South Australia and this fame is built around Shiraz. The Barossa Valley stretches north-south for 35 kilometres and while vineyards are clustered along the fertile, valley floor they also extend into the hilly slopes to the east and west.
In this tiny part of the globe the natural elements that create flavour and the winemaking talent that captures potential all jelled in the 1950s. Robert Parker, the American wine critic, yelled loudly in 1998, to wake us up.
Monday, 9th June, 2014
The Barossa Valley, home of world class Shiraz. First settled in 1842.
We have reached Day Six of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz. The highlight is the release of the official Adelaidean Shiraz mixed dozen.
Skip between our important South Australian regions, and night after night let the taste variations unfold.
We all know how wonderful these wines are though we needed the wake-up call of the mighty American Robert Parker Jr in his 1998 Wine Advocate. In case you do not recall in that issue Parker gave many South Australian Adelaidean Shiraz's scores of 95/100 with a few at 99/100.
This reminded us of the quality we get nightly in the glass for a modest sum.
Wednesday, 11th June, 2014
By the early 1840s South Australia had turned into a grab for land. John Horrocks saw the potential of the Clare for grazing; Austrian Jesuits planted vines at Sevenhills in 1848; the Knappsteins founded Stanley Wines in the 1890s the start of a long dynasty, Roly Birks quietly continued his work at Wendouree while Ben and Dave always have a swifty at the Rising Sun in Auburn.
Its day 8 of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz and we travel to the Clare Valley. Ben and I have a lot of work left to build our portfolio of Clare wines while I must confess I don't fully understand what factors generate the complex, intense flavours of Clare.
Today I present two great Clare Shiraz triumphs. I doubt you have heard of razor clams but that was what Ben and the boys found way out Nullabor Plain way at Ceduna. While working out the best way to prepare this remarkable sea-food he purchased the Squatters Three from a winemaker, fishing enthusiast. Read on for this remarkable story.
Saturday, 14th June, 2014
Max Schubert who inspired us all, the glory of the Barossa Valley, I'm at Moculta (Barossa Valley) seeking the truth.
On the 11th Day the Festival returns to the Barossa Valley. I see the Barossa Valley as a landscape fluke from the wine gods. Just at this spot on earth, in the Adelaidean - Mount Lofty Range, where the rain peters out and the combination of hot and cold is perfect, a large flat valley was created. Then the gifted Max Schubert of Penfolds got to work and showed us all what to do.
A lifetime with wine has taught me that Barossa reds have more flavour; and no other region achieves the same intensity of fruit. Ben and I drove out to Schubert's birthplace, Moculta, the other day to feel the memories. Here is a selection of wines I like to think were born from Schubert's genius.
We have reached the mid-way point of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz. Shown is a simplified geological map of the region. Also noted are the 13 names of the wine regions and we are offering numerous wines from six of these. Geology does not affect wine flavours though the trends of the rocks form the landscape. You may need to be a geologist to understand the faults that have formed McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley though let me say these faults made these famous regions. The unique positions of Langhorne Creek and Currency Creek should also prick your interest while up north note the unusual, western edge setting of the Clare Valley.
Monday, 16th June, 2014
Today Clare Shiraz battles Barossa Shiraz and depicted are the vineyards of the Clare Valley on the left and the Barossa Valley.
On the 13th Day of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz I feel lucky. Today I have a last look at the wines of Clare. They excite me yet often puzzle me. I understand the strong rich flavours of the warm climate yet in the background I also find an attractive, enticing, minty coolness.
Comparing the Clare with the Barossa Valley is about position, position so I match a Clare with a Barossa. Plus so you can share my luck I offer a 24 hour special on Barossa Shiraz, the Stockwell Creek Reserve. It was last sold at $13.99 on the 22nd March, 2014. At $8.99 it offers unequalled drinking value.
Wednesday, 18th June, 2014
The Manning family home built in 1850 is gone, George Pitches Manning late in life, the creative Dr Alexander Kelly, Thomas Hardy, with Nicholas Bourke representing renewal.
On the 15th day of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz we travel to the historic district of McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide. John McLaren surveyed the region in 1839 though Colonel Light, the hero of our Festival, had walked the ranges further south on the 17th September, 1836. McLaren Vale is a flat to undulating, low lying plateau next to the sea and is bounded by rising hills to the north and an abruptly rising fault scarp to the east.
The most famous early vigneron was Charles Pitches Manning who planted vines at Hope Farm in 1850. Other greats were A.C. Kelly of Tintara and later Thomas Hardy. We are blessed being able to afford wines from world class regions like McLaren Vale. Here are six Shiraz that bring you gifts from settlers long ago.
Saturday, 21st June, 2014
Wilunga (1838) the founding town of McLaren Vale, modern Clare (1842) and Tanunda (1844) the Barossa Valley.
On the 18th day of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz I have paused to reflect on what we have learnt. We know that the hilly landscape, the Adelaidean-Mount Lofty Range, produces world class wines which are packed with satisfying flavours. They are also, with a few exceptions, remarkably cheap.
On this Saturday let me list my six wines that I have found of most interest, a round-up of my highlights to date. I call them the Official Best. And unusually for me I give two wines a rating. So from the 'salt of the earth' to the best from 2010 here they are. But the Festival still has 11 days to go and there are a few surprises ahead.
Monday, 23rd June, 2014
Guardians of Brachina Gorge, Hans Heysen; labels old and new; a guardian in the southern Barossa Valley; while Karrawirra means 'forest of giant reds'.
The brilliant new Karrawirra 2012 is released on the 20th day of the Festival of Adelaidean Shiraz. And what a wine it is, every bit the equal of the 2010. The first was the 2006 and the importance of this wine is steadily growing. Karrawirra is named after the giant red gums found in the Hoffnungsthal Valley (Southern Barossa) and the hero of our Festival, Colonel Light was only a few kilometres away from this valley on the 13th December, 1837 and named the Barossa the following day.
We are very pleased with this wine which will give Glug customers outstanding drinking for years ahead. Ben calls Karrawirra the 'guardian of the Barossa'.
Wednesday, 25th June, 2014
Captain Charles Sturt reached the mouth of the Murray in February, 1830; an early map of Langhorne Creek and Currency creek; the red gum wine press at Bleasdale built in 1892; the founder of Bleasdale, Frank Potts C1860s.
110 year old vines at Metala; Metala label; Wolf Blass Black Label; the man, Wolf Blass.
Wednesday, the 22nd day of the Adelaidean Shiraz Festival is perhaps the most interesting. We take the advice of Horace Greely, 'go West young man go West' but instead head south to Langhorne Creek and Currency Creek. Perhaps your drinking future lies with these destinations. For complex flavour development I look for locations where there is a shifting interplay of cool and warm weather.
The 27 year old Wolf Blass arrived in 1961 and by 1974 had won the Jimmy Watson Trophy with a Langhorne Creek red. The bell sounded earlier as the first Jimmy Watson in 1962 was awarded to the Saltrams Metala Langhorne Creek. I see value drinking for Glug customers down south so let's head that way.