The home of Australian Shiraz. There is no finer pocket of land to grow Australian Shiraz and Riesling, than the Barossa. It is situated to the north of Adelaide and divided into two sub-regions – the Barossa Valley and the Eden Valley.
- Cabernet Sauvignon/li>
Facts about Barossa Wines
You say tomato, I say tomato – Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape variety. Producers tend to call it Syrah in the ‘old world’ and Shiraz in the ‘new world’.
The hot, dry climate and limestone soil produce beautifully ripe grapes of outstanding quality. Shiraz is king of the reds, but Grenache, Mataro, (Mourvèdre) and Cabernet Sauvignon also thrive here.
The eastern side of the Barossa is where The Eden Valley lies, and the Riesling that grows here has an intense and zippy citrus flavour supported by a stoney minerality. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t expect Riesling to grow well in such a hot climate so the secret here is altitude; great sunshine with a cooling influence and it’s a Riesling dream!
The average Barossa Shiraz is 14-15% ABV. This is because the grapes are so good! Plump, ripe grapes produce more sugar and these need to be converted to make the good stuff – the more sugar in the grapes, the higher the alcohol content!
The wines from across the region all have great ageing potential. Watch the Rieslings develop a rich honeyed marmalade character and the reds will start to develop secondary characters reminiscent of cigar boxes and leather with less fruitiness – it’s all a matter of personal preference when you drink them.
Classifications (the technical bit)
The legalities around ‘new world’ wines are a little less complex than the ‘old world’, but there are a few basic rules Australia has to stick to. For a while, they used terms like Australian Port or Chablis on their labels but EU law stepped in to ensure that agreements are now in place to stop these terms being used anywhere outside of their origins.
Australia does now however, since 1993, have GIs (Geographical Indication) in place. If a region or grape variety is stated on the bottle then 85% of the content must come from what or where is stated on the label.
Selected Barossa Region Red Wines
Hennings Wine Says
If it’s big and spicy or ripe and zesty you’re after, you can’t go wrong with wines from the Barossa. Head to the top end for some really special wines that are up there with the best in the world, such as Rockford and Tomfoolery, or if you’re after a cheeky Wednesday night wine you can’t come wrong with the regional series from Hesketh.